Design Thinking Certificate Program


 Incorporating Human-Centric Innovation 

Today’s competitive and dynamic landscape requires re-imagining business strategies and approaches to innovation. At the heart of your product development lives the goal of solving an unmet need for your customers. Design Thinking employs methods and mindsets to promote a human-centered approach. By effectively leveraging the design thinking framework and embracing human insights, you can quickly and efficiently create better products and experiences for your customers. 

Learn to work collaboratively to solve complex problems while combining creative and analytical methodology. Develop deep insights, understand human behavior, articulate design needs, prototype solutions, and test and validate in an iterate-based process. 

This program is designed by industry experts for professionals seeking a practical framework for this fast-growing discipline. From empathizing, defining, ideating, prototyping, testing, and validating - GET ready to roll-up your sleeves and apply your new skills in this hands-on, interactive course. This certificate program is offered through Zschool. 

All are invited! The program is designed for both individuals and teams who want to achieve personal growth, influence change at their company, and who are empowered to drive new initiatives. Topics are interdisciplinary and are appropriate for those at all levels, including leadership and management roles throughout the organization. And it doesn't make a difference which department you're in - all departments can participate, such as human resources, sales, marketing, product design, IT, finance, operations, and legal. 

Immerse yourself in the design thinking framework and identify the unmet needs of your customers. Although presented as a defined process, you’ll discover each stage can actually happen at any time and occur as often as needed. Reduce the risk associated with launching new products and generate solutions that are disruptive, rather than incremental. 

Enjoy this fast-paced course that puts your customer at the center of every product or process you create. 

The program is broken down into 8 modules and finishes up with a Capstone Project. 

1. Introduction to Design Thinking 

2. Designing for Empathy 

3. Introduction to Visualization 

4. Your Customers, Their Journey 

5. Ideation in the Design Thinking Process 

6. Prototyping Approaches & Tools 

7. Validation & Testing 

8. Implementation & Application 


Capstone Project: Design Thinking Portfolio 

During the program, you work through projects most important to you and your company and develop plans to utilize your new skills. As you document each step, you’ll create your own toolkit and Design Thinking Portfolio to organize your findings and identify the key actions needed to accomplish your goals for ultimate success. 

Carol Buehrens 

Carol is the author of ‘Happy RAVING Customers!’ and is a leading CX expert. She has a wealth of skills and expertise to draw from, constructing customer experiences for over 30 years for major companies such as Liberty Mutual, Northrop, McDonnell-Douglas, Bechtel, GE, Mercury Marine, and ICW Group Insurance Companies. 

Carol’s passion for improving customer experience has resulted in numerous awards, including the prestigious “CX Innovation Award” from the Customer Experience Professionals Association (CXPA), ICW Group CEO Award, the Liberty Mutual Star Award, and is listed in the World's Top 30 Customer Service Professionals. 

A Founding Member and Expert Panel Member of the international Customer Experience Professional Association (CXPA), Carol is also an active member of the San Diego Customer Experience Special Interest Group (CX SIG), and a Professor at California State University Fullerton and University of California San Diego. 

Lisa Perrine 

As an experienced designer and communication strategist, Lisa professional career spans over 30 years and includes more than 1,000 consulting engagements. Her firm designs and builds places that inspire people to collaborate productively, learn quickly, and make sound decisions. 

Unique in their commitment to co-creation, they use Design Thinking methods to engage end-users in crafting compelling experiences. Their diverse client list includes the Annenberg Foundation, Microsoft, Pacific Life and Sony Music. 

After earning an undergraduate design degree, she began her career building prototypes for a small product design studio. In 1991 she became the CEO of Cibola Systems and completed her MBA studies at Pepperdine University shortly thereafter. More recently Lisa earned a doctorate degree in Organizational Leadership at Pepperdine where her research focused on multidisciplinary teams. 

Coaching Design Thinking workshops and courses is a special joy for Lisa. Many of these assist nonprofit and civic organizations with specific design challenges. Her courses have been approved for certification renewal units by several trade organizations, including the American Institute of Architects, International Interior Design Association, and AVIXA. 

Cibola’s team is committed to supporting the underserved and vulnerable. Lisa has served on the governing boards of the Orange County United Way, the Girl Scouts of Orange County, St. Joseph Hoag Health and Mission Hospital. Her colleagues and she also volunteer our professional services for many Southern California charities. 

The full price of the program is $4,995. Discounts are available, please fill out the form by clicking Enroll Now button.


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The program can be completed on your own schedule. Plan to spend approximately 2 - 4 hours for each module. This time will include watching videos, completing exercises, and joining in the discussions. We suggest completing at least one module a week, finishing in eight weeks. Overall, the average time spent is from 24 - 32 hours (depending on the projects you pick to work on). 

You'll enjoy the freedom and flexibility of a self-paced course. Unlike other online courses comprised solely of reading and tests, your online learning experience Includes: 

  • Learn by doing approach
  • Easy-to-use learning platform
  • Short Video presentations that can be replayed and revisited as needed 
  • Engaging activities and exercises that reinforce your new skills, and are downloadable for multi-purpose use
  • Knowledge challenges to test your learning
  • Interactive discussions with peers and instructors
  • Professional plans of action to take back to your organization
  • An official university-backed certificate after completion 
  • Inbox access to instructors and teacher aides
  • Helpful templates, eBooks, workbooks, posters, and more, all included

Certain skills and up-to-date technology are needed to successfully complete the program. This includes: 

  • Computer or tablet with Internet access 
  • Up-to-date browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, Safari, etc. 
  • Microsoft Word or equivalent 
  • Microsoft Excel or equivalent 
  • Microsoft PowerPoint or equivalent 
  • Adobe PDF Reader 


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Online Learning programs are available through the College of Professional and Global Education (CPGE) at Cal Poly Pomona, in partnership with Zschool, a third-party provider. These programs are sponsored by Cal Poly Pomona Enterprises. Learn at your own pace, perfect for busy professionals. Click on each program to register for an online learning course, offered by one of our trusted providers.

These programs are in partnership with a third-party provider and are not taught by California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (CPP) nor College of Professional & Global Education (CPGE) faculty. The courses are not offered for academic credit and are not degree eligible.

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