New Book, Certificate Program From UVA Darden Professor Unpack the Potential of the Design Thinking Experience

In daylong hackathons, design thinking seems deceptively easy.

On the surface, it involves a set of seemingly simple activities such as gathering data, identifying insights, generating ideas, prototyping and experimentation. But practiced at a superficial level, even great design tools don’t go deep enough to create the shifts in mindset and skillset that are required to achieve transformational impact. Going deep with design requires more than changing the activities of innovators; it involves creating the conditions that shape who they become.

Individuals become design thinkers by experiencing design. Experiencing Design book

In the new book, Experiencing Design: The Innovator’s Journey (Columbia Business School Publishing, 2021), University of Virginia Darden School of Business Professor Jeanne Liedtka, along with co-authors Karen Hold, the founder of the innovation consulting firm Experience Lab; and Jessica Eldridge, a consultant working at the intersection of education and innovation; explain how the practice of design thinking leads to both personal fulfillment and innovation activity.

(Liedtka is the author of numerous books on design and design thinking. Her new, noncredit Certificate in Design Thinking, offered by Darden Executive Education & Lifelong Learning, empowers learners to become creative catalysts for generating new ideas and driving innovation. The program starts on 18 October.)

The authors draw on decades of researching and teaching design thinking to people not trained in design to offer a guide for how to create these deep experiences at each stage of the design thinking journey, whether for an individual, a team or an organization.

For each experience phase, they specify the mindset shifts and competencies that need to be achieved, describe how different personality types experience different kinds of journeys, and show how to fully leverage the diversity of teams. Experiencing Design explores both the science and practicalities of design and includes two assessment instruments for individual and organizational development.

Ultimately, innovators need to be someone new to create something new. Experiencing Design shows how to use design thinking to make this happen.

Liedtka’s most recent book is Design Thinking for the Greater Good: Innovation in the Social Sector (Columbia Business School Publishing, 2017). Read more of her work on Darden Ideas to Action.

Experiencing Design is now available for pre-order and will officially be released in July.

Darden Executive Education & Lifelong Learning is provided by the University of Virginia Darden School Foundation.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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Darden School of Business
University of Virginia