Design Thinking is a course for busy professionals and full-time students who want to learn human-centered design, a collaborative problem-solving methodology for innovating routinely.

Design Synthesis

A student design team makes sense of their research data through design synthesis.

The Problem with “Creativity”

The prevailing myth about creativity asserts that either you’re the “creative type” or you aren’t. Furthermore, we’re told, the true innovator is the lone genius, a mystical figure awaiting the muse, a lighting bolt of divine inspiration, or perhaps a serendipitous “Eureka!” moment.

The good news is that this myth is false. Creativity is a skill anyone can learn. Everyone can be innovative. But how? How can businesses, teams, and individuals innovate successfully in an ever-evolving environment?

Real Creativity—for Everyone

Ideation Artifacts

When we come up with ideas, there’s no judgment. We learn to use simple sketches to rapidly communicate new concepts.

It is not enough to demand more innovation without providing the tools to succeed.

– Jon Kolko, Exposing the Magic of Design

Design thinking is a collaborative problem-solving methodology for innovating routinely. It is a collection of creative and analytical tools and frameworks drawn from fields as wide-ranging as anthropology, business, engineering, and—of course—design.


Liz Kramer designed the course and teaches it each summer. Nathan Lucy adapted the course and teaches it throughout the year.

Course Description

Evaluative Research

Testing solutions with users provides key validation and course correction early in the design process.

This course introduces design thinking: a process of identifying, creating, and implementing solutions. Students learn methods and work in teams to apply these methods to a locally relevant problem. Methodologies drawn from anthropology, business, design, and engineering enable students to discover users’ needs; synthesize complex information; identify directives for design; generate ideas; and prototype, test, and communicate solutions. Additionally, students explore the role of design thinking in business, education, and social change through readings, case studies, lectures, guest speakers, discussion, and written exercises.

No previous experience in design is required.

The course is offered through University College with the course number U44 BUS 290.