Design Thinking Practitioner Certification: A 5-Day Program to Help You Solve Complex Problems Creatively

Live Session August 20, 2024 | 1:00pm - 3:00pm ET | August 5, 2024 12:00 am ET - August 20, 2024 11:59 pm ET

Registrant Access Only

This training will not be available asynchronously.

Design Thinking Practitioner Certification: A 5-Day Program to Help You Solve Complex Problems Creatively

Live Session August 20, 2024 | 1:00pm - 3:00pm ET | August 5, 2024 12:00 am ET - August 20, 2024 11:59 pm ET

Join our program to receive bite-sized lessons for 5 days that will help you drive impactful solutions through design thinking principles. Complete the program, submit the workbook for review, and attend one virtual session to get a certificate of practitioner!


In the ever-evolving landscape of higher education, innovation is not just a buzzword; it’s a necessity. Design Thinking is a proven methodology that fosters creative problem solving and encourages a user-centric approach. By integrating these principles into your practice, you’ll be better equipped to address complex challenges, enhance student engagement, and drive positive change within your institution.   

Become a certified Design Thinking practitioner and bring your expertise in solving problems creatively to your campus. The Design Thinking Practitioner Certificate contains three parts: 

  1. Complete five asynchronous lessons and associated workbook exercises. Starting on August 5, you will receive a daily email for five days containing bite-sized lessons that can be completed in 30 minutes or less. 
  1. Attend the live session on August 20 from 1:00–3:00 p.m. Eastern time. Before August 20, you will receive a Lego® Serious Play® kit in the mail. You’ll use this kit in a live online Lego® Serious Play® session with expert instructors Steve Whitehead and Garret Westlake, where you’ll learn to apply design thinking principles to solving problems. 
  1. Complete the Design Thinking Practitioner workbook, and submit it for review with Virginia Commonwealth University 

After you have completed all three steps and your workbook has been graded, you’ll receive a Design Thinking Practitioner Certificate. 

Hurry! Registration closes August 5.

Who should attend?

This professional development on design thinking principles is suitable for a diverse range of individuals within the higher education sector. Anyone with an interest in exploring innovative problem-solving methodologies, regardless of their specific role in higher education, can find value in understanding and applying design thinking principles. This is truly calling all curious minds.


Day 1: Introduction, and Why Design Thinking?
This lesson will introduce users to the instructors Garret Westlake, Associate Vice Provost of Innovation and the Executive Director of the da Vinci Center at Virginia Commonwealth University, and Stephen Whitehead, Head of Practice for Academic Innovation at Academic Impressions, while emphasizing the five steps to design thinking:

  • Empathize: Develop a deep understanding of the problem, and of the needs and experiences of the people who are affected by it.
  • Define: Synthesize your research and define the specific problem that you want to solve.
  • Ideate: Generate a wide range of potential solutions to the problem.
  • Prototype: Create low-fidelity prototypes of your best ideas.
  • Test: Iterate quickly by testing your prototypes with users and stakeholders.



Day 2: Design Thinking in Action
This lesson will present a problem to explore through the design thinking process and provide you with the chance to practice the design thinking steps (Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test). After you practice each step of the design process, we will highlight a group of students from VCU who are practicing the same step—not simply for comparison, but also to allow the opportunity to explore the design process from a different perspective.



Day 3: Empathy in the Design Thinking Process
Now that you’ve experienced the five-step design process, it’s time to take a deeper dive into each of the steps. We’ll begin with step one, “Empathize.” Empathy requires us to purposefully put aside our learning, culture, knowledge, and opinions, in order to understand others’ experiences. Users will learn how to be empathetic observers and how using the “Ask the 5 Whys” approach is a simple but effective way to dig deeper into the heart of an issue.



Day 4: Define and Ideate
A deep discussion of the second (“Define”) and third (“Ideate”) steps of the design thinking process will occur in this lesson. By analyzing the data collected during the “Empathize” stage, users can define the core problem requiring solution. We will introduce the Worst Possible Idea Technique here as an example of ideation.



Day 5: Prototype and Test (Evaluate) / Closing
We will discuss the final steps in the design thinking process, “Prototype” and “Test.” We will review types of prototypes, the pros and cons of each, as well as guidelines for prototyping in the conclusion of the course.



Design Thinking Practitioner Certificate
The practitioner certificate builds upon the skills gained from the video lessons for a deeper level of learning. Participants will need to hold themselves accountable to apply the application, gain feedback on their workbooks, and participate in a virtual session to further discuss with the presenters. Upon successful completion of this certificate, participants will be prepared to apply a design thinking technique on their own campus.