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I have been seeing a lot of this lately, certificates for Design Thinking being taught by various different schools. It all started with Stanford’s d.school but now has moved to every school under the sun. I have always been frustrated with the concept that someone can take a class and come out thinking they have the skills that have taken the rest of us years to perfect. On the flip side I am ok with using them to get informed and hiring the right people for the job, unfortunately that is not what they are teaching.

This ad from Cornell keeps popping up in my Facebook. Not only is it a DT certificate, it is taught all ONLINE. How do you teach empathy, prototyping, synthesis, iteration, collaboration, etc... online? That’s just absurd.
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Tuition collection device. :-)

I've seen it with a few client workshops. Sometimes I'll be asked to come in and run an innovation workshop, something I did a lot of at frog. Before hand sometimes I'll be given a heads up of "be sensitive to so and so, he took a design thinking class and so thinks he knows about this stuff" ... it is fine, but sometimes it gets into the whole "a little bit of knowledge can be a dangerous thing" space with the wrong personalities. I usually spend a bit of extra time with those folks over drinks or dinner, before hand if possible.
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Yeah I hear ya. In my new role, I was actually hired by a guy that took a course at Stanford. He saw it as an opportunity and hired me to help him create it. That is the way this should be handled and what they should be teaching.

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Just because you attended a single class doesn’t make you an expert in Human Centered Design. You shouldn’t make an effort to implement HCD or design thinking into a meeting, it should come natural.

The Luma Workplace has been a great online resource which has helped me kickstart projects and get things moving. To designers, this stuff is nothing new, but the way they arrange different methods of product development is worth looking into.
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You shouldn’t make an effort to implement HCD or design thinking into a meeting, it should come natural.
Would you mind expanding on this 'natural' idea?

I've had one masters level course in HCD so far - an overview of the entire process. Based on the range of readings, the elements of 'design thinking' or HCD or whatever any company or agency wants to call it are basically the same, but emphasize one phase or another based on their specific expertise and where they want to play. e.g. Frog would probably be more on the execution/implementation and IDEO on the anthropology/frameworks. (just guessing here).

The one course I've had was populated with about 50% certificate students, who do something like 18 credits rather than the MS 48+ credits. I don't know what value the certificate would have in the marketplace although its feasible that a good range of skills and methodologies could be learned and applied.

Is it possible to do all online? I'd say 'yes, but' ... it would be truncated or somewhat amputated. You can't really do contextual inquiry on-line, except for perhaps a very limited range of subjects. Group meetings and brainstorming are better in-person. We had group projects and used Slack and G-Suite extensively for online collaboration, but they weren’t as fruitful or creative as the live sessions. Lectures and reading of course could be administered on-line, as could quizzes, but we didn't have any quizzes or tests.

To combine an esteemed college brand with the words "design thinking" in order to charge $xxxxx.xx for a 'certificate' of debatable market value seems like the cynical view but I'd agree with yo's take above, its the most likely reason why you see more advertising for these things.
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I think this probably sums up most of that online course :-D
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Touché
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Not that there is anything wrong with learning new techniques, tools, and methodologies. Sometimes I get the feeling though that these kinds of courses are like someone needing to fix their old BMW 2002 and then charging them a lot of money for shiny new set of metric socket-wenches and saying “you can do it!” ... maybe that works for some people

Tools don’t equal ability, whether that be a set of Copics, a CAD platform, or a set of design thinking methodologies and exercises.

In the right hands those socket-wrenches can get a lot of work done though.
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