Innovation. Creativity. Strategic thinking. In the past year, more than 279,000 job postings have listed these skills. Another 239,000 mention design thinking.*
Why has design thinking become one of the most sought-after skills? Employers are looking for problem solving, creativity, critical thinking, and analytical skills to enhance the capabilities of their employees to lead their companies into a successful future. Design thinking was developed out of the processes used by designers including user understanding and user experience, however, its application may be used to address non-product oriented problems as well –from innovating new product or service possibilities to implementing procedural change, or identifying a new strategic direction for the company.
In the Design Thinking MicroMasters program, you will learn how to use the design thinking process to solve problems creatively, collaboratively and empathetically. Earning the MicroMasters program certificate will equip you with knowledge of the processes and techniques used to solve problems and innovate in the workplace.
* Source: Burning Glass Technologies
Courses under this program: Course 1: Design Thinking Fundamentals
Learn how a user-centered approach and design thinking principles inspire innovative ideas to create desirable solutions.
Course 2: Design Thinking: Empathizing to Understand the Problem
Learn how to identify and understand product or business problems through active listening, empathy and user-focused research.
Course 3: Design Thinking: Ideation, Iteration and Communication
Learn how ideas transform into solutions through iteration and validation along with best practices for communicating your solution to stakeholders.
Course 4: Design Thinking: Prototyping and User Testing
Learn the importance of prototyping and user testing solutions before going to market and how to assess and evaluate solutions post-launch.
Course 5: Design Thinking Capstone
Demonstrate the knowledge and skills gained during the Design Thinking MicroMasters program.
This course provides an introduction to the foundational activities related to design thinking: a flexible, yet systematic process to define and solve problems. A common misconception is that design thinking requires artistry, but it is not centered on artistic principles. Design thinking is a strategy and mindset that can be applied to any industry to solve problems.
As part of the Design Thinking MicroMasters program, this course will explore methods used to evaluate problems, develop ideas, and create innovative solutions with the user in mind. Focusing on the importance of user understanding and the development of desirable, feasible, and viable ideas, this course will provide an overview of the design thinking process from end to end.
When you immerse yourself in the context of the user, you can uncover pain points and find opportunities for improvement or innovation not always evident to your audience.
In this course, part of the Design Thinking MicroMasters program, you will learn how to use simple research methodologies including active listening to understand your target audience and uncover their obvious or latent needs.
Emphasis will be placed on observation and interviewing as key methods to gain empathy for the user's experience and viewpoint. Equipped with this understanding, you will be prepared to identify and define more accurately the business problem.
You will also review case studies and discuss strategies to foster productive client-stakeholder relationships, including user personification, context understanding, and empathy idea mapping (ideas that resonate with your target audience).
Designing a successful and innovative solution requires creative ideas and their iteration. As critical phases of the design thinking process, ideation and iteration are often what distinguish design thinking from traditional or linear problem-solving approaches. This course, part of the Design Thinking MicroMasters program, will explain and provide context and instruction on essential ideation techniques such as:
Strategic idea mapping
After ideation, the solution(s) that best address the original problem are chosen to present. This course will discuss best practices for selecting solutions and common pitfalls to avoid when communicating solutions to a client.
Creating prototypes puts a proposed solution into action. In this course, you will learn the value of prototypes and user testing as critical components of the design thinking process. You will examine case studies to understand the iterative process of prototyping and discover how new products and ideas can emerge as a result.
As part of the Design Thinking MicroMasters program, you will study how to analyze and implement the results of user testing to ensure your solution can fully benefit from this inclusive and innovative process. Best practices for evaluating solutions will also be covered, including surveys, user evaluations, focus groups and interviews.
The capstone course, part of the Design Thinking MicroMasters program, will be a cumulative experience incorporating all aspects of the design thinking process, from end to end.
In this course, you will be asked to solve a problem using the design thinking process. You will demonstrate your understanding by submitting a final project, along with documentation to support your findings.
Melissa Dawson, Mike Johansson, Lorraine Justice, Jennifer Englert and Dan Harel