Course Description

Ever wonder how great ideas turn into innovative solutions people, organizations or communities want to adopt? In today's highly dynamic workplaces, innovation has become not only a priority, but a driving force in the pursuit of financial returns, competitive edge and social impact / social good. Moreover, employers such as Pixar, AirBnb, the Government of Canada and the United Nations, to name a few, have identified the ability to promote innovation and engage in creative practices as essential competencies for their employees and future leaders. Many of these organizations adopt an approach to innovative problem solving called Design Thinking. Design Thinking’s mindset, process and rich collection of methods emphasize the importance of keeping an understanding of people and communities at the core of problem-solving efforts. A design thinking exercise offers the promise of producing ideas and solutions that are desirable for the user (of a product or service), customer or community.

This course will explore what we mean when use the word innovation and its relevance to today’s organizations and workforce. We will devote some time to understanding barriers to creativity, the impact of these barriers to innovative pursuits and how they might be overcome. Finally, we will take an in-depth look at Design Thinking – its foundations, methods, and challenges with execution. This course combines theory and application. It provides students with a hands-on practical learning experience in which they will experiment with how design thinking can be used to develop solutions to real-world problems.

Course Outline

This course is held 100% online. When connecting to online resources from outside of Canada, students are responsible for ensuring that they are aware of and observing any applicable laws of the country they are connecting from. To support your online learning efforts, I encourage you to consult https://www.dal.ca/academics/online_learning.html as a resource.

What You Will Learn

By the end of the course, the student should be able to:

  • Understand theoretical underpinnings of “Innovation” and the prevalent critiques of the concept in contemporary literature and society
  • Understand the drivers for innovation in contemporary organizations and how the opportunities for / mechanisms of innovation manifest differently in different kinds of organizations
  • Understand the circumstances in which design thinking might be an effective approach to problem solving.
  • Understand the role of the individual (mindset, perspectives, outlook, creative confidence) in the pursuit of innovation
  • Apply the design thinking process and associated methods to a real-world challenge.
  • Identify when and how to apply individual design thinking methods to problem-solving or opportunity-seeking efforts.


We will have one synchronous session (a time when we meet virtually online) later in the semester. This session will be used to participate in an online Design Thinking Simulation. The session will be 2.5-3 hours in length. The instructor will offer students a choice of timeslots that take into consideration the fact that the class is spread around the world. I will know more about these details later in the semester and announce these on Brightspace.


As noted in the academic timetable, weekly course content (i.e., lectures) are asynchronous in nature. This means that lectures (in the forms of videos) and other weekly learning activities have been prepared in advance, loaded to Brightspace and are available for students to access independently of a set weekly class time.

Assignments will have due dates, and The Faculty of OLCD recommends an intermediate level of English language proficiency for the most effective learning and participation in our online and face-to-face courses. A list of minimum recommended scores on some common English tests can be found on our website. If you have questions about your English language proficiency and ability to succeed in this course, please contact openlearning@dal.ca.e their assignments on time. Assignment due dates will be posted on the Brightspace page at the beginning of the course.



There are no prerequisites for the course.
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Section Title
Innovation: An Introduction to Design Thinking
Online - Asynchronous
Sep 06, 2022 to Dec 07, 2022
Total Learning Hours
Instruction Delivery Method(s)
Course Fee(s)
Tuition credit $864.90
Available for Credit
3.3 units
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