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Design Thinking for Business Innovation Online

Boost Your Innovation Actions with Design Thinking 

This online program is based on our unique longtime program, Design Thinking for Business Innovation. It is crafted to enable you to acquire the understanding and tools of Design Thinking despite the challenging times of social distancing.

Design Thinking is an approach to innovation 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.

The online program will give you a fast track to understanding and testing its practical and actionable methodology and show you how to make it work.

You will learn the focal concepts and methods of Design Thinking and practice on your own using the methodology first-hand on a real innovation challenge from your organization.

Why Design Thinking?

In times of affluence and complex challenges, a solely analytical approach to innovating can no longer bring a 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 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.

Check the F2F Program

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 and senior executives and managers who want to integrate cutting-edge creative practices into their business processes and corporate structures.

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


This online program gives you a chance to immerse yourself into the topic fast and mostly at your own pace. You will meet and discuss with top experts in their field and an international group of peers. By attending the online program, you will gain a toolkit of new skills, ready to drive innovation and create value for your business and customers.

Acquire a set of proven design tools to develop insights, creative thinking, ideation and prototyping in a practical workbook
Improve your skills to add value through customer understanding and interaction
Develop skills for innovating in business models: from value creation to value capture and growth
Acquire skills to better lead unique and winning innovation projects
Increase your organization’s innovation capabilities with novel, effective approaches and methods
Apply step by step the design-driven innovation methods to a real-life business challenge that you bring from your organization

Contents and Schedule

The Design Thinking for Business Innovation Online program will run June 2–9, 2021. The program is designed to be a one-week intensive learning experience regarding time commitment. However, it offers you some flexibility to plan your schedule as it consists of self-paced and instructor-led studies. The self-paced study starts during the pre-program module in May.

The instructor-led studies include lectures and group coaching around your business challenge with the help of a workbook. The self-paced studies include video lectures, optional literature, and advancing your business challenge. In the Open Café Workspace, you will share with your peers the lessons learned. Design Talks bring you industry speakers to tell about how they are applying design thinking in practice.

Program structure


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.

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 and one of the founders of Aalto Design Factory, a multidisciplinary experimentation platform in Aalto University and 29 institutions abroad. Her research focuses on design expertise and advancing new ideas in organizations, building on her experience at Aalto University and at the Center for Design Research at Stanford University.

Tua Björklund has a comprehensive, human-centered view on what innovation efforts actually need in order to succeed in organizations. She teaches design thinking and innovation practices in three schools of Aalto University, as well at e.g. Aalto EE and Stanford Executive Education. Currently she leads the development of research activities in the Design Factory Global Network and manages several research projects investigating design thinking in Finland and in Silicon Valley. She is experienced in supervising design thinking development initiatives for companies in practice.

Tua Björklund holds a DSc degree in industrial engineering and management from Aalto University and a MA degree in cognitive science from the University of Helsinki.

Núria Solsona

Nuria Solsona is the Academic Director of the Program Design Thinking for Business Innovation at Esade in Barcelona. In addition to that, she is an Adjunct Professor in Service Design at Aalto University.

She has 6,5 years of experience designing services and developing businesses at the world-famous design consultancy Livework. As a project lead, she was responsible for managing international projects for leading public and private organizations in a wide range of sectors including clients from BBC, Telefonica, Orange, Barclays, London Underground, or the Thailand government.

Solsona has experienced different levels of service consultancy, from customer strategy, service vision, service proposition, and service implementation as well as defining digital strategies and adoption of new online and mobile services such as mobile payments applications.

She combines a creative perspective with a management approach garnered by studying for an MA in Innovation Management at Central Saint Martins in London, UK, which built on her background in design. She brings a deep understanding of user needs by applying service design methods and customer-oriented frameworks allowing clients and customers to co-create services both from the perspective of the corporation and from the user value perspective.

Solsona has also participated in a variety of projects embedding the service design approach. Her ability to understand organizations' challenges has empowered internal teams to improve their services every day. She is currently based in Barcelona, working as an independent service design consultant.

Risto Sarvas

Risto Sarvas is Professor of Practice and Head of the Information Networks program at Aalto University. Risto has a colourful history overlapping design, business, technology, and society.

The common denominator between these three roles is his endless enthusiasm to figure out how technology and society are intertwined: as a culture, in politics, in business, as well as in everyday life.

His research, teaching, and service design work have received several awards and much popularity.

Risto Sarvas holds a doctorate from Helsinki University of Technology in Media Technology.

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