Design Leadership and Innovation

There is no doubt that innovation is key to progress. Companies worldwide invest millions per year on the development of new products and services that will ensure their economic sustainability. However, innovation is a challenging endeavor that requires strategic thinking, customer focus, the right organizational climate, and an effective management approach.

Designers, with their specific skills, can take a major part in driving innovation. This is already successfully happening in companies like SAP, Pepsi-Co and Philips, where design professionals play a leading role in steering innovation. Inspired by these cases, this design course is aimed at designers who would like to take a more active role in the innovative efforts of companies, and who want to go beyond executing new product/service design briefs.

This advanced course is aimed at strategic designers with an interest in acquiring a more senior position in the company or even becoming a Chief Design Officer (CDO). Designers with ambition to better understand and develop their strategic potential, become sparring partners in crafting briefs, and influence strategic decision-making within their organizations will also gain a lot from this course.

By using a three-step approach for leading and managing strategic innovation projects, this course will teach you how to harness your existing design practices – such as envisioning, orchestrating, inspiring, etc. - and transform them into powerful innovation drivers. You will learn how to use these practices to impact strategic decision-making, win stakeholders’ support, and identify relevant KPIs. You will also learn how to adapt your design practices and design-driven way of working to a particular company. Finally, you will practice some design methods to make your impact durable over time.

Through a combination of short lectures, given by design and innovation experts, practical exercises, webinar and individualized feedback, you will learn which design capabilities and practices are most valued by companies, and how to use them effectively for improving a company’s innovation performance. To help you gain a better understanding of innovation, you will:

  • learn how your strategic contributions can help companies create and capture value through innovation.
  • gain an in-depth understanding of the organization you are working in.
  • utilize this understanding to effectively interact with management and other stakeholders.

The lecturers instructing this course are experts in the field of Strategic Value of Design, with experience in teaching this course to Master students at TU Delft, as well as executives through masterclasses at TU Delft. The masterclass on this subject has been highly recommended by design professionals.

By the end of this course, you will know how to effectively communicate your value in a company and how to fulfill leadership positions within your organization. You will also be encouraged to interact with one another and other design professionals.


The course materials of this course are Copyright Delft University of Technology and are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (CC-BY-NC-SA) 4.0 International License.

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From edX
Institution Delft University of Technology (TU Delft)
Instructors Jürgen Tanghe, Giulia Calabretta
Length 4 weeks
Effort 3-4 hours per week
Availability Archived
Language English (English)
Subjects Design
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