Anything related to innovation is connected to design thinking. We know what innovation is. Innovation is a new method or product. If a company wants to keep up to date and keep producing, innovation is a must.

But, what is design thinking? Why is design thinking so important? Do you want to learn the basics of design thinking? Or maybe you already know what it is, and you are looking for courses to really dive deep into design thinking. Then, keep reading. We are here to answer your design thinking questions.

What is Design Thinking 

Design thinking is the philosophy that helps you solve problems. It is a human-centered approach and focuses on understanding the people for whom companies create products. 

Design thinking is all about creative solutions. It is not just a process you apply when you encounter problems. Design thinking creates a new approach to designing products and services.

You don’t simply look for solutions to a problem in design thinking. It helps you to deeply question the problem, create empathy, and find the most permanent solutions. Design thinking revolves around experiments, testing, and creativity. All these qualities might sound like talents that some people have and some don’t. However, it is not the case for design thinking.

The best universities around the globe offer design thinking courses to teach how to execute design thinking.

Or, for more insights directly from experienced entrepreneurs in design thinking and more, sign up to our EWOR Platform to gain access to over 17 courses and a plethora of resources.

Learn How to Serve: 5 Phases of Design Thinking

Design thinking is not linear, neither its phases. Design thinking processes can be articulated in 5 phases: empathise, define, ideate, prototype, and test. Keep in mind that the phases are not hierarchical or in a must-follow order. 

  1. Empathise:
    Emphasise is the first step of design thinking. Product designers research the personal needs of their customers to create better services. This step is all about research. 

All the leading companies like Apple, Toyota, IBM overcome business challenges because they recruit a design team that is successful.   

A design team can be successful if only they’ve done their homework, and empathise with their customers. Interaction Design Foundation gives insights of this step if you want to learn more about how to emphasise.

  1. Define: You have researched your customer. The stage of empathy is completed. Now, in this stage, it becomes all about clarity. Define what is actually needed. What problem are you solving? What are the unmet needs in your field? Asking the right questions in this step is crucial. Once you have a clear definition, then you can move on to the ideate step. 
  2. Ideate: This is the step of design thinking where you create solutions. You have the challenge, you have asked the right questions. Now, it is time to brainstorm and ideate possible solutions. It is not an easy step. But, there are tools to organize thoughts at this stage. An ideation workshop can be the answer to a productive ideate stage.
  3. Prototype: We explained how design thinking is all about experimenting. The prototype phase is where the experiment starts. The prototyping phase has a lot of room for trying. Don’t worry if you are not sure about the product yet. In this phase, you can bring the solution to life and do real-time experiments. Creative minds are fearless. A prototype gives design thinkers the necessary courage to try out solutions.
  4. Test: In this phase, the experiment continues, only with more room to explore. At the test stage, you can bring out the results of your creative thinking process to the customers. One of the most important features of design thinking is that it is iterative. You don’t have to settle down in the test stage. If you feel like the solution or product doesn’t serve right, you can always go back to the previous steps. 

Am I Eligible for Design Thinking?

Who is design thinking for? Only the creative teams of companies? For people who want to pursue product design careers? No. Design thinking is for everybody. We all encounter situations that require creative solutions. It does not always need to be about your job. 

Design thinking teaches us to see things outside the box. If you can develop new ways of thinking, you don’t have to abide by the classic problem-solving methods. 

Creative individuals, freelancers, and product designers specifically benefit from design thinking. Design thinking is also a great step for new products. Creative solutions to people’s problems are how great products emerge. For example, Airbnb, the Oral-B Electric Toothbrush, and more were created thanks to design thinking.

The Best Design Thinking Courses Around The World

It is safe to say design thinking is essential for companies. No matter if they are creating new products or improving their services. Do you want to improve your creative thinking skills, or look for a jump in your career? We have collected the design thinking courses from the best universities and other sources for you:

Design Thinking for the Greater Good: Innovation in the Social Sector by University of Virginia

Mode of Study: Online

Duration: 8 hours

This course is designed to teach creative problem-solving. It offers skills like prototyping, problem-solving, user-centred design, and social issues. The design thinking course is 100% online, so you can join everywhere. It also offers flexible deadlines if you are worried about your other responsibilities.

Innovation Through Design: Think, Make, Break, Repeat by University of Sydney

Mode of Study: Online

Duration: 16 hours

If you are nervous about starting your design thinking journey, this course is for you! It is suitable for beginners and based on innovative skills. The course is offered in English, but it has subtitles available in Portuguese, Italian, Vietnamese, German, Russian, and Spanish. 

Foundations in Design Thinking Certificate: 

Mode of Study: Online

Duration: 2-3 Months

Course Fee: $799

This certificate program offers to teach the core concepts of design thinking. Some of the concepts are techniques to understand your customers better, ideation techniques, and prototyping. The design thinking course includes two online cohort courses. 

Design Thinking Bootcamp By Stanford University

Mode of Study: In-Person

Duration: 4 Days

Course Fee: $13,000

Stanford University offers to teach design thinking tools, and coach you to bring innovative ideas to the table. The course offers workshops for real-time experiments. Also, the course fee covers materials, breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

Design Thinking Certificate Program by Cornell University

Mode of Study: Online

Duration: 6 Months

Course Fee: $3,600

This program brings a human-centred approach to design thinking. The course focuses on collaborative teamwork. Identifying the challenges, gathering user emotions, crafting user narratives, design prototyping, and testing are the steps to start a successful design thinking process. 


Design thinking is about innovative problem-solving. It is important to understand the steps of the design thinking process. The design thinking courses take you step by step to execute all the phases successfully. If you want to bring creative ideas to your company or get your freelance design career off the ground, the courses on this page are for you.

About the author

EWOR is a place where the most extraordinary people find the education, network, and capital to solve the world's biggest problems. Our unique combination of an entrepreneurship academy and early-stage VC (up to €150K investment) firm was built for founders by founders, creating an unparalleled community for like-minded entrepreneurs and over a dozen unicorn founders who are building impactful tech companies.