Design thinking is a “human-centered” approach to problem-solving that starts with empathy, or putting yourself in the customers’ shoes to understand their problems and uncover new or unexpected solutions. And its successful use in companies such as Apple, Samsung and Nike has encouraged business schools to add new design thinking courses to their portfolios of executive education programs including RSM. “Design thinking is actually not so much about thinking but rather about doing,” says Dirk Deichmann, associate professor at RSM. “The best way to teach and learn design thinking is by adopting a learning-by-doing approach.”

Accordingly, the Rotterdam school has integrated many small exercises and templates into its design thinking course that executives can try out in real-time in their organization. Over six weeks, the executives learn how to embrace a radically different approach to developing new products and services. “Companies increasingly realize that successful innovation cannot be accomplished from behind a desk in a comfortable office,” says Deichmann, who directs the program. “You need to reach out and empathize with potential customers to learn about their challenges or latent needs.”


  • Dirk Deichmann
    Role: Faculty
    Reference type: Quoted

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