Design Thinking: Innovation Strategy for You and Your Organization

To Be Announced  
Questions? Contact Us:
Christine Tom
Assistant Director, Learning Solutions
+1 212-851-2505

Columbia University Campus
New York City 
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Certificate Credits: 3
Learn more.

In collaboration with
Columbia Entrepreneurship Design Studio

“Companies are constantly trying to stay ahead of the innovation curve. One of the most actionable ways to do this is through human-centered design. This program will show you how to uncover and design for deep, unmet customer needs — a vital step for driving innovation.”
– Adam Royalty, Founder Columbia Entrepreneurship Design Studio

Faculty director Adam Royalty introduces the program.

“Design Thinking attempts to inspire the essential element of creativity, the ability to take an abstract idea and create something with it. In the simplest terms, Design Thinking is ‘a formal method for practical, creative resolution of problems or issues, with the intent of an improved future result.’ It’s a methodology for actualizing your concepts and ideas.”*

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.

Many innovation efforts in business stall because the organization loses touch with the core needs of their current and potential customers. Fortunately, human-centered design can help organizations be much more responsive to the ever-changing needs of customers. The methods and mindsets of design have a proven track record of driving innovation across multiple industries.

This 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.

Please contact our Learning Solutions Specialists at +1 212-854-3395 for a personal conversation.

* Source: Forbes


Design Thinking teaches the basic skills needed to implement a design process in an organization. We focus on mastering our four-step process while learning a number of supporting design methods along the way.

By the end of the three days, participants will be able to:

  • Draw out key insights through customer interviews
  • Reframe complex problems into actionable challenges
  • Generate novel ideas through creative, collaborative brainstorming
  • Rapidly prototype and test new ideas
  • Evaluate the aspects of their work environment that support and hinder creative work
  • Lead teams through a creative process

Upon completion of this program, you will earn three days towards a Certificate with select alumni and tuition benefits. Learn more.


Participants learn a human-centered design process by working through two design projects. Each project is hands on and team based. All participants will experience our four-step process: explore, reframe, generate, and prototype. The faculty introduce core design concepts through short lectures and case studies, then the new methods are immediately put into action. The program concludes with participants scoping a design project to complete back at their organizations.

Day One: The day begins with a two-hour design project. This introduces the fundamental concepts and immerses participants into a style of working that promotes creative innovation. From there, we launch the second design project, which runs until the end of day two. Participants form teams of three and begin step one of our design process — explore. The teams leaves the design studio and conduct fieldwork in the city. When they return, the faculty lead the teams through the reframe step where they will synthesize their fieldwork.

Day Two: The project continues as teams begin brainstorming potential solutions in the generate step. They then select two or three ideas and build them out in the prototype step. The solutions are tested with real users. After completing the four steps, we focus on creating a compelling story that richly describes the problem to be solved and how the current solution addresses that problem.

Day Three: The final day is all about taking it home. Instructors will share case studies illustrating how design can be used in organizational settings. Participants will learn how different work environments can support or hinder a design process. Finally, each participant will scope a short design project to be completed in their first week back at the office. The ultimate goal is to develop a design practice that continues beyond the three days of the workshop.

For a complete program schedule, download the agenda.


Design Thinking is ideal for executives who want to drive innovation by deeply understanding their customers and rapidly testing ideas. These methods can be used in any industry or business model, including SaaS and B2B.

Columbia Business School alumni and up to four of their colleagues are eligible for a 25 percent tuition benefit for this program. More on the Alumni Tuition Benefit.

Typical Participant Mix

Geographic Spread

Years of Management Experience

Job Function



Hear from Past Participants:




Adam Royalty, Faculty Director
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Industrial Engineering and Operations Research, Columbia Business School
Designer in Residence at Columbia Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Design
Founder, The Columbia Entrepreneurship Design Studio


Adam Royalty specializes in helping teams use human-centered design to create new products, services, and business models. Prior to his role at Columbia Business School, he led multiple initiatives at the Stanford

He has developed and facilitated design sessions with more than 30 organizations across a dozen countries. This includes AT&T, BBVA, Capital One, GAP, the Gates Foundation, jetBlue, Hyatt, the Knight Foundation, Roche, SAP, and the World Bank.

Along with Adam Royalty, additional Columbia Business School faculty contribute to and teach in the program.

* Program location may vary. While the majority of our programs run on campus, some programs may run off campus in New York City.