Certificate in Design Thinking

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. Whether you work in the public or private sector, this hands-on training in the core principles of design thinking and leadership will help you solve your toughest business and innovation challenges.

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.


How You'll Earn It


  • 18 OCTOBER 2021–8 MAY 2022

  • 10 JANUARY–26 JUNE 2022

  • 11 JULY–18 DECEMBER 2022

  • 12 SEPTEMBER 2022–2 APRIL 2023

  • 9 JANUARY–25 JUNE 2023

COST: $1,500

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.

Program 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.

    Request a Consultation

    If you're ready to start your certificate journey or have questions, submit the below form or email us directly. A Lifelong Learning concierge will follow-up with you to help you select a start date and complete your registration.

    What You'll Learn

    • 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

    Who Should Attend

    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.

    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

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