Course Watch

Design Thinking – The Next New Wave

Design Thinking – The Next New Wave

Nimrata Kapoor

“The only way to find the limits of the possible is to go beyond them into the impossible.” This quote by Arthur C Clarke, one of my favourite science fiction authors is our guiding light to explore a bold new field called Design Thinking. At the risk of being repetitive, let me stress that we live in unprecedented times. Never before has our way of life been challenged so much as now in 2020 with Covid-19 creating havoc all around. The world’s interconnectedness that was a boon earlier,is now resulting in our challenges being intertwined. New problems need a non linear, human centred, systematised approach to solving them.


An area with immense possibilities, design thinking is being embraced by all those concerned with pushing the emergence of innovative solutions by putting the human being (employee, customer) at the focus. UX Designers, HR Managers, Quality Managers, Process Improvement Champions, Product Designers, Customer Engagement Leads, Freelancers, Consultants, CEO’s – they are but some of the people who are evangelizing Design Thinking. Please don’t fall for the fallacy that it is only for designers. Basically, it is used to solve all kinds of tricky business problems.

For example, a traditional organisation may commission a customer survey to listen to the voice of the customer. A design thinking organisation would ensure that their product designer spends a day or two at the customer site and really goes back to the drawing board to resolve both stated and latent needs. Immersion thus is key to design thinking. This raw data is then analysed and made sense of.


“A human centered approach to innovation that draws from the designer’s toolkit to integrate the needs of people, the possibilities of technology and the requirements of business success,”-Tim Brown, chair design and innovation firm, IDEO. This combination of tools and insight can be thought of as social technology (HBR, 2018). It is a multi-disciplinary approach to problem solving, which is done with the engagement of people, hence helping overcome biases and rootedness to “the way things are done.”

Thought alignment workshop may be conducted with the customer to ideate on what the final design should achieve. The thoroughness of the discovery process is extended to the idea generation and evaluation process. A common theme throughout all processes is to challenge assumptions and biases in a nonjudgmental fashion.


Unfortunately, there is no single gold standard for a design thinking certification. The moot point to understand here is that this is a practitioner’s realm, and there is no age criteria. Some of the top global and Indian courses are listed:

1.IDEO – U: Foundations in Design Thinking; Online mode of study; 2 online cohort courses of 2-3 months based on 4 hours per week; Cost – $1198.

2. Stanford University: Design Thinking Bootcamp: Originally in person, and now offered virtually; Interactive 3.5 days of online bootcamp followed by 3 days of post program coaching to launch design in your organisation; Cost – $13k.

3.Cornell University: Design Thinking Certificate: Online mode of study; 6 months with 3-5 hours per week; Cost – $3.6k.

4.The Design Gym: One Day Bootcamp: In-person mode of study (currently no programs scheduled); 1 day bootcamp; Online studios also available for corporate change interventions; Cost: $ 595-675.

5. ISDI (Indian School of Design & Innovation): 11-month PG course in Design & Innovation: Currently online mode of study; Course curriculum in partnership with Parsons; Currently admission process ongoing; Admission via Creative Aptitude test and In-person interview; Cost: Rs 10.45 lakh.

6.IIM Kozhikode: Professional Certificate Programme in Design Thinking and Innovation Management: Online mode of study, 3 hours weekly for 5 months; Course starts in May; Cost: Rs 1 lakh + GST.

7. IIM Rohtak: Certificate Programme in Advance Strategy Thinking & Design Thinking: 2 days campus immersion at the beginning and end of the program; 3 hours weekly for 6 months; Course starts in April; Cost: Rs. 1.55 lakh + GST.

8.IIM Lucknow – Wiley: Executive Programme in Data Driven Product Management: Online mode with 4 days of immersion; 140 hours over 6 months including 10 Masterclasses; Pre-Course Preparation Modules also provided; Course starts in November 2020; Cost: Rs 1.49 lakh + GST.

 IIM Ahmedabad, IIM Bangalore and ISB also offer Management Development Programmes on Design Thinking. Many of the leading B Schools are now offering Design Thinking as a course in their curriculum.

 In addition to these, there are many companies that are offering training courses on design thinking in India. Prominent among them are: KPMG, TinkerLabs and QAI. The various e-learning companies like Udemy, Coursera, Simplilearn also have design thinking courses available for one to learn about the topic.

 If you are looking to challenge yourself and explore new ways of solving a problem, then design thinking is certainly for you. Practical and engaging, these courses are sure to alter your thought process and help you change the way you see things.

 — The writer is HR Advisor and Career Coach ( 


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