University of Technology Sydney

81539 Impossibilities to Possibilities

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2021 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Transdisciplinary Innovation
Credit points: 8 cp
Result type: Grade and marks

Anti-requisite(s): 81511 Problems to Possibilities


In this subject, participants engage in a creative series of practical activities that bring them to a broad understanding of creative intelligence and innovation as a field of practice. Through exploring what appear to be impossibilities, they begin to investigate and reframe uncertain and complex challenges, and experiment with emerging opportunities.

Participants are challenged to analyse problem situations from multiple perspectives and to integrate these findings in ways that lead to new possibilities. The nature of this subject embraces today's open, complex, dynamic and networked problems. Through first-hand experience, students are inspired to experiment and hone their skills through multidisciplinary collaboration, visualisation, representation and presentation.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:

1. Explore and represent relationships and interconnectedness of a complex environment.
2. Manipulate and communicate experiences, ideas and findings to see the problem or context differently.
3. Identify, describe and explore a range of challenges in order to discern significant opportunities.
4. Select, test and evaluate different disciplinary methods for gaining insights into a complex system.
5. Explain the thinking behind particular selections of ideas, strategies, findings and interpretations generated in multi-disciplinary teams.
6. Develop a clear and convincing rationale to support the proposal for a particular possibility.

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject contributes specifically to the development of the following course intended learning outcomes:

  • Identify and represent the components and processes within complex systems and organise them within relational frameworks (1.1)
  • Select, apply and evaluate various techniques and technologies for investigating and interpreting complex systems (1.2)
  • Research and analyse problem situations or contexts from multiple disciplinary or personal perspectives to develop a deep understanding of the needs, interests and values of multiple stakeholders (2.2)
  • Integrate findings from research and problem/stakeholder/data analysis in creative and useful ways to generate a proposal (2.3)
  • Communicate, explore, network and negotiate in ways that extend representation of disciplinary ideas or perspectives (3.1)
  • Articulate often-complex ideas simply, succinctly and compellingly to a diverse team or multiple types of audiences (3.4)
  • Identify significant issues, challenges or opportunities and assess potential to act creatively and ethically on them (4.1)

Contribution to the development of graduate attributes

The subject provides opportunities for you as a student to draw on various disciplinary and non-disciplinary perspectives to begin exploring and developing your own innovation practices. You experiment and play with a range of methods to discern the ways disciplines approach problem situations and apply insights to develop your own proposals for responding to complex real-world challenges. Finally, you test your ideas in practice by communicating them in experimental formats to a range of audiences.

So your experiences as a student in this subject support you to develop the following graduate attributes (GA):

  • GA1 Complex systems thinking
  • GA 2 Create value in problem-solving and enquiry
  • GA3 Inter- and trans-disciplinary practices
  • GA 4 Imaginative and ethical citizenship

Teaching and learning strategies

Learning in this subject will take place in a collaborative, immersive, experiential, distanced learning environment. This subject uses problem-based learning strategies that involves students in researching and developing their own / group solutions to complex problems / scenarios. Students will learn from academics and professionals across a wide range of disciplines, undertaking real briefs for real clients in real time. Staff, peers and invited experts will give formative feedback continually through class activities as students develop their future-oriented projects.

Some sessions in will be run via Zoom, and to log into these sessions students must be logged into Zoom via their UTS student account - instructions for this can be found on the Canvas site.

Content (topics)

  • Different disciplinary practices
  • Future science and physics of the impossible
  • Innovation models
  • Introduction to systems thinking and complexity
  • Visualisations, provotypes and other representational techniques


Assessment task 1: Exploring ideas worth spreading


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

2, 3 and 6

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

3.1, 3.4 and 4.1

Type: Design/drawing/plan/sketch
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 50%

Assessment task 2: Problems in situ


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

1, 4, 5 and 6

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):

1.1, 1.2, 2.2, 2.3 and 3.4

Type: Presentation
Groupwork: Group, group assessed
Weight: 30%

Assessment task 3: Sense-making and communicating


This task addresses the following subject learning objectives:

5 and 6

This assessment task contributes to the development of course intended learning outcome(s):


Type: Reflection
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 20%

Minimum requirements

Students must attempt each assessment task and achieve an overall pass mark in order to pass this subject.

Late penalties apply to all assessment tasks as outlined in the FTDi FYI student booklet. Please consult this booklet for other useful information including Special Consideration, Plagiarism, Extension, and Student Support Services.

A minimum of 80% of attendance of classes (as outlined in the timetable) is required.

Required texts

No required texts. Readings and other resources will be provided online.

Recommended texts

Please refer to UTS Online for a list of readings. These readings are an important resource for your Assignments.