People Rocket is a partner to a number of universities and executive education programs across the world, from Duke University to London Business School, and from Aalto University in Helsinki and Singapore to Pontifical Catholic University of Rio Grande do Sul. These programs regularly engage us to deliver design thinking, innovation, and creativity programs. Participants range from graduate students to executives.
In each instance, we taught participants the knowledge, skills, and abilities of design — the bread and butter of all our work. We focused on capability-building through experiential activities, in a classroom setting. By working with these tools, the participants created a mental model of how design works and learned the principles of human-centered design.
They immediately moved to using their new capabilities on a challenge they brought to the program. This was a key component: ensuring that participants could see the real world application of what they were learning.
How We Did It
Executives brought an in-process company project to the program, with the aim of solving a real business challenge. We taught them the knowledge, skills, and abilities they needed to tackle their challenges and coached them through applying it to their respective project.
Regardless of their industry or challenge, our pedagogy, which is based in learning science, remains consistent. Everyone who learns design thinking with us is guided through the same four overarching steps of explore, explain, apply, and reflect.
And each program is bespoke, designed to meet the particular needs of the cohort. This goes beyond the tool selection and includes things like the challenge that we worked through. But it’s really the application or reflection that sets this apart from other types of learning experiences.
Every participant left the program with a concrete plan to tackle their particular challenge. They designed the series of steps they would need to take to move forward, and were armed with the repeatable moves that they could continue to apply throughout the process. They not only learned new tools, skills, and abilities, but also left with a clear vision of how to apply them to the challenge they brought to the program — as well as what real world applications could look like.