Queen's University IRC

Organizational Design

Learning a Robust Yet Practical Process to Guide Organizational Designers in Making Relevant Design Choices




What makes organizations effective? While having a winning strategy and the right talent are essential, so too is shaping an enabling organization; one that focuses, connects, and equips your talent to flourish.

Flourishing in today’s fast paced and ever-evolving contexts requires a fresh approach to organizational design. Whereas traditional organizations were built for independence, stability and efficient execution, today’s designs must afford both stability and agility, innovation and execution, and independence and interdependence.

In Organizational Design, we explore a proven framework and methodology for guiding design choices. Based on the latest research, our approach includes diagnostic tools, foundational design principles, and action learning to ensure that your design efforts are aspirational yet practical. Recognizing that design is both a social and technical process, we offer a considered approach to engagement, so that people are both architects and cultivators of their renewed organizations


Jun 20 - Jun 22, 2023 Toronto Old Mill Toronto Jun 15 $3,895
Nov 28 - Nov 30, 2023 Kingston Holiday Inn Kingston-Waterfront Nov 24 $3,895
May 14 - May 16, 2024 Calgary Calgary Marriott Downtown May 14 $3,895





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Our module-by-module overview introduces the topics that will be explored in depth over the course of the program.

Module 1: Introduction to Organization Design: Setting the Foundation for Organizational Renewal
  • Explore the trends driving new organizational capabilities
  • Assess the design principles underpinning new organizational forms
  • Learn a framework for designing organizations that are fit for purpose
  • Reflect on your role as an organizational design practitioner
Module 2: The Building Blocks of Organization Design: How Groupings, Linkages and Enablers Form Logic Models
  • Explore the building blocks of organization design and how they shape the basis of logic models
  • Assess the strengths and weaknesses of base logic models
  • Learn how to optimize the strengths and mitigate the weakness of base logic models
  • Relate to your organization
Module 3: The Organization Lab: A Simulated Exercise
  • Play a role interacting in a fast-paced, ever-changing workplace that will become the foundation for applying the tools and process to our common design initiative
  • Learn how organizational design enables or thwarts information flow, responsiveness, and innovation
  • Apply practical frameworks, based on the work of Barry Oshry, that will help you connect the experience to organization design
Module 4: Diagnosing Your Design Challenges with the Blueprint Tests: Identifying the Problems to Solve and Strengths to Amplify
  • Apply the Blueprint Design Tests to diagnose design-related challenges and opportunities
  • Frame the design-related focus and scope of the initiative
  • Begin to shape the emerging logic model
Module 5: The 4 D Design Process: Exploring A Generative Roadmap for Designing Organizations
  • Learn a multi-stage design process – the 4 Ds – and explore how the process generates a roadmap for leading the design initiative
  • Apply each stage of the 4 D process and tools to diagnose the issues, discover design criteria, develop design concepts, and detail implementation plans
  • Explore how the design process facilitates iterative learning, whereby essential outputs of each stage create the foundation for the subsequent phases
Module 6: Design Logic Models: A Typology of Common Design Challenges
  • Explore a series of typical design stories – from design issues to criteria to concepts
  • Reflect on how the design concepts generate distinct logic models
  • Relate the design typology to back home challenges


Brenda Barker Scott

Lead Facilitator
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Brenda Barker Scott


Brenda Barker Scott is an organizational consultant and educator dedicated to designing and cultivating highly impactful, healthy, and collaborative workplaces. Over her twenty-year career in consulting, Brenda has led ambitious transformation efforts with provincial, federal and municipal governments, agencies, and private firms. When working with leadership teams, Brenda combines theoretical knowledge with practical methodologies to ensure that the right people are engaged in the right conversations to design robust and workable solutions. 
As an educator, Brenda designs and facilitates a wide range of workshops customized to the unique needs of practitioners, including change management, team building, design thinking, engaging stakeholders, business partnering, and more. Brenda has taught at the graduate level at Queen’s University and leads several OD-related programs for the Queen’s Industrial Relations Centre. 
Brenda is co-author of Building Smart Teams: A Roadmap to High Performance. Her research has been published in prestigious journals, including the Journal of Applied Behavioral Science and Research in Organizational Development and Change. Brenda holds a Ph.D. and MA in Human and Organizational Systems from Fielding Graduate University and a MIR from Queen’s University. Her research interests include organizational design, change, and innovation. 
As a lifelong learner, Brenda is passionate about creating workplaces that inspire, connect, and grow people.