In 2021, faced with rolling changes to the rules of community engagement due to COVID restrictions, Port Macquarie-Hastings Council, a local government on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales (NSW), Australia, embarked on the creation of their new Cultural Plan. With State Government legislation requiring local governments to create strategic planning with documented community engagement, an opportunity presented itself for the researchers to work with council and community. In this research, we combined a modified Design Thinking model, Co-Design Principles and Harvard Kennedy School’s Public Policy Design Arc. Our aim was to explore, firstly, whether this approach might build the capacity of both council staff and community representatives in the use of design methods for strategic planning, and secondly, whether it could provide a framework of genuine community engagement for council staff. This paper discusses how and why these approaches were adapted for a local government to create the ‘SITT Model’ and how council staff and community representatives responded to the process.