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Learner Reviews & Feedback for Leadership Through Design Innovation by Northwestern University

309 ratings

About the Course

Today’s workplace calls for a new style of leadership to embolden and accelerate innovation. Design offers a novel way to discover market opportunities, experiment to validate concepts and mitigate risk, and deliver value to all stakeholders. This course offers hands-on experience applying human-centered design process to real-world challenges, and requires you to explore the world around you. Learn how to engage with end users, effectively frame problems, identify potential solutions, and build prototypes to test assumptions and learn what works (and doesn’t). Then dive into a range of ways large and small to bring design innovation into your organization....

Top reviews


Apr 15, 2018

SO far I've enjoyed it and it's the course why I started the specialization for, and instead of taking it separate from the others, it's way better to have the full track to get the 360 view


Sep 28, 2016

Enjoyed the journey through the course. The projects are integral to gain confidence on applying design thinking. However, they are time intensive and require commitment.

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1 - 25 of 94 Reviews for Leadership Through Design Innovation

By Seth M

Aug 1, 2016

You absolutely have to change this course. It's out of control.

It's unreasonable to expect people who aren't from the design, marketing, or graphics worlds to do this much sketching, prototyping, interviewing of people, and field trips for this class. It's 20x the work I've done for any other Coursera course and I physically can't finish it. It's actually impossible for me to do this much work, particularly on skills I will never use, because I'm not a designer. I'm a leader and a manager.

You need to fix this. I'm all for experiential learning but this is absolute nonsense.

By Ronja L

Feb 21, 2019

I understand the importance of design innovation in leadership.

However, I definitely do not agree on the extent to which this course delved into the creation of prototypes, making of storyboards and physical observations in supermarkets.. this is a very specific specialisation within design and not so much to leadership and to ask such commitment from the students is not appropriate in my opinion. Having reached this point in the overall leadership course I feel like the design innovation aspect has drawn more focus than any other aspect of the course that I consider much more integral to leadership. No balance..

By Sarah J B L

Jun 21, 2016

This is supposed to be a leadership specialization-this course is wildly out of place and very disappointing. I will be dropping the specialization due to this course.

By Brian A

Jul 22, 2016

Assigned coursework is overly burdensome and does not yield a sufficient amount of additional understanding over that which is gained watching the videos.

By Michael R

Feb 11, 2017

The least helpful of the specialty. Arduous assignments with a lot of errors and not well planned. Specialty has been great up until this one.

By Peder A

Aug 29, 2016

I have been disappointed with this course and my learning outcomes do not justify the huge amount of time invested. More importantly, the course has little to do with organisational leadership in its classical form.

The course focuses on stimulating creativity and innovation. Subsequently your assignments will include drawing, sketching, making storyboards, building prototypes out of Lego, cardboard or other material, interviewing people etc. It is very hands-on and extremely time-consuming in particular as the graded assignment focuses fully on quantity, no quality measure is used at any point in time.

By Vikash P

May 29, 2016

This is a highly inadequate course on Design Thinking. And it made worse by excessively demanding assignments that are totally at odds with the quantity and depth of the course content.

By Jennifer M

Oct 20, 2017

Content and information = 4.5

Amount of time needed to do assignments when you have a full-time work and travel extensively = 2.5

I found it really difficult to complete the course assignments because of my workload and travel schedule. Needing to go to a grocery store during a particular week to make observations; sit with a colleague in the office in a week that I'm supposed to be working from home - it was difficult to complete these assignments. Also the intensity of the assignment felt larger than the learning/value gained from doing it. This is the 5th out of 6 classes as part of the 6 course specialization on Org Leadership. This is the only class where I've struggled with the time commitment for the assignments and didn't feel like the time put in was equal to the value I got in return. I've also taken one other coursera class and didn't have this issue.

