Design Thinking

Wake Forest University School of Business

Wake Forest University School of Business


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Who should attend

This program is designed for managers and executives who want to bring their businesses to the forefront of innovation. It’s especially helpful for those who need to lead teams and cross-functional units in problem-solving initiatives and next-level growth ideation. Also managers responsible for implementing strategy will get many skills from these sessions. Former participants have recently used this material and the multi-step method to redesign internal processes to develop a new service based on user feedback, a new employee evaluation system, streamline a customer call center system, create a more effective sales tool kit, improve meal delivery to the elderly, revitalize urban spaces, create new social networking models, and improve education and leadership development within their organizations. Some participants see this course as offering improved skills over traditional market research approaches and techniques.

About the course

Solve complex business challenges and promote industry leadership with a systematic approach to creativity and innovation.

In Design Thinking, you will bypass abstraction and use design as a practical, everyday process to spur innovation, organic organizational growth, and effective strategy implementation.

Bridge the gap between brainstorming and executable solutions to business problems and growth. In this certificate program, you will learn the best procedure for generating and testing concepts – one that combines brainstorming and visualization with traditional business analysis. You will study cases of design thinking in action, working with peers and award-winning faculty to build a systematic solution for one of your current business issues. Participants will learn optimum pathways to engage customer feedback and solicit new ideas. You will prototype concepts and test your assumptions. In the process, you will discover which problems and which solutions actually matter the most to your customers. Bring a project with you and let’s get to work!

Take-Aways & Learning Outcomes

  • Discover why traditional critical reasoning can actually increase the innovation risks and costs of problem solving
  • Learn how designers and artists use big-idea thinking to make faster and smarter progress toward their goals-and how you can do it
  • Practice learning launches to make quick, meaningful decisions about moving new concepts forward
  • Reduce the new launch unknowns to a concrete list of challenges you can solve with existing resources
  • Generate new business offerings based on the needs and suggestions of your customers
  • Identify the sweet spot of innovation-exactly when to launch new product or service ideas and outpace your competition

Certificate Course Details

Content & Competencies

  1. Introduction / Process & Mindset

You will learn about the design thinking process and aspects that are critical to effective design; especially prototyping and brainstorming.

  1. Getting Started with Some Focus

You’ll see, first hand, the importance of empathy in the design process. Empathetic behaviors help to define the problem being solved and creating solutions to problems not otherwise understood.

  1. Capturing Empathy

We delve heavily into cognitive biases and ways to gain empathy about others. Total immersions, interviewing, playing word games, and video-tapping are all ways to gain empathy.

  1. Imagine; Prototype & Test

A mainstay of design thinking is prototyping – making something visible and tangible. This unique ways of expressing yourself comes naturally after a few practice sessions.

  1. More Prototyping; Getting Physical

  2. Storytelling

We will cover the “and, but, therefore” format. We will also talk about the role of story in design thinking.

  1. The Launch

Ready to go – your design is being market driven. By acting you learn.

  1. Project Presentations

Participants will present what they’ve discovered through the Design Thinking process and share their project outcomes.

*Learning Outcomes *

A multi-step process designed to solve one of your real-life challenges,

  • A disciplined approach to brainstorming and similar idea generation techniques and the steps to follow to get new ideas off the whiteboard and into production.
  • Ways to resolve conflict during ideation and growth and adapt your design process when business conditions demand it.
  • Ways to road test the growth potential of new ideas so you can minimize the risks and maximize the rewards inherent in growth and change.
  • Stronger innovation and communication skills and the ability to enhance them in various project settings.

Special Experiences

  • You will get a chance to work on a specific project and get feedback from the professors and other participants.
  • We will experience the arts: listen to a jazz band and discuss their process for making music, talk to designer and learn how he creates journey maps, talk to a person who uses nature as her design criteria, and hear from an expert storyteller about the power of stories in organizations.
  • Between sessions, optional experiences that enhance your skills.
  • Discuss several examples of using design thinking through actual case studies.
  • Each class period will provide time for you to work on your projects and get feedback.
  • Discuss your organization’s challenges with strategy implementation with an expert on strategy formulation and implementation.

Career & Industry Outlook

According to a 2010 IBM survey of more than 1,500 Chief Executive Officers from 60 countries and 33 industries worldwide, chief executives believe that — more than rigor, management discipline, integrity or even vision — successfully navigating an increasing complex world will require creativity and creative thinking, which this Certificate will allow managers and executives to improve upon.

Conducted through in-person interviews with senior leaders and consultants from IBM’s Global Business Services division, less than half of global CEOs believe their enterprises are adequately prepared to handle a highly volatile, increasingly complex business environment. CEOs are confronted with massive shifts – new government regulations, changes in global economic power centers, accelerated industry transformation, growing volumes of data, rapidly evolving customer preferences – that, according to the study, can be overcome by instilling “creativity” throughout an organization. More than 60 percent of CEOs believe industry transformation is the top factor contributing to uncertainty, and the finding indicates a need to discover innovative ways of managing an organization’s structure, finances, people and strategy.


You will have an opportunity to work on your own project or to respond to a client’s project. We will present a client and their project. You will work with others in the program to address the client’s project. This project can include everyone in class or a subset of interested people.

We encourage you to work in a group if you choose your own project. You can include members of your team from outside the course.

Projects can be anything that interests you. These projects can be process redesign, product or service design, or even the design of physical space. Past participants worked on business plans for new businesses, the design of a new product for physically challenged students, alternative energy solutions for people living in emerging markets, and new websites.


Daniel Fogel

Dan Fogel is SP3’s Founder, Chairman, and CEO, Dan Fogel knows how organizations adopt sustainability practices and principles as part of their core strategies. His research and teaching focuses in areas including (but not limited to): environmental sustainability, global sustainable business and...

Videos and materials

Design Thinking at Wake Forest University School of Business

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Coursalytics is an independent platform to find, compare, and book executive courses. Coursalytics is not endorsed by, sponsored by, or otherwise affiliated with any business school or university.

Full disclaimer.

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