Understanding and assessing sustainability perspectives is smart business. Engaging with sustainability issues begins with asking the right questions and achieving a better understanding of the issues from multiple viewpoints to assess the linked social and environmental impacts. The structure of design thinking offers an iterative process that captures people’s insights to inform the design criteria that inspire ideas for feasible solutions. The process examine and probe assumptions about what’s critical for those solutions to successfully address people’s needs and further develop viable innovations. This series provides foundational knowledge on how to utilize the design thinking methodology for reframing problems and generating ideas for solving contextual challenges (in municipalities, communities, organizations) while assessing key sustainability considerations.

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Early Registration: $3,199.00 / Regular: $3,399.00


  • Course 1: Intro to Sustainability Principles - March 4 & 5, 2021
  • Course 2: Intro to Design Thinking - March 12 & 13, 2021
  • Course 3: Applying Design Thinking: Key Considerations for Sustainability Initiatives - April 1 & 2, 2021

Modality: Live, Virtual


After completing this certificate program, you will be able to:

  • Understand how design thinking strategies and tools could be utilized for crafting potential solutions to authentic problems that your organization is facing.
  • Understand the foundational concepts of sustainability, analyze contemporary sustainability issues, and conceptualizing sustainability as a future oriented endeavor.
  • Explore how the design thinking methodology could be used for creating solutions that advance organizational sustainability initiatives and goals as well as global efforts for sustainable development.

Course 1: Introduction to Sustainability Principles
Date and Length: March 4-5, 2021; 2 consecutive days

Description: Solving sustainability issues demands foundational understanding of the key concepts that are at play whenever businesses, organizations, and communities engage in activities that impact our communities. This introductory course explores these key concepts and the frameworks and tools that inform effective decision-making in promoting social, economic, and environmental wellbeing.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand the foundational concepts of sustainability
  • Consider the complexities and ethical considerations of instituting sustainability
  • Analyze contemporary sustainability issues using both metrics and the case study approach

Course Leaders

Course 2: Introduction to Design Thinking
Date and Length: March 12-13, 2021; 2 consecutive days

Description: This introductory course guides participants through the design thinking process as a way for creating and/or improving solutions. Through the design thinking iterative process, knowledge is acquired and reframed in ways that help redefine core issues in an attempt to identify relevant and innovative solutions.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand each phase of the design thinking process
  • Understand the design thinking methodology by engaging in a design sprint inspired by sustainable development goals

Course Leader: Dr. Julie Schell, Assistant Dean for Instructional Continuity and Innovation

Course 3: Applying Design Thinking: Key Considerations for Sustainability Initiatives
Date and Length: April 1-2, 2021; 2 consecutive days

Description: This course provides an opportunity for participants to further explore the application of design thinking when creating prototypical solutions for organizational challenges while assessing economic, social, and environmental considerations.

Learning Outcomes:

  • Learn how to leverage opportunities for margin growth while considering social, economic, and environmental impacts
  • Understand how to engage communities for de-risking your sustainable development projects and democratizing product dissemination

Course Leader: Jared Huke, Lecturer in the Center for Integrated Design

a wall covered in color-coded sticky notes from a design workshop with SDCTx

Who should participate? Senior/Executive Leadership, Team Leaders & Supervisors, Managers and Directors, and Project Managersworking in the business, nonprofit, government, education, and/or military sectors. However, professionals at all levels of experience in any sector or industry are welcome to participate. There are no prerequisites for enrolling.

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