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Design Thinking for Business Innovation

Come with A Problem – Leave with A Solution
Boost Your Business Potential with Design Thinking

Design Thinking is an approach to innovation that is driven by deep user understanding, early prototyping, and iterative testing of the potential solutions. It is a practical methodology and process that guides the development of new, innovative products and services, processes, business models, and strategies.

For corporate leaders and managers, the Design Thinking for Business Innovation program from Aalto University Executive Education and ESADE Business School will take you on a seven-day deep dive into its practical and actionable methodology and show you how to make it work. 

You will learn the central methods and concepts of Design Thinking, and practice using Design Thinking first-hand through a real innovation challenge that you bring with you from your own organization.

By the end of the program, you will be able to identify opportunities for innovation through user research, develop innovative ideas, turn the ideas into early prototypes, and test them with users for feedback. Finally, you will learn how to practically apply Design Thinking to business models and how to implement it in your organization.

Why Design Thinking?

In the times of affluence and complex challenges, a solely analytical approach to innovating can no longer bring competitive advantage. The Design Thinking process, which is also the methodology behind Service Design (Palvelumuotoilu in Finnish), combines and mixes analytical and creative phases for solving business challenges in a practical way. It helps you to enhance creativity and your organization´s capability to innovate. Design Thinking combined with business innovation methodology forms a powerful and actionable approach to innovation.

It is vital to leverage deep customer understanding to be able to cater to the ever-growing, varying demands of customers and users.  Design Thinking methods guide toward rethinking and reframing the challenges and acquiring new insights for idea development. The new concepts are prototyped and get validated by your customer. The Design Thinking / Service Design process and methodology can be applied to developing new, innovative products and services, processes, business models, and strategies.

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Reframe your company’s challenges and transform them into business opportunities

Create solutions based on true customer understanding

Fast-track development by testing and validating your concepts


This program is for corporate leaders responsible for strategy, marketing, sales or innovation, as well as senior executives and managers who want to integrate cutting-edge creative practices into their business processes and corporate structures.

Previous participants have been leaders of business development, marketing, sales, innovation, customer relations, employee experience, and general management from Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas.



By attending the program, you will gain a toolkit of new skills, ready to drive innovation and create value for your business and customers.

Gain customer understanding and insight to meet real customer needs
Quickly develop, prototype and validate concepts
Quantify value propositions and increase the effectiveness of your sales pitches
Drive business model design and maximize value creation and value capture
Conceive and execute agile strategies that link innovation to growth
Generate and implement cross-company innovation – on all levels

Contents and Schedule

The Design Thinking for Business Innovation program will be held in Helsinki, Finland and Barcelona, Spain during an intensive study period on May 22-30, 2019.

The program starts with an online module two weeks prior to the event days. This virtual kick-off will get you started with the program content as well as with the project assignment you will be working on during the program. The kick-off module is an integral part of the program and will require about one working hour per week during the two weeks.

The seven program days in Helsinki and Barcelona include different kinds of sessions and activities such as

  • interactive lectures and discussions with experienced faculty members that are top experts in their own special field
  • learning by doing: applying step by step the design-driven innovation methods to a real-life business challenge that you bring from your organization 
  • learning from others: experienced business practitioners from different industries or branches will present how design thinking is used in their organizations


Key Instructors

Mikko Koria

Mikko Koria is Professor of Design Innovation and Director of the Institute for Design Innovation in Loughborough University London, and Visiting Professor at Aalto University.

Dr. Koria has a career that spans over twenty-five years of professional management, practice and research in the private, public and the third sectors. In the last years, Mikko has directed his efforts to the field of innovation and related capability management, design and management research and international development projects. He has done research, lectured and taught widely in the fields of design, culture and business studies at various universities and faculties in Finland, China, Japan, Brazil and the UK.

Lotta Hassi

Lotta Hassi is a lecturer of innovation in the department of Operations, Innovation and Data Sciences at ESADE Business School.

She has over 10 years of experience working in the fields of innovation and design, as an entrepreneur, consultant, researcher and lecturer. At ESADE she works in several multidisciplinary innovation projects that bring together research centers, companies, and universities from different disciplines.

Luis Vives

Luis Vives is the Associate Dean of the ESADE MBA, Director of the Multinational MBA and Associate Professor of Strategy and General Management at ESADE Business School.

His research focuses on the creation and development of innovative business models.

Tua Björklund

Dr. Tua Björklund is Professor of Practice at the Aalto University and one of the founders of Aalto Design Factory, a multidisciplinary experimentation platform in Aalto University and 24 institutions abroad.

Her research has focused on design expertise and advancing new ideas in organizations, both at Aalto University and at the Center for Design Research at Stanford University. She has a comprehensive, human-centered view on what innovation efforts actually need in order to succeed in organizations.

Dr. Björklund currently leads the development of research activities in the Design Factory Global Network and manages four research projects investigating design thinking in Finland and in Silicon Valley.

Miko Laakso

Miko Laakso is Design Thinking Manager at DNA and PhD Student in Technology at Aalto University.

Laakso has over a decade of experience in facilitating, researching and conducting creative development work and helping organizations in different fields to develop their working practices. He has taken part in developing the Design Factory concept since its early years. He has worked in and managed several local and international research and development projects.

He is also a Founding Partner at Riihi Consulting Oy where he makes the most of design methods and distinctive ways of working in a variety of development contexts. Laakso has previously worked as a product designer developing award-winning products.



Núria Solsona

Núria Solsona is a Service Design Consultant, Academic Collaborator at ESADE Business School, and Professor of
Practice at Aalto University.

José Manuel Perez

José Manuel Perez is the CEO of Product Lab, and Academic Collaborator at ESADE Business School.

Program Fee and Registration

Program Fee

The fee for the Design Thinking for Business Innovation program is € 7,200 (+ VAT).

The program fee for Aalto EE and ESADE alumni is
€ 6,500 (+ VAT).

The program fee includes learning materials, lunches, and coffee breaks during the program days. The fee does not include travel expenses or accommodation. VAT is applicable to private persons and Finnish companies.


Register for the program by April 22, 2019.


Program start