7 Best Design Thinking Courses Online to Educate and Inspire You

Here are the best design thinking courses online to educate you on the framework, inspire you to action, and guide you on the path to creating customer value.

7 Best Design Thinking Courses Online to Educate and Inspire You


At a very basic level, design thinking is an approach to innovation that’s anchored in understanding what the customer really needs, not just what we think they need.


As such, it’s a useful methodology that’s accessible to anyone and everyone who’s willing to dig beyond the surface level and engage in creative problem-solving. 


Here is a list of the best design thinking courses online to support you in implementing this methodology in your business or organization. 


These courses will show you how to draw from the designer’s toolkit to create beautiful human-centered solutions, while giving adequate attention to the needs of the business and the constraints of technology throughout the process. 


Ultimately the goal of these courses is to help you become a master chef - not a line cook; so you can take the "design thinking recipe” as a framework, then tweak and iterate as needed.


This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure for more information.


What are the Best Design Thinking Courses Online? 

Here are the best design thinking courses to enroll in online this year: 


1. Foundations in Design Thinking Certificate (IDEO U)


If there's any organization that's qualified to offer a course on design thinking, it's IDEO - the award-winning global design firm that's often credited with inventing the term “design thinking” and its practice.


They've created this Foundations in Design Thinking Certificate to provide learners with a foundational, practical understanding of the essential design thinking skills and mindsets.


The program is composed of two of their popular courses: 

  1. Insights for Innovation (5 weeks)
  2. From Ideas to Action (5 weeks)

You will learn to: 

  • Understand the social, emotional, and physical needs of your customers
  • Apply methods that will help you turn your customer needs into human-centered solutions
  • Use ideation techniques to quickly generate, develop, and test new ideas
  • De-risk your new ideas by gaining feedback through rapid prototypes
  • Showcase your new skills through tangible, real-world project challenges, like an insights report or prototypes of products and services.

After completing the two courses, you’ll receive your certificate via email as a downloadable PDF within 1-2 weeks, allowing you to share your achievements with your professional network on LinkedIn. 


Key course features: 

  • 100% online  
  • Format: 2 Cohort Courses
  • 2-3 months 
  • 4 Hours / Week 

=> View the Syllabus for the Foundations in Design Thinking Course


2. Design Thinking: Design for New Experiences (Skillshare) 


What if you could use design thinking to redesign everything around you?


In this 90-minute class, instructor Jason Severs shows us how to think creatively and purposefully to approach everyday problems from a fresh slate.


As the Executive Creative Director at Frog, a global design consultancy, Jason has led practices such as creative facilitation, information design, and data visualization across the company's diverse portfolio. 


In this class, he covers a range of design thinking topics such as research, ideation, storytelling, and strategy. 


Class Syllabus: 

  • Trailer
  • Introduction 
  • Core Idea: Discovery
  • Research: Big Ideas and Tactics for Interviews
  • Research: Observations
  • Synthesis: Organizing Insights 
  • Class Project: The Journey Map 
  • Ideation: Questions and Random Entry 
  • Ideation: Design and Emotion 
  • Storytelling: Communicating for Resonance
  • Conclusion 
  • Explore Design on Skillshare

As you progress through the class, you'll think deeply about how designers organize, arrange, and systemize things in our world, hinging on the experience of going through a grocery store. 


You'll also learn how to make acute observations about the processes at work around you, and how to capture your thinking in notes, photographs and sketches.


In addition, to help you put everything in practice, you'll be challenged with a special class project: redesigning the grocery store and creating "before" and "after" journey maps that communicate your strategy.


=> Sign up for free and enroll in the Design for New Experiences class.


3. Design-Led Strategy (University of Sydney)


Design-Led Strategy is a course that's designed for entrepreneurial managers who are looking for tools and techniques to convert high-quality customer insights into innovative products and services.


The course builds on the concept of design thinking and applies it to advanced business strategy and entrepreneurship.


You will learn what "design strategy" is, how it differs from traditional design thinking and business strategy, and how it can be used to improve existing products or services in your business, or introduce breakthrough ideas. 


Course Syllabus: 

  • Week 1: What is a Design-Led Strategy? 
  • Week 2: Primary Market Research and Problem Statement Definition
  • Week 3: Prototyping and Product Ideation
  • Week 4: Design-led Strategy in Practice: Corporate Case Studies
  • Week 5: Course Wrap-Up 

Interestingly, you'll get to deep-dive into the practical application and impact of design-led strategies by looking into one of Australia’s newest, most innovative financial institutions, UBank, and the global reinsurance giant, Swiss Re. 


Through conversations with their senior executive leadership teams, you'll gain useful insights that you can use to inform product design and development for your own start-up, or to extend the product roadmap of an established organization.


Key course features: 

Flexible deadlines

  • Reset deadlines in accordance with your schedule.

Shareable Certificate

  • Earn a Certificate upon completion.

100% online

  • Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Intermediate Level

Approx. 20 hours to complete

English

  • Subtitles: Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, English, Spanish.

=> Enroll in the Design-Led Strategy online course here.


4. Design Thinking MicroMasters® Program


According to a recent report by Burning Glass Technologies, around 239,000 jobs were posted within the last year that mentioned design thinking as a required skill set. 


