Program Curriculum

Program Curriculum

Design Thinking: A Practical Approach for Innovation

We live in an age of exponential change in which rapid innovation is disrupting and unseating incumbent products industries, creating new technological frontiers, and challenging nearly everything we think we know about business. Think Uber and the end of the medallion taxi industry. Think Airbnb in more than twice as many countries as Hilton in less than 5 percent of the time. Think Tesla. Think Oculus. But beyond using the “buzzword,” can you really define innovation?

In this course, which is centered on the concept of Design Thinking, your answer to that question will come from actually involving yourself in the activity of innovating. The course will include lectures from faculty and guests, discussions of emerging trends in human behavior and new technologies that are changing our society. Participants will engage with case studies in innovation models and methods and learning expeditions on and beyond the MIT campus. The course will go beyond traditional classroom activities to include group work and a class hands-on brainstorming through which to engage in genuine innovating – and through that, to gain an understanding beyond the buzzword. Participants will emerge as more critical thinkers, knowledgeable about what innovation is (and is not), how it happens through applied design thinking, and how to imagine opportunities for innovative products, services, and experiences.


Active class participation, a willingness to engage with others in a creative process, and a recognition that you might have a lot to learn about innovation are all prerequisites for the class.

Participants will complete this course with a firm, practical understanding of what constitutes genuine innovation and how innovators’ models, methods, and modes of thinking can be utilized to create stronger, more innovative business models, product design, customer experiences and more. With this, they will be able to approach their own teams, departments, products, and business strategies with a critical eye and develop new approaches for innovating.

Participant Benefits:

Learning what constitutes genuine innovation;

Understanding how to apply design thinking to transform their own organizations.

Learning the fundamentals of Design Thinking, its methods and models, how it promotes innovation, and how it is different from other methods

Learning the existing and emerging trends in tech, industry, and our society

Understanding how the business landscape is being changed by innovators, and the strategies that make it possible to succeed in this new age