Design-Driven Innovation

Successful innovation begins and ends with a deep understanding of the end user. It’s not enough for products to be functional and efficient; they must also strongly resonate emotionally with the people that use them. Design-driven Innovation provides a powerful organizational framework and tool set to help you create wildly successful solutions. Great products make great companies, and the key to both is having deep understanding of the needs and emotions of the customer. Many companies are capable of great innovation, products and services, but they lack the corporate culture to bring those innovations to market. Established organizations invariably become focused on optimization, cost reduction, productivity and risk mitigation. This culture prevents great ideas from making it to market and results in them being vulnerable to those companies that do.

This course will enable participants to harness the power of design processes to facilitate innovation, as well as enabling thoughtful, inspired leadership. The same processes that connect us to our customers, understands their needs, emotions and dreams, can also inform and empower leadership. Using the user-centered design process, participants will learn how to get deep understanding of user’s needs and emotions. Participants will practice various research methods including interviews, observational research, needs list, personas, storyboards. With these tools, teams will present their findings in a way that communicates empathy and the Participants will learn and practice the user-centered design process and the design-driven design process through a series of lectures and hands-on exercises. 

Earn a Professional Certificate in Innovation and Technology

This course may be taken individually or as part of the Professional Certificate Program in Innovation & Technology or the Professional Certificate Program in Design & Manufacturing.

Lead Instructor(s): 

Matthew Kressy


Jul 8, 2019 - Jul 10, 2019

Course Length: 

3 Days

Course Fee: 





  • Open
Registration for this program will close by June 15

Participant Takeaways: 

After this course, participants will be able to:

  • Lead the transition to a design-driven innovative culture within their organization
  • Create a corporate culture that supports innovation and accepts risk
  • Build consensus and provide vision to peers and management

Who Should Attend: 

This course is designed for executives and senior managers, as well as other roles involved in leadership, innovation, and organizational transformation.


Computer requirements

Participants are required to bring a laptop or tablet with PowerPoint or Keynote and Excel.

Program Outline: 

Day 1

10:30 am

Lecture: Leadership and Design Process

Exploration, empathy, expression, integration, leadership

10:30 am-12:30 pm

Exercise: Exploration and Empathy
Participant group performs interview and observations

1:30 pm

Working lunch (continuation of exercise, lunch provided)


Lecture: Expression
Storytelling, personas, image boards, photo essay, video

3:30 pm

Exercise: Expression
Storytelling, personas, image boards, photo essay, video

5:00 pm

Presentations & Debrief

Day 2

10:30 am

Lecture: Creating
Creating functional and emotional value, strategy, selection, Saltshooter case

11:00 am

Making Demo
Sketching, cutting, hot glue, rendering, safety

11:00 am -

Exercise: Creating
Create a functional and beautiful product (lamp)

12:30 pm

Working lunch (continuation of exercise, lunch provided)

3:30 pm

Continuation of exercise

5:00 pm

Design Review
Go from team to team and critique designs

6:00 pm

Course reception

Day 3


Lecture: Leadership & Excellence
Courage, vision, drive, togetherness


Exercise: Build Leadership & Innovation Strategy
Each participant develops a leadership plan for their current company that results in a visionary innovation culture


Presentation of Strategies

1:00 pm

Lunch (on your own)

4:00 pm

Field trip to a local innovation company

4:30 pm

Program Reflection

Course Schedule: 

View 2019 schedule (pdf)

This course meets 9:00 am - 5:00 pm on Monday and Tuesday, and 9:00 am - 4:30 pm on Wednesday. On the first two days of class there will be working lunches (participants will continue working on their exercises, lunch will be provided). On Tuesday there will be a reception after class.