2022 Guide to the Best Design Thinking Courses & Boot Camps

Design thinking is a creative problem-solving process used by designers and professionals across industries. It focuses on understanding the user through a phased approach that involves empathizing, ideating, prototyping, and user testing. But, you probably know that already, so we won’t spend too much time on that topic.

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Instead, we’ll explore the benefits of taking a design thinking course and where to find the top certification programs to enhance your skills! So, if you want to learn more about design thinking, just keep reading!

In this article:

  1. The Career Benefits of Taking a Design Thinking Course
  2. Who Should Learn Design Thinking?
  3. Skills That Can Be Gained
  4. Top 10 Design Thinking Courses & Certification Programs
  5. More Ways to Learn About Design Thinking
  6. Related Articles

The Career Benefits of Taking a Design Thinking Course

Design thinking has become a standard practice across industries. After all, finding solutions to customer needs is a top priority in the design and business world. So, it’s likely that industry leaders will increasingly focus their attention on this creative approach.

Considering taking a design thinking course or attending an enterprise design thinking workshop? It’s a great idea for those that want to expand upon their skill set and stand out from other candidates on job applications.

Who Should Learn Design Thinking, specifically?

The simple answer is everyone! Design thinking can be applied to almost every industry. But, here’s a shortlist of the types of professionals that could benefit from attending a design thinking program.

  • Project Manager
  • Freelancer
  • Entrepreneur
  • Graphic Designer
  • User Experience (UX) Designer
  • User Interface (UI) Designer
  • Product Designer
  • Design Consultant
  • Design Engineer
  • Creative Manager
  • Art Director
  • Marketing Manager
  • Chief Strategy Officer
  • Innovation Consultant
  • Head of Growth & Development

Skills You Could Gain from Taking a Design Thinking Course

Remember, it doesn’t matter if you’re enrolling in online courses to get your design thinking certificate or attending live teaching sessions – the end goal should be to foster creativity and gain skills that you can apply to your career!

Below, we’ve compiled a list of 15 essential design thinking skills, you could gain from diving deeper into this creative process.

  1. Strategic Thinking
  2. User-Centered Solutions
  3. Design-Led Strategy
  4. User Experience (UX) Design
  5. UX Research
  6. User Testing
  7. Ideation Techniques
  8. Prototyping
  9. Project Management
  10. Business Development
  11. Business Strategy
  12. Empathy Mapping to Identify User Emotions
  13. Collaboration on Cross-Functional Teams
  14. Systematic Approach to Generating Design Ideas
  15. Human-Centered Approach to Design Process

Top 10 Design Thinking Certification Programs

When it comes to design thinking training, you’ll want to learn from the best! So, here’s a list of the top design thinking courses, boot camps, micro masters, and professional certificate programs.

1. MIT: Mastering Design Thinking

  • Course Type: Online
  • Duration: 3 months (est. 6-8 hours per week)
  • Price: $3,300 USD

Program Outcomes

  • Learn to use modular product architectures to determine the building blocks of a product
  • Learn techniques to identify customer needs and user groups
  • Enhance prototyping skills

2. IDEO U: Foundations of Design Thinking Certificate

  • Course Type: Online
  • Duration: 2-3 Months (est. 4-5 hours per week)
  • Price: $1,198 USD

Program Outcomes

  • Acquire techniques to understand the social and emotional needs of users
  • Learn human-centered solutions and design thinking methods
  • Implement ideation techniques to generate, develop and execute creative ideas

3. University of Sydney: Design-Led Strategy – Design Thinking for Business Strategy and Entrepreneurship

  • Course Type: Online via Coursera
  • Duration: 20 hours
  • Price: $49 USD (free to audit, $49 for certificate)

Program Outcomes

  • Learn the ins and outs of design-led strategy
  • Gain in-depth knowledge of prototyping and product ideation
  • Learn how to plan and conduct primary market research

4. University of Minnesota: Creative Problem Solving

  • Course Type: Online via Coursera
  • Duration: 14 hours
  • Price: $49 USD (free to audit, $49 for certificate)

Program Outcomes

  • Examine divergent and convergent thinking
  • Learn creative thinking techniques to generate innovative solutions
  • Gain the ability to develop multiple concepts to solve problems

5. Stanford University: Design Thinking Bootcamp

  • Course Type: In-person
  • Duration: 3.5 Days
  • Price: $13,000 USD

Program Outcomes

  • Apply skills to solve business challenges
  • Use human-centered design techniques to learn how to bring new products, services, and experiences to market
  • Learn how to drive innovation

6. Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT): MicroMasters Program in Design Thinking

  • Course Type: Online via edX
  • Duration: 8 months (est. 8-12 per week)
  • Price: $1,345 USD

Program Outcomes

  • Learn user-centered research skills to further understand empathy
  • Use methods for evaluating and testing models
  • Learn strategies to solve problems effectively

7. University of British Columbia: Human-Centered Design for Work at a Distance Professional Certificate

  • Course Type: Online via edX
  • Duration: 2 months (est. 3-4 hours per week)
  • Price: $282.20 USD

Program Outcomes

  • Gain a foundational understanding of how to implement a human-centered approach to design projects
  • Learn human-centered design tools and frameworks
  • Obtain the ability to identify opportunities to implement design thinking in real-world projects.

8. The Design Gym: Design Thinking Bootcamp

  • Course Type: In-person or Online
  • Duration: 1 Day (9am – 6pm)
  • Price: $595-675 USD

Program Outcomes

  • Learn how to create sustained cultural change
  • Practice design thinking techniques that directly align with your organization’s initiatives
  • Learn how to confidently problem-solve for the future

9. Global Knowledge: Design Thinking Bootcamp

  • Course Type: Online or in-person
  • Duration: 2 Days
  • Price: $2,295 USD

Program Outcomes

  • Learn how to prototype rapidly
  • Gain a foundational understanding of the design thinking process
  • Learn how to apply design thinking to non-traditional roles and non-design industries

10. Northwestern Kellogg School of Management: Design Thinking – A Toolkit for Breakthrough Innovation

  • Course Type: Online
  • Duration: 8 Weeks (est. 4-6 hours per week)
  • Price: $2,600 USD

Program Outcomes

  • Learn basic concepts of design and how to apply them to real-world project challenges
  • Gain an in-depth understanding of design thinking to optimize decision making and gain a competitve advantage
  • Develop strategies for prototyping human-centered design projects

More Ways to Learn About Design Thinking

Let’s be honest, sometimes, enrolling in a course just isn’t feasible. Training programs take time and learning new skills can be a daunting task – especially for those who have design projects to tend to.

If you don’t have time to take a course or attend a workshop, here are a few simple ways to learn more about design thinking:

  • When possible, attend live discussions or stream podcasts hosted by design industry experts and others with expertise in driving innovation.
  • Review the core concepts of design thinking and pair those with existing knowledge to solve problems. In a nutshell, use real-world project challenges as opportunities to implement design thinking strategies.
  • Set aside a few hours per week to read about human-centered solutions and design thinking principles.