Stanford Boot Camp Delivers Design Thinking for Executives

The executive education course used hands-on projects to teach a design thinking process that helps organizational leaders drive innovation.

June 01, 2010

The Stanford Graduate School of Business and the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford will offer a new Design Thinking Boot Camp: From Insights to Innovation July 14-16. The executive education program is aimed at organizational leaders who are responsible for tack ling strategic challenges. Members of a team are also encouraged to apply.

Developed and led by faculty from the Institute of Design at Stanford University, also known as the d.school, the short course uses hands-on projects to teach a design thinking method that helps executives escalate problem-solving and drive innovation. The method develops deeper user insights, such as a better understanding of digitally native Generation Y workers and consumers who are naturally and radically networked. The program employs a prototype-driven approach to create improved or new products or processes. The application deadline for the course, which costs $9,000, is June 21.

Participants will spend their days at the newly opened Stanford d.school facility on the Stanford campus. Customized studio spaces foster radical collaboration and allow participants to wrestle with big projects for innovative outcomes. Residents may stay at the Schwab Residential Center on campus if they wish.

Design expert Perry Klebahn, the inventor of the modern snowshoe and a consulting associate professor at the d.school, will direct and teach the short course. Klebahn is founder and former CEO of Atlas Snowshoes, former COO of Patagonia, and former CEO of Timbuk2. “Innovation can be taught,” says Klebahn. “We have developed a specific problem-solving process that executives can practice and apply to creative change in products, services, or business planning.” Klebahn will be assisted by master coaches and other lead faculty from the d.school.

Participants will leave the program with a guide that outlines the tools and methods they have learned so they can share the practices with others in their organizations.

Key takeaways will include:

  • Development of deep consumer insights
  • A reduction of risk and accelerated learning through rapid prototyping
  • A drive towards innovation, not just incremental growth
  • Empowered employees who initiate innovation

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