Design Thinking as a Leadership Practice

In an ever-changing world, it’s more important than ever for leaders to have the tools to be able to navigate change and innovate. It’s also important for leaders to have opportunities to spur creative thinking in a world that is cluttered with a lot of noise and distractions. Most importantly, though, leaders need support in connecting with people and building empathy.   

When frameworks are provided to help spur innovation and build valuable people skills, we find that leaders are better equipped to move forward.  It seems counterintuitive to use a process to try to break away from routine thinking and/or to build relationships, yet the design thinking process helps to spark creativity in order for organizations to adapt and grow. The process begins with building empathy and because of this, we believe it is a valuable tool for anyone wanting to create better workplaces.  

There are multiple trainings, models, and tools out there if you want to apply design thinking in your organization.


Our favorite Stanford’s d School’s tools.  In particular,  we like this resource because it has all the tools you need to conduct a design thinking boot camp for any type of organization or group:

(archival resource) Design Thinking Bootcamp Bootleg — Stanford


Other good sources of training and resources can be found through Harvard and MIT: 

Design Thinking Course | HBS Online

MIT Sloan Design Thinking | Online Certificate Program


A good (although dated) video to watch that captures the design thinking process can be found here: 

ABC Nightline – IDEO Shopping Cart – YouTube


How do you spur innovation and creativity in your workplace? 

Mary Ila Ward

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