U.Va. Darden School Announces New Design Thinking Resources

A new Darden Executive Education course on design thinking premieres this summer.

Article ID: 614490

Released: 3-Mar-2014 12:00 PM EST

Source Newsroom: University of Virginia Darden School of Business

  • Credit: Darden Communication & Marketing

    Darden Professor Jeanne Liedtka

Newswise — CHARLOTTESVILLE, Virginia — The University of Virginia Darden School of Business today announced a broad range of new resources from Darden Professor Jeanne Liedtka to empower educators, managers and others to use design thinking in business, public sector and educational settings.

Design thinking is an alternative approach to problem solving that stimulates inspiration and innovation. “It’s really very helpful in becoming creative,” said Liedtka. “It brings tools and processes. Creativity is not as random as you think.”

Design thinking dismisses what Liedtka calls the “Moses Myth” — the belief that only a special person can part the seas and create. Design thinking arms even the most traditional thinker with ways to become creative.

Liedtka, a pioneer in the field of design thinking, works with both MBA students and executives to explore how organizations can engage employees at every level in thinking creatively about solving problems and pursuing opportunities by using the tools of design. In 2013, Liedtka received the honorary Medal of the Order of Australia for her role in developing leaders of Australia’s prestigious, national museums.

Darden Executive Education Program on Design Thinking

Liedtka will lead the new Darden Executive Education course Design Thinking 17-20 June 2014, in Charlottesville, Virginia.

In this Executive Education course, participants will distill design thinking into a clear process that will help decrease the risk and cost of projects by framing the challenges correctly to maximize innovation, gather deep insights about value creation for stakeholders, test assumptions early and prototype the concepts.

Participants will learn to:

• Use a disciplined approach to brainstorming that leads to valuable and actionable output.• Engage the customer in the development of new business offerings.• Use learning launches to make quick decisions about if and how to move ahead with growth projects.• Reduce the unknowns to a concrete list of challenges that can be solved through their organizations’ existing resources.• Develop a process for handling dissent, resolving conflicts constructively and adapting on the fly.

Design Thinking Field Guide

Liedtka is co-author of the recently published book The Designing For Growth Field Book: A Step-by-Step Project Guide with Tim Ogilvie and Darden Visiting Executive Lecturer Rachel Brozenske. This companion guide to the book Designing for Growth: A Design Thinking Tool Kit for Managers serves as a workbook through which the authors provide practitioners a step-by-step process to solve their organizational issues through design thinking.

“Most managers are taught a linear problem-solving methodology: define the problem, identify various solutions, analyze each and choose the best one,” said Liedtka. “Designers aren’t nearly so impatient — or optimistic. They understand that successful invention takes experimentation and that empathy is hard won.”


Liedtka’s upcoming webinar offers the opportunity to connect with her on the application of design thinking in the public sector. Liedtka will host a free, live webinar Tuesday, 4 March — “Realizing the Power of Design Thinking in the Public Sector.” Participants will learn how city officials used design thinking to revitalize Dublin, Ireland, after the “Celtic Tiger” economic bust.

A recording of her recent webinar “Improve the Speed and Success of Your Innovation” is available for download.

“Design thinking can change lives for the better,” said Liedtka. “It’s not just a means to make cool stuff for people with money.”

About the Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business is one of the world's leading business schools, offering MBA, Ph.D. and Executive Education programs. The unique Darden experience combines the case study method, top-ranked faculty whose research advances global managerial practice and business education, and a tight-knit learning environment to develop responsible and complete leaders who are ready to make an impact.

For questions or information, contact Matt Charles or a member of the Communication team.

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