By Ann M

Dec 12, 2018

I took all the prior courses in this specialization and they were excellent, relevant, and directly applicable to my career and my development. They offered challenging insights but were reasonably simple to complete. This course is something else entirely. First off, it is not a leadership in any way. This is an engineering design class. While it could have been valuable to be introduced to the idea of prototyping, the requirements for application of these concepts are not reasonable at all. It was clear by reviewing peer assignments for week 2 that this is far beyond what can be taught in a MOOC without extensive instructor support. People clearly did not understand what to do. This problem of overly difficult projects got worse in week 3, which was literally an impossible project to complete. I cannot believe very many people get through this. Unfortunately I cancelled my subscription and dropped the course as a result, and I will not be pursuing the capstone to complete this speciali

By Phillip S

Aug 5, 2016

This class is not very well connected to the topic of leadership. It is more of an engineering course.

By Mohamed A T K

Feb 8, 2016

Warning: this is a VERY demanding course, the required weekly time assignment is underestimated.

By Giovanni R

Jun 30, 2021

Workload is not proportional to the course and new concepts

By Douglas B

Jul 21, 2021

I really hated it to be honest. First, the spaces provided for writing are tiny and when you have to review someone else's work, you have to scroll up and down, up and down, again and again and again. Also, the formatting is all skewed and there are huge spaces and broken sentences. The amount of work they ask for, for example, 750 to 1000 words of notes about reorganizing break time or organizing a meeting. It's ridiculous. This isn't an MBA and the certificate has no real value so why create so much work. I am a Coursera premium subscriber and I don't think I will continue here as I am sure the Capstone will be torture. Pick something else.

By Kathryn L

Apr 27, 2020

I thought this course was interesting. I enjoyed the professors and the case study with the teddy bear. Exercises were fun, though may have been better done with a group and in person (brainstorming and iterating solo is tough). I enjoyed attending, but am not sure it relates well to an Organizational Leadership Specialization.

By Max R

Mar 29, 2016

good interesting and practical course, but assignments are way too burdensome and lengthy to complete if you are a busy professional.

By Saeed S A

Jun 29, 2022

This course does not fit the scope of the specialization. It is purely about designing and sketching. In week 4, they tried to tailor that to apply it in the context of leadership by talking about fostering change and catalyzing innovations; however, it seems that they went over the general concepts of innovation and shortly fell back to sketching and design. I am forced to take this course to take the capstone course for this specialization. It was irrelevant to the subject, and the assignments were time-consuming without meaningful outcomes. I hope the creators of this course consider this feedback and design better materials related to leadership.

By Praktikant H

Feb 9, 2016

Pretty Shallow Course: once you have understood the basic principles of Design Innovation in week 1 (Observe and Ask your Users, collect Feedback, Rapid Prototyping, have a learning mindset), the following lectures just repeat and repeat and repeat and repeat how you can use those principles in different settings.

By Sarah A J

Feb 23, 2022

This course is a valuable introduction to human-centered design and design innovation, however the coursework required for the completion of this class is enourmously disproportionate to the credit offered.

By Sawyer K

Jun 8, 2017

This course does a tremendous job providing the fundamentals of Design-Thinking into the bigger picture of leading yourself well with an even-keeled skill set. This will bridge your mind with standard quantitative decision making and qualitative intuition. It brings the creative back to scientific experimentation. If you are considering learning about this course, would definitely recommend due to structure, reading lists, case studies, and additional materials provided.

By Małgorzata G

Feb 9, 2016

GREAT! GREAT! GREAT! I love it. Very good teachers, A LOT of practical work, but it was good, because it allows me to understand and learn the design thinking process better. Very good connection between leadership and design innovation!

By abhinav a

Jan 5, 2020

Great course which will tab different ways of solving an issue by design thinking principles. Well structured and paused at right phases.

By Laila k k

Jul 7, 2019

Found all leadership courses from Northwestern brilliant in material, innovative, and with great common sense applied to concepts..

By Nima A

Aug 28, 2017

Thanks for this excellent course. I learned and optimized my skills very well through the lessons and assignements! Recommended!

By Florian M

Jan 14, 2019

A lot of work, but definitely great!

By Felipe B

Nov 6, 2020

Good course, but does not make sense as part of Leadership Specialization. The amount of work required in the assignments is not proportional to the relevance of the subject in this specialization.

The name shouldn't be Leadership Through Design Innovation, but Design process, or Observation and Design.

The content is interesting and well built, but not suitable for the Leadership Specialization.