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Sloan School of Management

Leadership by Design: Innovation Process and Culture

Next dates

Jun 25—26
2 days
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
USD 4100
USD 2050 per day
Oct 22—23
2 days
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
USD 4100
USD 2050 per day


Successful companies create compelling, disruptive products and services by cultivating a culture of design thinking—and by putting people at the center of their process. These firms innovate continuously by connecting with customer needs and emotions and demonstrating effective design leadership. Learn how enable this design culture at your organization to achieve buy-in for your vision and create solutions that consumers love

This new program helps individuals and teams understand and practice human-centered design. You will learn both strategic and hands-on techniques for structured exploration through prototyping. You will also learn how to enable an action-based organizational culture in which empathy is generated, trial and error is encouraged, and failure is celebrated as a source of learning—all resulting in successful innovation.Drawing on the resources of MIT’s Integrated Design & Management curriculum and its new Integrated Design Lab (ID Lab), this program combines the inspired, intuitive methods taught in the world’s best design schools with the systematic, analytical methods for which MIT is world renowned. This program is led by Matthew S. Kressy, creator and Director of Integrated Design & Management (IDM).

Course content includes:

  • Discussions on expression and culture
  • Field exercises in observation, exploration, and user empathy
  • Lectures on concept generation
  • Studio exercises in persona development and storytelling
  • Lectures and case studies pertaining to design leadership
  • Hands-on sketch modeling and rendering exercises
  • Functional prototyping workshops
  • Opportunities to build, test, and iterate prototypes in teams
  • Concluding discussions on process and leadership

The tools presented in the program can be applied to any range of human-centered innovation problems and opportunities including products, services and social/societal challenges.

By applying a design-centered approach to leadership, you’ll be able to conceive of radically innovative solutions to multifaceted problems, create a vision that gets buy-in from senior management and colleagues, avoid hazards, and create solutions that people love both emotionally and intellectually.

Participants in this course will:

  • Learn a shared process for solving hard-to-define problems
  • Engage in both a hands-on and analytical approach to problem solving through robust design process
  • Explore and practice the skill of empathy in understanding the needs and desires of consumers
  • Learn practical, hands-on strategies for concept generation and product prototyping
  • Learn how design thinking and doing can be used to provide vision and build consensus in the development of new products and services
  • Acquire tools for creating a more collaborative, innovative, and less risk-averse corporate culture

Teams from the same organization that attend this course will:

  • Learn how to work across functions using an integrated approach to break down silos
  • Acquire new frameworks for communicating among and across divisions
  • Gain deeper understanding and credibility among peers working in different areas, e.g. marketing, design, engineering, etc.



  • 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM Design Process and Culture
  • Exploration, Empathy and Expression; Creation; What is good design? What is a good culture?; Love
  • 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM Exploration & Empathy (Field Exercise)
  • Interviews & Photos; Observations & Video; Dialog & Need Statements
  • 12:30 PM - 1:30 PM Networking Lunch
  • 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM Expression (Studio Exercise)
  • Photo Essay; Video; Image Boards; Personas; Storytelling
  • 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM Group Presentations


  • 9:00 AM - 10:30 AM Creation
  • Strategy; Vision and Leadership; Balance (vision vs. feasibility vs. viability); Testing and Selection; Case: Saltshooter
  • 10:30 AM - 12:30 PM Making Workshop
  • Sketching Demo + Exercise; Sketch Modeling Demo + Exercise; Rendering Demo; Hot glue Demo + Exercise
  • 12:30 PM - 3:30 PM Functional Prototyping (Studio Exercise)
  • Introduce Design Challenge: Race Car; Teams form strategies and review; Materials provided; Build -> test -> iterate (Includes working lunch)
  • 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM Process Discussion
  • Process and leadership; General Reflections; Take-aways; Concluding remarks

Who should attend

This program provides a shared process for problem solving and consensus building that can be applied to many roles, organizations, and industries. It is intended to introduce the concepts of human-centered design to individuals and teams who are not already familiar with these design-based concepts and their application. Ideal participants include:

  • Entrepreneurs and “intrapreneurs” seeking new solutions and products
  • Executives and senior managers in leadership roles
  • Product development managers and engineers who want to learn more application of design-centered methods (rather than engineering-driven methods)
  • Individuals and teams looking to creating a more experimental and less risk-averse corporate culture when they return to work
  • Individuals and teams working for more “siloed” organizations and seeking integrated approaches for communication and innovation across teams


Matthew S. Kressy, founding director of the MIT Integrated Design & Management (IDM) master’s degree, is an expert in product design and development. As an entrepreneur and founder of Designturn, he has designed, invented, engineered, and manufactured products for startups, Fortune 500 compan...


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