Johnson at Cornell University | Groups
Leading Innovation through Design Thinking, Day 1

Friday, March 7, 2014
10:00am – 5:00pm 
Ramin Parlor
Sage Hall, East Avenue, Ithaca, NY 14853, United States

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Event Details
Leading Innovation through Design Thinking, Day 1
Ever notice how everyone is talking about "innovation," but not sure how you actually learn to innovate? Differentiate yourself by learning DESIGN THINKING through this one-of-a-kind LSP. 
This hands-on workshop will prepare you with the tools to lead innovation, and become an innovator in your career. No matter what field you are choosing to pursue, the Human-Center Design methodology, known as Design Thinking—taught at the Stanford D-School and coined by well-known design consultancy IDEO—can serve as a valuable approach to both problem solving and ideation. 

“Design and leadership are fundamentally about actively creating the future rather than reacting to the present.” --Leadership Lab, Banff Centre

This workshop was an absolute blockbuster this past fall, and ended up being featured on IDEO's website--read all about it here.  For more information on the application and uses of Design Thinking, view this recent clip from 60 Minutes.

About the Workshop
Students will work in teams on a real challenge while learning to apply the processes of Design Thinking. 

Design Thinking Cycle: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype, and Test

Through this challenge, students will learn: 

  • Ethnographic techniques for understanding needs and desires 
    • How to develop powerful questions, the best approach and process of successful inquiry, how to conduct interviews
  • How to build a design vision 
    • Method for applying your ethnographic findings into a problem statement and  vision
    • How to get the most out of your brainstorming session, how to create a forum for creativity and innovative thinking, how to foster ideation in your teams
    • How to visually represent your idea, how to communicate your ideas to others
    • How to gather constructive feedback on your prototype, how to iterate, and how to refine your ideas to meet consumer/user feedback
  • Effective brainstorming techniques 
  • Rapid prototyping 
  • Methods for testing prototypes 

What Johnson Students and Alumni are Saying About This Workshop

"Design Thinking is the perfect compliment to the analytical problem solving skills taught in the MBA program. Challenging you to look at methods of problem solving in a new way, this course encourages students to take a deep dive into thinking creatively, and to pushing the barriers on developing innovative solutions. Hands-on experiential learning allows students to directly apply lessons, respond and adapt to feedback, and understand the method for iterating on ideas. Design Thinking is an invaluable skill that can be applied to any job and profession."  

“Championed most notably by Apple and IDEO, design thinking is ‘the next big thing’ in product development, startups, and strategic change. Knowing how to see the world through the eyes of your customers and lead teams to think creatively are important skills crucial to innovation. The ‘Leading Innovation through Design Thinking’ LSP is a must-go workshop for entrepreneurs and innovators at Johnson.” 

"Design Thinking was easily one of the most enjoyable and useful classes I have had the pleasure of taking while at Johnson. Tracy and Sirietta's approach to teaching creative thinking turns even the most analytical, 'type A' MBA into a creative-design prototyping machine. I highly recommend participating in this LSP."  

"Take off your suit and pick up some crayons! You will learn to fail early and often with Tracy and Sirietta--two playful and insightful instructors who teach IDEO-style innovation. This should not be missed." 

Eligibility Requirements
You must enroll in--and commit to--attending BOTH days of this workshop in order to participate. Cancellations after 7 days prior to the workshop will not be permitted. Please sign up for day two here.

About the Instructors

Tracy Brandenburg is an anthropologist and design thinking enthusiast. She received her doctorate at Purdue University and her design thinking training at the Hasso-Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University ( She has worked as a design thinking coach at the and has conducted workshops with many organizations including jetBlue, The Gap, Target, Arup, Cisco, Hyatt, and the World Bank. She is most proud of her current position, which is teaching the art of innovation in the Systems Engineering program at Cornell University. She is thrilled to educate the innovators of the future so that they may design a better world.

Sirietta Simoncini holds a Master of Architecture degree from the University Institute of Architecture of Venice (Italy) and worked for several years as chief architect of a city in the north of Italy. She is the co-founder of InTAdesign, an architectural firm active in both Italy and the U.S., and in addition to practicing   architecture she has worked as an art and film curator for many cultural institutions. Sirietta has worked as a design thinking coach at the Stanford and has facilitated workshops at McGill and Yale Universities and at organizations such as jetBlue, Target, and the World Bank. She believes in cross-collaboration, a hands-on approach, and the importance of fostering T-shaped skills.

Tracy and Sirietta currently co-teach the art of innovation in the Systems Engineering program at Cornell. In their classes graduate students from different Cornell colleges, institutes, and schools come together to design and build solutions for complex challenges with actual sponsors such as jetBlue.

Graduation Credit
All Johnson students are eligible to use up to 1.5 credit hours from Leadership Skills Program and/or Managerial Skills Program workshops toward the MBA degree credit-hour requirements. This workshop will be worth 0.3 LSP credits, but students MUST attend both days in full to receive any credit and to be eligible to participate.

Where & When

Ramin Parlor, Sage Hall, East Avenue, Ithaca, NY 14853, United States

Friday, March 7, 2014, 10:00am – 5:00pm

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