Unfolding creates space for people to learn about emerging digital technologies, and explore how to think about their impacts and opportunities.
Unfolding's workshops use principles from minimally-invasive education, which means that groups of people discover topics themselves - solving challenges, completing tasks, exploring maps and simulating digital processes using paper models.Less ∧
Our facilitators are highly knowledgeable in the topics they lead, yet their primary role is to create the right environment for participants to teach themselves. Workshop participants leave with confidence to carry on learning, not tired of listening.Less ∧
Our aim is for participants to gain a solid grounding in basic concepts so that they then can build up their own knowledge - they discover how to think about a topic, rather than what to think. This also helps us to 'equalise' everyone's level of understanding.Less ∧
To properly understand a technology, we believe it is vital to grasp how it works, and then to extend this knowledge into different human contexts. This is how we enable participants to bridge the gap between science and the humanities.Less ∧
We employ a 'pay it back' model whereby engagements with commercial clients fund equivalent engagements in under-served communities, because we believe that everyone needs a better understanding of how technology is shaping our lives.Less ∧
Unfolding workshops are standardised into 30 minute modules, so just choose a topic, number of modules and indicate a starting level of knowledge, and we will be in touch to confirm and agree the details.Less ∧
Keeping up with advances in computing and digital technology is difficult and time consuming, yet leaders across all sectors - public, private, voluntary and academic - are now frequently required to pursue strategies and make decisions in which digital technologies play a crucial role.
Added to which, these technologies often interact with each other in complex ways, and produce unintended, often poorly understood, downstream effects and burdens which have to be accounted for. And even if a CIO, or other leader, understands enough to set a good direction, they are often isolated and unable to conduct conversations with fellow senior managers or staff with enough common understanding of the issues - there is a collective lack of language and conceptual knowledge that prevents clear and aligned decision-making, and the ability to carry things out.
This is the challenge that Unfolding works hard to address.
We design engaging, collaborative workshops that take participants from a basic understanding of a topic, through to having a good grasp of the concepts, experience of using or seeing the underlying technology in action, and sufficient language and understanding to confidently discuss the implications and opportunities that are presented.
Our objective is for everyone who participates in one of our workshops to be able to hold more substantial and more fruitful discussions about digital technology with others.
In addition, every commercial engagement we are hired for helps to fund equivalent engagements with community groups or charities, as we believe that understanding of the potentials of digital technology should be diffused throughout society as widely as possible. In return, the original group will receive an account of the community sessions they helped to support from the participants, so they can share in the positive impact they have created.
How does AI work? What can we actually do with it? How expensive is it? How is it already changing the way we live? How should we think about ethics?Less ∧
What are "smart cities" and what's so smart about them? Why does this matter? What about other places and geographies? How are citizens included?Less ∧
What are city-wide IoT networks? How do they work? What can they be used for? And by whom?Less ∧
What is meant by the '4th Industrial Revolution'? What are the main technologies in play & how do they work? Who is using them and are they just the preerve of big companies?Less ∧
What is the 'physical web'? How do we know when things near to us want to communicate? What can we do with them?Less ∧
How are different digital services and products actually made? What skills are involved? How are these processes organised?Less ∧
What are all the meanings of 'innovation'? How can organisations, and the people within them, become more innovative?Less ∧
What do we mean by 'digital economy'? What are the 'digital industries'? What role do they play in the UK economy? And globally? How important are they to the national Industrial Strategies?Less ∧
Our workshops are suited to helping the leadership of large and medium-sized organisations to build collective understanding around emerging digital technologies and the opportunities and risks they represent.
A relentless wave of technology-driven transformation is being felt across our public sector institutions, and the ability of organisations, both local and national, to manage this change relies on shared knowledge and understanding of the issues and opportunities that are shaping it.
We have experience in helping academic researchers understand digital technologies and related concepts in order to bring more insight and balance to their work, especially in the humanities, social sciences and business studies.
Our workshops are great for building digital capacity within teams and departments, both for exploring directly relevant technologies and concepts, but also as part of general learning or 'away days' as the workshops build collaborative learning skills which teams can apply in their regular work.
We believe that there is a pervasive lack of understanding of digital technologies, and the ability to think and discuss issues that relate to them. We aim to play a part in addressing this by providing free workshops to community groups funded by our commercial work.
Unfolding workshops are designed to improve the ability of individual people and groups to hold good conversations about digital technology topics - they are not designed to be training courses, per se.
Most of our participants have at least some understanding of the subject, however often lack the foundational knowledge and breadth of perspective to form truly independent critical opinions of their own, and communicate them well.
This occasionally also applies to those who consider themselves experts.
Equally, it is not necessary to have any prior knowledge at all - Unfolding workshops can provide a great introduction and give participants the confidence to embark on their own learning journeys.
We always seek to to match our modules to the "lowest common denominator" so that everyone is included and able to participate fully. Fundamentally, that is what Unfolding workshops are about.
We are also able to dynamically adapt our modules to the knowledge level of the participants, as the materials are designed to be very easily swapped in and out, either in advance of the workshop or even by the facilitators, in response to what happens on the day.
All of our workshops are designed so that each module is 30 minutes long, including a five to ten minute break at the end.
By making sessions uniform in this way, and incorporating regular breaks, participants are better able to sustain their attention and stick to time, while also being able to work at different speeds and catch up if necessary - there are optional extra activities for groups that finish slightly early, and groups that take longer can use some of the break time at the end to catch up. The facilitator can always help to keep participants on track as well.
This format also means that workshops can be held over lunchtimes or evenings if necessary with finger foods and refreshments available to snack on during the breaks.
Each workshop has introduction and wrap-up modules at each end, and a minimum of two dedicated topic modules as "filling in the sandwich". This means that the shortest workshops we offer are two hours long, i.e. four half hour modules. At the other end of the scale, we do not recommend conducting more than 12 modules in a single day, and recommend additional break time every 2.5 hours.
Each Unfolding Workshop is a meticulously designed and unique experience. We embody our design principles in each one we deliver:
All our workshops are conducted in small groups of between 4 and 6 people, preferably sat or stood around curcular tables. They are almost always asked to bring and use their own internet-connected devices to interact with the material and each other at various points.
Costs for one of our workshops range from £280+VAT for a 2 hour session for up to 6 participants, to upwards of £5700+VAT for a full day for 60 people.
We are completely open with our pricing model. Costs are calculated using the following method:
These costs cover all the facilitation and materials, all engagement prior to and after the workshop, as well as the provision of subsequent community sessions, feedback and exit reports.
Exceptional travel is considered to be any travel that takes longer than 1.5 hours in one direction, by best method of public transport from the facilitator's home base (most often Sheffield).
Note also that tables are limited to between 4 and 6 participants. We are therefore mathematically unable to provide workshops for groups of exactly 7. This is an unfortunately quirk of the universe.
Or fill out this quick form and we will get back to you with an initial quote.