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DSN 104 W — Design for Action: Applying Design Thinking in Organizations

Quarter: Fall
Course Format: Online (System Requirements)
Duration: 8 weeks
Date(s): Sep 24—Nov 16
Drop Deadline: Sep 27
Unit: 1
Tuition: $510
Instructor(s): Laura Pickel, Alex Scully
Limit: 45
Status: Closed
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 9/27 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 10/2 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Sep 24—Nov 16
8 weeks
Drop By
Sep 27
1 Unit
Laura Pickel, Alex Scully
Please Note: Online courses have a new refund policy. The full tuition refund deadline for this course is 9/27 at 5:00 pm (PT); 50% tuition refund deadline is 10/2 at 5:00 pm (PT).
Knowing the definition of design thinking, how it relates to creativity, and how it’s supposed to trigger and sustain change is rarely enough to implement true organizational transformation. Too many organizations, from the team level on up, are stuck in a stagnant culture. To truly leverage the possibilities and promise of design thinking, you need to understand how design thinking looks and feels in the real world, in real team settings. In this course, you will learn the design thinking process by working with an interdisciplinary team (or on your own) to explore and develop solutions for common organizational challenges. With your team as your focus, you will learn to identify barriers that organizations face when they transition to a human-centered design thinking culture. By embracing ambiguity and the design process you will identify user needs, create solutions that fit your organization’s culture, and learn how to effectively empower employees’ creative confidence. Come to class ready to unpack the challenges of creative teams, connect with thought leaders, and, most importantly, learn how to effectively apply design thinking within your organization.


  • Course sizes are limited.
    You won't have 5,000 classmates. This course's enrollment is capped at 45 participants.

  • Frequent interaction with the instructor.
    You aren't expected to work through the material alone. Instructors will answer questions and interact with students on the discussion board and through weekly video meetings.

  • Study with a vibrant peer group.
    Stanford Continuing Studies courses attract thoughtful and engaged students who take courses for the love of learning. Students in each course will exchange ideas with one another through easy-to-use message boards as well as optional weekly real-time video conferences.

  • Direct feedback from the instructor.
    Instructors will review and offer feedback on assignment submissions. Students are not required to turn in assignments, but for those who do, their work is graded by the instructor.

  • Courses offer the flexibility to participate on your own schedule.
    Course work is completed on a weekly basis when you have the time. You can log in and participate in the class whenever it's convenient for you. If you can’t attend the weekly video meetings, the sessions are always recorded for you and your instructor is just an email away.

  • This course is offered through Stanford Continuing Studies.
    To learn more about the program, visit our About Us page. For more information on the online format, please visit the FAQ page.

Laura Pickel, User Experience Designer, SAP; Lecturer, Stanford d.school

Laura Pickel focuses on the intersection of creative processes and business. She has experience in facilitating classes at the Stanford d.school, moderating IDEO U courses, and teaching at an experiential high school, CITYterm. Pickel received an MA in learning, design, and technology from Stanford.

Alex Scully, Global Design Thinking Leader; Entrepreneur; Lecturer, Stanford d.school

Alex Scully has taught a variety of organizational design courses at the d.school. She specializes in tackling challenges that center on interpersonal dynamics, business psychology, and the social complexities of behavioral economics. Scully received an MA in sociology from Stanford.

Textbooks for this course:

There are no required textbooks; however, some fee-based online readings may be assigned.