Keep Me Informed

Keep up to date with STEAMhouse news and developments

Sign up to the mailing list.

By submitting this form you agree to Birmingham City University contacting you about STEAMhouse and handling your information as outlined in our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.


Get your tool and start collaborating today!

Download straight to your inbox.

Sign me up to the mailing list

By submitting this form you agree to Birmingham City University contacting you about STEAMhouse and handling your information as outlined in our Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions.

You've got it!

You've recieved an email!

Please check you inbox for the email containing your chosen tool. If you can't see it, try checking your spam folder, just incase.

We're always keen to hear your stories about how our tools and methods have inspired new ideas, sparked your creativity, or helped you develop new products and services. feel free to share your experiences on socials or send us a message at

Meet the practitioner!

In conversation with innovation expert Alex Barker


Hopefully you’ve read our Meet the Practitioner Interview with Strategy and Experience Consultant, Alex Barker, on what Innovation means to him and his experience of working with some of the biggest brands in the world like the NHS, the Ministry of Justice, Google, Natwest, Airbus and Disney. If not, we encourage you to read that first interview here. In this interview, the second of the two-parter, we break down in more detail his upcoming Innovation Methods and Mindset Short Course,  Build Innovation into Everything You Do, and how this affordable, one day masterclass can help organisations can make innovation business-as-usual.


So, Alex, welcome back! Who is this short course for?

Anyone who runs or works in a business that’s struggling to best meet the needs of their customers. I can tailor my course content to start-ups, scale-ups or full blown corporates! The challenges are often similar, but the techniques to solve them often adapt depending on scale. This course is ideal for individuals and teams who want to influence how innovation happens in their business, and  for managers, leaders or strategists who’ve identified cultural or procedural blockers to innovation and want to overcome them.


What challenges might potential participants be experiencing or looking for?

There are a few pains that people who might be interested in this course will be experiencing! In particular, I’d expect that people will will be:


  • Finding their business culture not being as user-centred as they’d like, or need
  • Figuring out how to align customer need / expectation with business capability
  • Struggling to building a more progressive design culture, where autonomy, experimentation, evidence-based decision making and self management are promoted to good affect
  • Needing to improve the organisations’ ‘service design’ but not knowing where to start


Could you provide an overview of what participants can expect to learn and experience in this short course on innovation?

  • How to make innovation a whole team sport
  • Helping to create a wider business where innovation doesn’t stay in a bubble
  • Practical techniques to solve whole business problems
  • How to engage stakeholders and teams on innovation outcomes, rather than process in isolation



What specific topics or areas of innovation will the course cover?

  • The user-centred organisation
  • User-centred transformation
  • Understanding whole systems
  • Addressing innovation blockers
  • Practical techniques to support innovation practice
  • How to use innovation artefacts
  • Managing people and relationships to drive an innovation culture


What inspired you to develop this innovation short course?

For many many years I’ve been observing the same problems in organisations! As a result I felt the need to refine a methodology to try and solve these problems – for the benefit of both the organisation and their customers!


This short course is deliberately designed to be hands-on right? Why do you believe it’s important for the short course to have a practical approach, and how will this benefit the participants?

Because too much theory gets forgotten easily. In my experience, businesses need straightforward, practical activities that will work for the real-world environments that people operate in. In this short course, I want businesses to come away with learnings they can actually apply in the real world!


Can you share any real-world examples or case studies that will be incorporated into the course to illustrate key concepts and principles?

There are many (and the final list is yet to be confirmed!) but I will draw upon my experience working as a start-up mentor, large scale digital maturity audits for private sector and transforming working culture in the public sector and not-for-profit sectors. The case studies will be tailored to the challenges that short course participants face!


Do you rely upon any practical or applicable methodologies or frameworks that will be emphasized in the course?

I have trade-marked my own methodology, through iterative co-design practice over the years, which involves the established skills and techniques of user-centred design, service design and cultural change. I’m looking forward to helping organisations adopt this trade-marked way of working and seeing it effect even more change in the world!


Will there be any hands-on activities, group discussions, or interactive sessions during the course to enhance the learning experience?

Yes, all of the above, especially group discussion and hands-on workshop activities! This short course is designed to be collaborative and interactive, it’s not going to be people listening to a lecture in silence!


How can participants measure the success of the course?

By measuring what techniques led to a measurable improvement in design outcomes, and internal ways of working, over a set period of time. This real-world short course will have real-life measurables!


Thanks Alex! One final question: What sets this short course on innovation apart from others available in the market?

It’s honest, practical, and comes with years of practice in the field!


We hope you found this interview inspiring and insightful! If you’re feeling readily inspired, we invite you to sign up for the short course here.