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Design Thinking: Leading Strategic Innovation

Design Thinking: Leading Strategic Innovation

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NYU Stern School of Business
44 West 4th Street
New York, NY 10012

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Design Thinking: Leading Strategic Innovation


We live in a fast-changing world where strategic innovation is key to business survival and success. Over the past decade, design thinking has emerged as the overarching method for innovation that strives to enhance and migrate value to end users in order to maintain brand loyalty while sustaining company competitiveness. Still, as the complexity of organizational problems grow, so do the challenges associated with innovation management and the questionability of expected results.

This course provides an overview of design thinking, and focuses on the frameworks and tools needed to effectively apply this method to uncover compelling, innovative solutions to complex problems. We will review and discuss theories, practices and methods of design thinking, and learn to sprint through the five stages of the design thinking process: empathizing, defining the problem/challenge, ideating, prototyping and testing. We will also identify collaborative team dynamics that need to be mastered for this process to succeed, and practice these concepts to gain deeper insight to its requirements and challenges. This course presents two interlinked opportunities: first, to learn the theoretical foundation of design thinking as an innovation strategy; and second, to apply the key practices associated with successful design thinking implementation.

Certificates and Credits

Upon completion of this course, participants will receive a Certificate of Achievement.

Program Takeaways

During this course, participants will:

  • Design Thinking Principles

    Learn the conceptual models and practices used in design disciplines
  • Overcome Obstacles

    Assess and address user and organizational adoption barriers of innovative designs
  • Leadership Skills

    Lead complex and unstructured challenges in creative and collaborative settings

Who Should Attend

Although there are no formal education or background requirements, this course is designed for executives who meet the criteria below. While we strongly encourage global participation, please note that all courses are taught in English. Proficiency in written and spoken English is required.

  • Years of Experience

    Designed for professionals with 5+ years of work experience
  • Job Functions

    Ideal for executives with existing leadership responsibilities, or who will be managing innovation, digitization, and product development initiatives
  • Prerequisites

    Intended for individuals who want to understand and develop their ability to lead organizational growth


The following agenda is a sample and subject to change.

8:30 am - 9:00 am: Breakfast

Session 1: The Corporate Innovation Challenge

  • A status review of corporate innovation management dilemmas, needs and issues - why corporate innovation strategies often fail and what to do about it.

Session 2: Introduction to Design Thinking

  • Design Thinking as a systematic approach to innovation and creative problem-solving of complex challenges - the emergence of a new organization-wide process to evoke creative and collaborative solution generation.

12:15 pm - 1:15 pm: Lunch

Session 3: The Design Thinking Methodology and Tool-Set

  • The five step process of Design Thinking: From Empathy to Validation - how the process of Design Thinking evolves.

Session 4: Working Across Disciplines: The Human Leadership Dimension of Design Thinking

  • Working in a multi-expert context requires a high level mastery of team facilitation skills, knowhow of collaborative dynamics, and evolved emotional Intelligence.

4:30 pm - 5:00 pm: Day 1 Conclusion and Evaluations

8:30 am - 9:00 am: Breakfast

Session 5: The Design Thinking Challenge

  • Teams will be formed and assigned a DT challenge to work on throughout the day
  • Phase 1: Empathy (Understanding the human needs involved) - Discovering explicit and latent needs utilizing qualitative research: methods of observation and listening
  • Phase 2: Defining (Re-framing and defining the problem in human-centric ways) - Interpretation and problem reframing - Developing assumptions and a theoretical framework

Session 6: Thinking Creatively Through Needs and Opportunities

  • Phase 3: Ideation (Creating many ideas) - Generating creative ideas for possible solutions and narrow down selected options

    12:15 pm - 1:15 pm: Lunch

    Session 7: The MVP

    • Phase 4: Prototype (Developing a prototype/solution to the problem) - Experimentation and Prototyping of sleeted ideas

    Session 8: Validating Concepts

    • Phase 5: Testing (Use internal and external validation methods) - Teams will present their concepts for review and feedback
    • Summarizing reflection on the Design Thinking methodology and tools, looking at personal and organizational implications

    4:30 pm - 5:00 pm: Program Conclusion and Evaluations