Top Design Thinking Programs and Certifications

Top 10 Design Thinking Programs and Certifications

By: Regina Vargas

Design Thinking has taken over as a crucial business practice to completely transform any organization. No matter the industry, whether it is finance, technology, consumer goods and services, design thinking has proven to be a successful tactic for any business. Take a look at these 10 programs and certifications to excel in Design Thinking.

1. Leadership and Design Thinking for Corporate Sustainability Challenges at Stanford University

Drive innovation and long-term value creation using design thinking tools and strategies. Design thinking has long been used in Silicon Valley to help companies address seemingly intractable problems. This 2.5-day executive leadership course will give you the tools and understanding you need to bring design thinking concepts to your organization and to generate impactful results across the broader ecosystem. Highly interactive, this program will teach you to think holistically about your organization’s sustainability challenges and possible solutions.

Taught by award-winning faculty from Stanford’s Schools of Earth Sciences, Engineering, Business and Design, and by industry experts, participants will engage with faculty and each other to develop tactics and strategies to drive transformative change.

2. Design Thinking: Creating Better Customer Experiences - Harvard Division of Continuing Education 

Design thinking has emerged as a powerful new problem-solving approach. It’s used in public, private, and nonprofit sectors for solving tomorrow’s user problems, fueling growth, and delivering a unique customer experience. 

Amazon, United Healthcare, and the Perkins School for the Blind are among the market leaders who have sustained growth through human-centered design. But any organization can embed this new approach to innovation into its cultures and processes.

This 2-day workshop gives professionals practical tools for applying a versatile four-step design thinking process within their organizations. Learn how to identify hidden customer needs and improve the customer experience through interviews, journey mapping, and prototyping.

3. Design Thinking: Innovation Strategy for You and Your Organization - Columbia University 

Design Thinking: Innovation Strategy for You and Your Organization is a collaboration between the Columbia Entrepreneurship Design Studio and Columbia Business School. Participants will learn how to use the methods and mindsets of design to drive customer-focused innovation in their own organizations.

This 3-day program uses experiential learning to teach design techniques through repeated practice. Case studies of human-centered design in action reinforce the core lessons. Executives will learn by doing. First, by engaging in two design projects, then by developing their own design project to bring back to their organization.

4. Design Thinking, Design Doing - Vanderbilt University 

This course semester-long course for undergraduates will provide an introduction to theories and practices of design. The design thinking elements of the course offer a critical understanding of methods for researching interactions between humans and the social and built environment, whereas the design doing elements teach us how to develop purposeful interventions that result in more meaningful and effective interactions. We will do design using a human-centered process while at the same we will think design as we examine what and how people can learn as engage in the design process.

5. University of Virginia

Break through your messiest business problems. Find valuable insights hidden in plain sight. Set new standards for your teams and lead your organization and career to new heights.

Darden's Design Thinking and Innovation Specialization month-long program empowers you to become a creative catalyst with a systematic approach to innovation in the workplace. Led by Darden's world-renowned faculty, this program is designed to give you the leadership tools to broaden and deepen your work and to teach you the how-to of design thinking. During each course, you'll have access to Darden-trained mentors to help you every step of the way on your design thinking journey.

6. Human-Centered Design: an Introduction - University of California San Diego 

In this 16-hour online course, you will learn how to design technologies that bring people joy, rather than frustration. You'll learn several techniques for rapidly prototyping (such as Wizard of Oz Prototyping) and evaluating multiple interface alternatives -- and why rapid prototyping and comparative evaluation are essential to excellent interaction design. You'll learn how to conduct fieldwork with people to help you get design ideas. How to make paper prototypes and low-fidelity mock-ups that are interactive -- and how to use these designs to get feedback from other stakeholders like your teammates, clients, and users. Armed with these design-thinking strategies, you’ll be able to do more creative human-centered design in any domain.

7. Parsons School of Design 

The Global Executive MS in Strategic Design and Management at Parsons School of Design propels professionals to the cutting edge of business practices through the power of design thinking—and immerses them in a diverse network of creative innovators across a spectrum of industries.

Take advantage of our one-of-a-kind curriculum, which combines intensive on-campus study in art and design epicenters like New York, Paris, and China with dynamic virtual learning from your home or office. This global, integrated degree program bolsters graduates looking to become leaders in the creative industry and business world. Forever change the way you think, solve problems, and approach business.

8. Cornell University

In this certificate program, you will master a robust, human-centered approach to designing and improving products, experiences and systems at any scale. Informed by testing and analysis, you’ll learn to iterate on and refine your prototype using design thinking methodology to ultimately generate a rigorous, viable solution to your challenge.

9. Mastering Design Thinking - MIT Management Executive Education 

This program is for teams and individuals who want to learn a proven, systematic approach to new product development. Anyone responsible for driving innovation, growth, and the customer experience should attend, including functional and cross-functional teams.

10. Design Thinking Certification Program - Rochester Institute 

In the Design Thinking MicroMasters program, you will learn how to use the design thinking process to solve problems creatively, collaboratively and empathetically. Earning the MicroMasters program certificate will equip you with knowledge of the processes and techniques used to solve problems and innovate in the workplace.