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We're proud to partner once again with UNC Charlotte to deliver the area's most comprehensive and affordable Design Thinking Certificate Program.

What is Design Thinking?

Design Thinking is a human-centered approach to innovation that employs the principles and practices of design, such as empathy, rapid prototyping, and a healthy respect for failure.

Equal parts toolset and mindset, Design Thinking can be applied in a variety of ways to help organizations collaboratively solve complex problems, develop products and services, and design experiences that delight customers AND employees.

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Design Thinking Certificate Program


March 2 - April 20, 2021

Tuesday Nights

Eight Weeks


Virtual Program via Zoom


6:00 PM - 9:00 PM



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Who Should Attend?

If you are currently responsible for or aspire to lead one or more of the following, then the Design Thinking Certificate Program should be at the top of your professional development list.


Adapt to disruption by developing innovative products, programs, or processes.


Intentionally design experiences that delight customers and keep them coming back.


Engage employees in meaningful ways to solve complex problems.


Strengthen your team's creative problem-solving skills to see, think, and work differently.

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Want to learn more about how Design Thinking is being applied to solve real-world problems? Here's one of our favorite stories!

Case Study - Transforming Healthcare for Children and Their Families

As a principal designer for GE Healthcare, Doug Dietz had been designing diagnostic imaging equipment for more than 20 years when he realized that young patients' actual experience of this cutting-edge technology was, well, awful. Children were often so terrified by the prospect of lying alone inside the huge, noisy machine that they often had to be sedated just to get through the experience. Doug put together a team of experts to solve this problem, including staff from a local children's museum, kids, and hospital staff. The result was an innovative, design-driven solution that utterly transformed the experience for children, their parents, and healthcare professionals.

Course Content

We take a "learning by doing" approach to helping people learn the principles and practices of Design Thinking. As such, starting on Day 1, you'll be learning while also working on a local civic or social challenge.

  • Introduction to Design Thinking

  • Role of Empathy

  • Ethnographic Research

  • Sense Making

  • (Re)Framing the Problem / Opportunity

  • Structured Ideation

  • Idea Filtering / Idea Selection

  • Journey Mapping

  • Rapid Prototyping

  • Soliciting and Capturing Feedback

  • Concept Development

  • Designing for Adoption

  • Real-World Applications of Design Thinking

What You'll Learn

During the eight-week program, you will:

  • Understand how Design Thinking can be utilized to solve problems, develop / improve products and services, and design experiences.

  • Use ethnographic research tools to uncover unarticulated needs and opportunities "hidden in plain sight" for customers and/or employees.

  • Learn how to overcome the “Curse of Knowledge” by seeking out diversity of thought, background, and experience.

  • Appreciate the benefits of "designing with, not for."

  • Generate and refine ideas more effectively than through traditional brainstorming.

  • Employ iterative, rapid prototyping to increase clarity, build shared understanding, and sustain buy-in among stakeholders and senior leaders.

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  • Understand the importance of identifying the beliefs, incentives, and motivations of stakeholders in order to influence adoption of new products and services.

  • Effectively solicit and capture feedback on prototypes and concepts still in development.

  • Recognize how Design Thinking can be applied in business, government, education, and nonprofits.

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