A woman points to paper boards with sticky notes on them.

Certificate in Design Thinking for Innovation

Develop a new mindset and toolbox to innovate and solve problems

As leaders, one of the most important things we do is gather teams to solve organizational and societal problems. But how much time do we really spend gaining an understanding of a challenge and the people impacted by it?

That's where design thinking comes in: a human-centered, problem-solving process that leads to better solutions. Unlike most problem-solving processes that start with assumptions and move quickly toward a solution, design thinking is based on empathy seeking to deeply understand how a challenge affects people, and what they most need from a potential solution. It rests on the concept of "learning early to succeed sooner" through experimentation and testing, thus refining potential solutions until the end-users' needs are met.

In this 14-week, online bootcamp course, you'll apply design thinking principles to actual, real-time organizational challenges. Discover why design thinking for innovation is a sought-after skill in a wide variety of fields and industries, and be prepared for a transformative shift in the way you look at problems!

“I had not done an online class before, but this exceeded my expectations. Fun, intense and massive amounts of knowledge.”  Anonymous (’20)

What you'll learn

  • Understand how and why design thinking leads to better problem-solving and innovation.
  • Learn how to better understand a problem  and the people impacted by it before attempting to solve it.
  • Develop a design thinking toolkit and learn how to apply skills to personal and professional challenges.
A student studies on her laptop.


  • Cost: $3,200
  • Payment Options: Payment plans, discounts, and scholarships
  • Duration: 14 weeks (start in September or January)
  • Credits: 8 CE credits, transferrable to some master's degrees
  • Format: Fully virtual with live, interactive weekly Zoom classes
  • Time Commitment: Students tell us they typically spend 3-5 hours per week
  • Instructor: Stacy Maplesden | Read bio


A headshot of Jeff.

Jeff Kaufman Ph.D ('22)

Associate Professor of Leadership and Research & Director of Organizational Leadership Programming, Marian University

"The program was excellent! We are using design thinking very practically in how we create (and recreate) our own organization, but also theoretically by synthesizing what I have learned at Gonzaga with the Adaptive Leadership framework that we use as the foundation of our graduate leadership programs."

A headshot of Summer.

Summer Meyer ('22)

Digital Product Manager, PeaceHealth.

"The Certificate in Design Thinking equips you with skills you can implement at work immediately. The coursework is layered week to week and the cohort format provides a unique opportunity to practice the phases of design thinking in a collaborative way. The program continues to inspire me to think critically and apply human-centered techniques to solve problems in creative and innovative ways."

Colin stands against a building.

Colin Sauskojus ('22)

Supervisor, Community Leadership & Development Inc.

"Gonzaga's Certificate in Design Thinking was an excellent program that gave me the tools to begin designing solutions to challenges within my professional and personal life. I received practical, hands-on practice walking through the process in a group-based project setting. Along with that, I was able to design some of my own solutions in my free time. This certificate gave me the opportunity to teach my colleagues and supervisors about the process as well, and it has become something we return to regularly."