Specialization in Design Thinking and Innovation

  • Download Brochure 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.

    Specialization sampleDarden’s new Specialization in Design Thinking and Innovation program empowers you to become a creative catalyst with a systemic approach to innovation in the workplace. Whether you work in business, healthcare, education, or a nonprofit, this hands-on training in the core principles of design thinking and leadership will help you solve your business challenges. Led by Darden’s world-renowned faculty and incorporating cutting-edge insight from the Batten Institute for Entrepreneurship and Innovation, 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.

    Accelerate Your Skills

    • Adopt a lean-thinking, human-centered design mindset, and upskill your experience
    • Position yourself and act as a forward-thinking leader in your organization
    • Conserve resources and generate better outcomes using a research-based approach to problem-solving
    • Break mental models to discover opportunities that already exist within your organization
    • Build the self and employee management skills that allow innovation to flourish
    • Surface, define, and refine viable ideas quickly so that you spend less time and brainpower on stalled ideas
    • Share cross-departmental insights that break down silos, trigger collaboration, and increase organizational momentum
    • Use a step-by-step process for solving your most pressing challenges, whether they be increased visibility for new products, improved resource allocation, or honing your ability to inspire and help the customer you most want to serve

    Program Format

    Taught by Darden faculty members who are veteran practitioners of design thinking, the Specialization in Design Thinking and Innovation program includes four 5-week project-based online courses: 

    Everything you need to know about Design Thinking is included in this well-planned online program, which introduces the collaborative learning technique. If you have a problem to solve — small or big — design thinking offers a solution.
    Smitha Rao, Talent Acquisition, PricewaterhouseCoopers SDC (Bangalore)

    Courses are listed in the recommended, but not required, sequence.

    In addition to the online classroom experience—videos, readings, and assignments—mentors facilitate conversations and classmates give and receive feedback through online discussions.  Keep in touch with your peers long after the course is finished through Design at Darden, a unique portal that provides ongoing information and resources to course alumni. And if you choose to take all four courses, you’ll earn a specialization that demonstrates your commitment to and competence in leading design thinking efforts.  

    SPECIAL OFFER: Bundle Pricing

    If you pre-register for all four courses in the specialization by 1 September 2017, you'll receive a special bundle price for your Specialization of $1,200, which is an overall savings of $380. To take advantage of this limited time offer, please contact Brandi Shifflett (  shifflettb@darden.virginia.edu) to receive your special discount code to use at registration. Please note specific rules and policies for this promotion:

    • No refunds, including any online courses previously taken
    • Registration is required for all four courses at once for the special pricing to apply
    • All four courses must be completed by June 2018
    • Design Thinking Part I and Design Thinking Part II may not be taken simultaneously

    Policies & Procedures

    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.

    Get Started Today

    Select a course above to register or submit your email to keep up on the latest opportunities with the Specialization in Design Thinking and Innovation program.