Why has design thinking become so sought-after in today's job market?


Well, employers in all industries are looking for candidates that have the problem solving, creativity, critical thinking, and analytical skills needed to lead their companies into a successful future. 


This Design Thinking MicroMasters program on Edx is designed to equip you with those exact skills.


Edx MicroMasters programs are a series of graduate level courses from top universities around the globe. They provide deep learning in a specific career field and are recognized by employers for their real job relevance.


In this course, you will learn how to use the design thinking process to solve problems creatively, collaboratively and empathetically.


Program Syllabus: 

  1. Design Thinking Fundamentals 
  2. Empathizing to Understand the Problem 
  3. Ideation, Iteration, and Communication 
  4. Prototyping and User Testing 
  5. Design Thinking Capstone 

This program is estimated to take about 8 months to complete, with about 8-12 hours of effort invested each week.  


=> Enroll in the Edx MicroMasters® Program in Design Thinking here.


5. Design Thinking for the Greater Good (University of Virginia)


Do you work for a nonprofit or in the social sector?


In this course by the University of Virginia, you will discover how design thinking can help you truly understand an issue, generate ideas worth testing, and iterate to find solutions that make a real difference. 


You will learn: 

  • What design thinking is and when to use it
  • How to prepare to see and take action when opportunity arises
  • How to use design thinking to generate innovative ideas

Course Syllabus: 

  • Week 1: Design Thinking Fundamentals
  • Week 2: Before You Begin, and Asking "What Is?"
  • Week 3: A Mindset for Innovation, and Asking "What If?"
  • Week 4: Asking "What Wows?" and "What Works?"

As you explore stories from areas as diverse as government, health care, and education, you'll familiarize yourself with the strategies needed to implement a human-centered approach to problem solving within your organization, so you can truly meet the needs of the people you serve. 


Key course features: 

Flexible deadlines

  • Reset deadlines in accordance with your schedule.

Shareable Certificate

  • Earn a Certificate upon completion

100% online

  • Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Beginner Level

  • No prior experience needed to participate in and benefit from this course.

Approx. 8 hours to complete

English

  • Subtitles: Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, English, Spanish. 

=> Enroll in the Design Thinking for the Greater Good course here.


6. Design Thinking in 3 Steps (Udemy)


Compared with some of the other design thinking courses on this list, this Udemy course is designed for a wide range of professionals and absolute beginners to design thinking. 


Whether you’re a business leader wanting to better understand what the designers at your company do, or a generalist wanting to break out of your usual problem solving patterns, this course will help you get there.


You will learn to: 

  • Apply the design thinking framework to solve problems more creatively
  • Create prototypes to test your idea early, before making a big investment of time and money
  • Understand problems from the customer's perspective
  • Guide groups to effectively brainstorm innovative ideas
  • Plan and conduct effective design research, including user interviews
  • Make and use a storyboard to communicate your design ideas
  • Identify your design research objectives
  • Make a plan to iterate your idea forward


At the end of the course, you’ll practice design thinking on a real-life project that you can add to your portfolio and use to showcase your new skills. 


Key course features: 

  • 1.5 hours on-demand video
  • 15 articles
  • 3 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of completion

=> Enroll in the Design Thinking in 3 Steps online course here.


7. Leading the Modern Day Business (Boston Consulting Group)


If you're looking for a course that offers insights on design thinking within the context of other key business topics, then this four-part specialization on Coursera is for you. 


The course takes a look at the inner workings of a dynamic enterprise and explores a conglomerate of essential skills, ranging from design thinking and digital transformation, to product management and IT.


You will learn how to: 

  • Utilize the Boston Consulting Group's digital transformation framework as a "how-to" for digitizing your organization

  • Integrate relevant, actionable analytics into your product program
  • Analyze the many ideas you generate and determine which ones are likely to produce specific, desired outcomes

Program Syllabus: 

  • Course 1: Digital Transformation 
  • Course 2: Design Thinking for Innovation 
  • Course 3: Digital Product Management: Modern Fundamentals
  • Course 4: Customer-Centric IT Strategy

Not only will this course help you become a more innovative thinker, it will also help you uncover creative opportunities within various organizational areas that you may not have had a chance to explore before.


For example, you'll learn about the major challenges within corporate IT, and how to address them with the disciplined use of design thinking.


Key course features: 

Shareable Certificate

  • Earn a Certificate upon completion.

100% online courses

  • Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.

Flexible Schedule

  • Set and maintain flexible deadlines.

Beginner Level

  • No prior experience required.

Approximately 4 months to complete

  • Suggested pace of 2 hours/week

English

  • Subtitles: English, Arabic, French, Portuguese (European), Italian, Vietnamese, Korean, German, Russian, Spanish, Chinese (Traditional), Hungarian.

=> Enroll in the Leading the Modern Day Business Specialization here.


Final Thoughts


Thanks for checking out this post on the best design thinking courses online. Of course, the particular course(s) you enroll in will depend on your particular learning objectives and goals. 


Ultimately, as you dive deeper into the world of design thinking, you'll learn to view everyday problems from a creative and unconventional lens, enabling you to discover more of the golden opportunities around you that are hidden in plain sight. 



Happy learning!

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