Certificate in Design Thinking

Darden Design Thinking Certificate

Self-Paced Online

Certificate in Design Thinking

The Certificate in Design Thinking is a noncredit program that empowers you to become a creative catalyst with a practical approach for generating new ideas and driving innovation.


Developed and led by world-renowned design thinking pioneer, Jeanne Liedtka, this online certificate program provides an immersion into design thinking's proven, human-centered process. Through three stacking modules, you'll workshop one of your own problems or challenges* by following the step-by-step process to identify, test, and implement new ideas to help you and your organization gain an agile, competitive edge in today’s constantly changing marketplace.

*You are not required to have a business challenge prepared prior to the program.

Intended For

Individual Contributor, Team Leader, Senior Management


Innovation, Strategy

Available Dates

18 Oct 2021 - 8 May 2022
10 Jan - 26 Jun 2022
11 Jul - 18 Dec 2022
12 Sep 2022 - 2 Apr 2023
9 Jan - 25 Jun 2023





5-8 hours per week for 3-4 months

Darden's expert strategist and design thinking pioneer, Jeanne Liedtka, creates a learning environment in which managers apply the mindset and methods of designers to develop innovative products, processes and business models. This noncredit certificate program is online and self-paced — designed to help you engage a broader group of voices, achieve alignment and consensus, and find workable solutions that people will actually adopt.

Earn the Darden Certificate in Design Thinking by completing the following three programs:

  • Design Thinking Part I: Insights to Inspiration - Identify a human-centered challenge to solve, focus on the needs of your target audience and determine the insights and tools necessary to come up with an ideal solution.
  • Design Thinking Part II: Ideas to Action - Learn how to take the ideas you developed in Part I, test them for viability and bring them to market.
  • Discovery Tools - Learn to use tools from the field of human-centered design to discover how to connect with your customers on a human level, to get beyond what they say and observe what they do.

These three programs will release sequentially on the learning platform as you finish each one.

  • Impact & Outcomes
    • Adopt a lean-thinking, human-centered design mindset
    • 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
  • Format & Time Commitment

    This is a self-paced program conducted entirely online. Each week, participants should expect to spend approximately five to eight hours viewing instructional videos and completing field work, readings, assignments and peer evaluations. Darden-trained mentors facilitate conversations and classmates give and receive feedback through online discussions. Learners can typically complete this program in 3-4 months, however the program will be open for 6 months to allow plenty of time for completion.

  • Participant Profile

    Designed for managers who want to explore the principles of design thinking and how a human-centered approach to innovation can transform their organization, this certificate program will benefit organizational leaders from the public and private sectors, including those in finance, engineering, technology and administration, as well as healthcare, education and social nonprofit causes.

    Design Thinking Global Participants

  • Continuing Education Credit

    An additional benefit of getting your Design Thinking Certificate is that you can also earn Continuing Education Units (CEUs). The three-program series is worth 6 CEUs, which is equivalent to 60 hours of contact work.

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, PWC SDC



Jeanne M. Liedtka

United Technologies Corporation Professor of Business Administration

Darden's design thinking pioneer and program faculty lead, Jeanne Liedtka shares how data gathering creates an immersive experience that is critical for innovation.

Request More Information

If you're ready to start your design thinking journey or have questions, complete the form to receive a program overview with sample pacing guide and connect with a lifelong learning director to discuss your development goals.

Darden Executive Education is provided by the University of Virginia
Darden School Foundation.