Design Thinking Part I: Insights to Inspiration (Online Course)

  • Faced with growth or development challenges, most managers dive headfirst into the search for inventive solutions. But creative roundtables, brainstorming sessions, and other traditional attempts to conjure inspired ideas typically fall short. Discover your creative potential. Learn a proven, structured approach to invention — a truly systematic process for ideation — to spark workplace creativity.

  • At a Glance

    In this five-week, project-based course taught by Darden Professor Jeanne Liedtka, internationally recognized leader in design thinking, you'll lay the groundwork for great ideas, strengthen your innovation mindset and learn research techniques that jumpstart your team's potential for new and inspired ideas. Expect to focus 5-8 hours per week on coursework.

    Excellent program providing good introduction to design thinking methodology, required mindset and tools. Practical, pragmatic approach and real-life examples, not just "theory." Very engaged and supportive mentors.

    Marco Fasani, Market Manager, Formenti e Giovenzana Spa

    This course gives managers the right tools and mindset to start tackling problems with a different approach. I will continue developing my design thinking knowledge, applying what I learn in my business and daily job issues.

    Jairo Berbeo, Regional Manager, Sales, P&G

    Course Overview

    Creative solutions for the future begin with thoughtful insights into the present. This introduction to the design thinking process asks you to identify a human-centered problem to solve and begin as designers do - with the here-and-now needs, desires and behaviors of those who need innovation the most.

    You'll craft and carry out a research plan that answers the question "What is?" and follow a guided process of gathering and identifying important insights about the needs and wants of others. You'll use this information to identify the attributes of an ideal solution and hear stories of design thinking at work to inspire ideas for moving your organization forward.

    Accelerate Your Skills

    • Approach real-world problems from the point of view of your target audience, no matter how different your perspectives typically are
    • Discover the business and social challenges most likely to yield fruitful ideas
    • Develop an action plan for research and gather feedback for your unique challenges
    • Identify important insights into the needs and wants of others using human-centered and customer-centric tools like journey mapping

    Course Format

    This program is conducted entirely online over the course of five weeks. Each week, participants should expect to spend approximately five to eight hours viewing instructional videos and completing field work, readings, assignments, and peer evaluations. This course uses the text  The Designing for Growth Field Book: A Step by Step Project Guide. An electronic version is available at a 50% discount through Columbia University Press, coupon code D4GFB-DTIPS.

    For the course to be completely successful, participants should maintain respectful communication with the faculty and fellow participants and comply with all applicable rules, instructions, requirements and terms of service.             


    You'll walk away from Design Thinking Part I: Insights to Inspiration with:

    • The ability to work better with fewer resources by leading a lean research process that sparks creative innovation
    • A toolbox of skills to systematically research key markets and pinpoint the territories with highest potential for innovation
    • First-hand knowledge and practical application examples from veteran designers
    • A deeper understanding of how exactly to identify, map out and research business and social situations
    • Stronger creative muscles to help you solve work and life challenges


    Designed for managers who want to explore the principles of design thinking and how a human-centered approach to innovation can transform their organization, this course will benefit organizational leaders from the public and private sectors, including those in finance, engineering, technology and administration, as well as healthcare, education and social nonprofit causes.


    Jeanne Liedtka

    United Technologies Corporation Professor of Business Administration 
    Jeanne M. Liedtka is the former chief learning officer at United Technologies Corporation, a Fortune 50 corporation, where she was responsible for overseeing corporate learning and development. At Darden, Jeanne works with both MBAs and executives in the areas of design thinking, innovation and leading growth. Her current research focuses on design-led innovation in the government and social sector, as does her forthcoming book,  Designing for the Greater Good. She authored  The Designing for Growth Field Book: A Step by Step Guide (2014), The Catalyst: How You Can Lead Extraordinary Growth, which was one of  Bloomberg Businessweek' s best innovation books of 2009; Designing for Growth, which was named the best management book of 2011 by 800-CEO-READ; and Solving Problems with Design Thinking: 10 Stories of What Works.

    Tuition & Specialization

    Design Thinking I SoA Tuition for this course is $1,495. Payment is required in advance of the program and is not refundable or transferable after the start of the program.

    By taking this course, participants earn credit toward the Specialization in Design Thinking and Innovation.

    Policies & Procedures/FAQs

    Registration: You can register for any of the online courses by completing a registration form directly from the course page on our website. Payment is due upon registration. We accept payment online from American Express, MasterCard and Visa. You'll receive a confirmation email after we receive your registration. Registration for each course closes on the course start date. We offer a 10% tuition reduction for groups of 10 or more.  Email us for approval and pricing.

    Cancellations & Transfers: If you must cancel your enrollment, you must do so within seven (7) calendar days of the course start date. Please email us with the name of the course, followed by "cancellation" in the subject line. If you cancel or withdraw within seven (7) days of the start date, you will be refunded 100% of your tuition. No refunds will be permitted after the first seven (7) days of the course.

    If you prefer, you may transfer to one subsequent course offered within one year, if available. Email us with the name of the course, followed by "transfer" in the subject line. This request must be made within seven (7) calendar days after the original course start date. 

    Access to Course Materials: Each of the four courses is designed to run for five (5) weeks. We leave each course open for a full ten (10) weeks. Once a course is closed, you will not be able to access our lectures and course materials, information pages, or assignments (including peer feedback). You may continue to access your network, submissions, discussions, conversations, and team workspace in archive mode (no new posts or comments) for up to six (6) months.

    For more information, review a complete list of our online course policies and procedures, as well as frequently asked questions.

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