Top 10 Innovation Infusions: D.School Crash Course

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Our Top Ten Innovation Infusions are fun and effective actions you can use along with your other innovation efforts. Most are quick and easy, some require a little more planning, but all of them are great ways to infuse innovation into your team, whether you are embarking on a larger innovation culture shift or are just getting started.

The first Innovation Infusion that we love is the D.School Crash Course created by the Stanford Institute of Design (or  It is a fun, fast-paced way to teach design thinking to teams and aligns nicely with how we do things at Clearworks.

They call it the “crash course” because it highlights some of the’s most popular learning tools into a 90-minute video-led course.  The course includes everything you need – video, handouts, and facilitation tips — to get your teams thinking in terms of the customer to come up with innovative products and services.

The course takes you through a full design cycle that could typically take months and focuses on talking to your customer to gain empathy and identify real needs vs. needs that get drummed up in a conference room by your own company.  Each stage of the design thinking process is intentionally fast-paced to demonstrate how quickly new ideas can be generated and not hampered by analysis paralysis.

At the end of the course you will have experienced capturing customer insights, defining user’s needs, coming up with ideas to meet your user’s needs, testing your ideas with your user, finalizing a design concept, building a proto-type,  and testing your concept with your user to generate more ideas on how to improve your solution.

We recently helped a team that was struggling with seeing needs through the lens of the customer by suggesting they use the Stanford crash course before a three day training session.  Feedback by one of the participants made us smile – “Wow!  I just realized how much we are missing by not really understanding our customers’ needs.  This has been very eye-opening and exhilarating all at the same time!”

So, the next time you feel like your organization needs a little perspective on the customer – try out the Stanford crash course and see what new thinking and new ideas might emerge by just listening!  We even did it with our own team to remind us why we are in the business of listening to customers and what you can achieve!

Everything you need to run the Stanford can be found at:

Karie Starrett

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