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Design Thinking: Practice and Measurement Essentials

Learn how to put design thinking into practice at your organization

Coonoor Behal

Design thinking takes the designer’s approach to problem-solving and applies it to all contexts and types of problems; it’s an extremely powerful technique where design, making, and business overlap, and it’s not just for designers. Teams and organizations leverage this approach to create more meaningful products and services for both their users and the market at the rapid speed that modern technology demands. However, building a practice of design thinking takes time and considerable effort and often requires cultural change.

In this three-hour course, you’ll learn how other organizations have worked to put design thinking into practice and how to identify stumbling blocks to growth early in the process.

Through a mix of lecture, discussion, and hands-on activities, you’ll analyze your team’s current ways of working, define what a future state of applied design thinking will look like for your team, create metrics to measure this maturity over time, and develop a plan for increasing application moving forward. You’ll be able to put this plan—and everything else you learn in this course—to use immediately, charting your own course for maturity and crafting a vision for moving forward.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live, online course, you’ll understand:

  • The general stages of maturity of design thinking in a team/organization, including early roadblocks
  • Key areas of observable behaviors and metrics associated with each stage of maturity

And you’ll be able to…

  • Identify roadblocks in your team’s current use of design thinking
  • Define what maturity means for your particular work context
  • Design specific metrics for your particular context to measure maturity moving forward
  • Plan for accelerating your team’s application of design thinking using your specific metrics

This training course is for you because...

  • You’re a design leader with a design thinking background, and you need to create a design thinking culture in your team and/or organization.
  • You’re a product manager with experience working with designers, and you need to measure the application of design thinking on your product teams.


  • Basic understanding of the design thinking approach and some practice in its application
  • Basic understanding of team dynamics and a leadership perspective

All activities in the session will have worksheets to download and print out prior to the course and will be available for download in the Slack channel.

Group Work Notes: Exercises are intended for individuals, or small groups (up to 3 each) of people already working together on the same team.

Recommended Preparation:

O'Reilly Design Conference 2016 - San Francisco, California: Video Compilation: "A new approach to design thinking," Doug Powell (IBM Design)

From design thinking to design driven, Suzanne Pellican (Intuit QuickBooks)

About your instructor

  • Coonoor Behal is Founder of Mindhatch, a creative consultancy that helps companies and organizations get better results with creativity. Coonoor and Mindhatch are experts in design thinking, organizational improv, and innovation facilitation. As a design researcher and strategist, Coonoor has applied design thinking approaches to innovation projects for a variety of organizations across different sectors, including: Capital One, the National Institutes for Health, the World Bank, and restaurant groups. Prior to founding Mindhatch, Coonoor was a a strategy and innovation consultant at Deloitte Consulting, and an NGO worker.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Introduction: Design thinking and how it is adopted (10 min)

  • Instructor introduction, overview of design thinking and the stages of adoption

Identifying early roadblocks (20 min)

  • Review reading on the Early Roadblocks of Adopting Design Thinking
  • Activity: Identify key roadblocks in your current work situation and share with the group via Slack/group chat. We’ll discuss new themes of roadblocks as they surface.

3 stages of adoption plus key markers and metrics (20 min) - We’ll take a deep dive into the three stages of adopting design thinking, highlighting the key markers, metrics, and themes within each stage.

Break (10 min)

What does adoption mean for you? (20 min)

  • Activity—Defining adoption: Working through a series of reflective questions, you’ll define a future vision of what adoption will look like for your team/organization and share that vision in Slack. We’ll discuss the themes of and roadblocks specific future visions as they appear.

Designing Metrics (20 min) - Activity—Observable metrics & current levels: You’ll define specific metrics and markers for yourself and your particular work contexts and refine them with facilitated group discussion.

Break (10 min)

Evaluate your current levels (10 min)

  • Activity—Observable metrics & current levels (cont’d): Using the metrics you’ve created, you’ll score you team/organization in each defined metric.

Create an action plan (30 min)

  • Activity: You’ll create an action plan to validate the scores you’ve given to the metrics with other members of your team/organization along with ways to move the needle forward on adoption. You’ll post your action plan on Slack and we’ll discuss them a s a group.
  • Final lecture: Methods to accelerate adoption of the design thinking approach

Conclusion: Q&A and wrap-up (20 min)