University of Virginia
Design Thinking for the Greater Good: Innovation in the Social Sector
University of Virginia

Design Thinking for the Greater Good: Innovation in the Social Sector

Taught in English

Some content may not be translated

43,306 already enrolled


Gain insight into a topic and learn the fundamentals

Jeanne M. Liedtka

Instructor: Jeanne M. Liedtka


(402 reviews)

Beginner level

Recommended experience

8 hours to complete
3 weeks at 2 hours a week
Flexible schedule
Learn at your own pace

What you'll learn

  • What design thinking is and when to use it

  • How to prepare to see and take action when opportunity arises

  • How to use design thinking to generate innovative ideas

  • How to take the many ideas you generate and determine which ones are likely to produce specific, desired outcomes

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There are 4 modules in this course

Welcome to the first week of Design Thinking in the Social Sector! This week, we provide an overview of design thinking: what it is, why it is different, and why we need it in these uncertain times, especially in complex organizations. We’ll examine the four simple questions at the heart of the design thinking methodology, and illustrate that approach with a visit to the Kingwood Institute in the UK. We’ll conclude this module by giving you a chance to hear from some other experts – Angela Meyer on the visualization tool and Dan Pink on six abilities that matter most.

What's included

14 videos1 reading1 quiz

Welcome back! This week, we’ll examine the types of problems that are well-suited for design thinking. We'll recognize what we need to do before we begin a project, and then take a deep dive into the first question in the design thinking process, “What is?” and the concepts of insights and design criteria. You’ll see how asking “What is?” helped improve daily living for adults with autism, their families, and the staff of the Kingwood Trust. Then we’ll look at the Monash University Medical Centre in Australia and how it asked this same question to make patient-centered care a reality. Along the way you’ll learn about two design tools: journey mapping and repertoire.

What's included

12 videos1 quiz

Welcome back! This week, we'll continue our exploration of repertoire and a "mindset for innovation" through two personas we call George and Geoffrey. We'll examine the question "What If?" as a way to think about possibilities. You'll look closely at how brainstorming within the design thinking process helped organizations as different as the Federal Drug Administration and the leaders of a small town of Iveragh, Ireland. This week's tools, storytelling and stakeholder mapping, illustrate ways to gather more information about projects and users.

What's included

11 videos1 quiz

Welcome to our final week! This week we transition from idea generation to testing by examining the intersection of what stakeholders want and what the organization can sustainably offer. We'll consider the role of prototypes as a way to test our assumptions about a solution, and consider what it takes to launch a solution into practice, and see real-life examples of prototyping and testing in social sectors as diverse as healthcare and agriculture. You'll begin to think about your own social sector challenge you could tackle with design thinking. We end this week with some advice and actions for impact.

What's included

14 videos5 readings1 quiz1 peer review


Instructor ratings
4.7 (95 ratings)
Jeanne M. Liedtka
University of Virginia
12 Courses487,749 learners

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