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This practical and engaging online Executive Masterclass led by Professor Jeremy Myerson, the RCA’s Helen Hamlyn Chair of Design, will give you the opportunity to explore the emergent role of design within the landscape of innovation, the key players in design-led innovation teams, how to combine convergent and divergent thinking, the real world versus the world of ideas, the power of visualisation and ways to scale up your design concept.

You will explore the principles of design thinking in an interactive online environment, working through a series of exercises and cases in teams to apply new knowledge and tools to address real-world innovation projects.

Dates: 18, 19, 22 & 23 March 2021

Duration: 4 live sessions 9am – 12pm GMT on each day

Mode: Online (interactive)

Fee: £900

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Course overview

This practical and engaging online Executive Masterclass led by Professor Jeremy Myerson, the RCA’s Helen Hamlyn Chair of Design, will take participants through six main phases of design thinking: 

  • Discover
  • Define
  • Design
  • Develop
  • Deliver
  • Diffuse/Distribute

En route, you will:

  • explore the emergent role of design within the landscape of innovation
  • the key players in design-led innovation teams
  • how to combine convergent and divergent thinking
  • the real world versus the world of ideas; the power of visualisation
  • ways to scale up your design concept.

Using case studies and innovation stories that draw from current exhibitions and the permanent collection at the Design Museum, the masterclass will explore the curatorial context and provide a rich and stimulating mixture of new ideas and practical tools. At the core of the masterclass is the opportunity to work as part of a creative team on a real-world project that you bring to the session. Each team will have a tutor and online tools will support ethnographic, brainstorming, creative making and concept evaluation exercises. Whatever business sector you are in, or level of design interest or expertise, this course will equip you with a robust model to apply design thinking in your own working life.  

The RCA approach to Design Thinking & Innovation

The Royal College of Art views Design Thinking as a form of people-centred innovation. Design solutions therefore derive from reframing problems from the perspective of the citizen or the customer, not the producer or service provider. The process is not scientifically neutral – it involves showing empathy and engagement with people’s lived experience. It also means resolving the contradictions between the real world of barriers and constraints and the abstract world of imagination and creative ideas. This masterclass will provide the tools and frameworks to bridge this divide.  

Personal and organisational benefits

The benefits to you and your organisation include:

  • thorough understanding of design thinking as applied across a range of business and organisational challenges
  • a new model to reframe innovation projects through a design lens
  • experience of working collaboratively
  • access to global practice in design thinking
  • critical, creative and insightful thinking
  • ideation and visualisation skills to realise design innovations
  • empathic understanding of users / customers
  • interact and network with peers from different backgrounds and functions


What will I learn?

You will learn:

  • an introduction to design thinking – theoretical principles and practical building blocks
  • real-world applications of design thinking and its outcomes
  • strategies for improving decision making by reframing innovation challenges in a people-centred way
  • ways to work effectively in team
  • global best practice in how other organisations have used design thinking

How will I learn?

Learning takes place in larger all-participant groups and in smaller team sessions with five participants per team. There are four online sessions – each three hours in duration. 

These sessions include a mix of: 

  • three keynote lectures, e.g. ‘How I Think’ by a leading designer
  • a series of practical exercises
  • six ‘sprints’ through the six stages of the Design Thinking model
  • team creative workshops 
  • a final crit of project presentations by a panel. 


Participants will come away from this course with:   

  • creative confidence to work in a team on design-led innovation 
  • a clear understanding of the different stages of the design thinking model
  • practical experience of applying the principles of design thinking on a project relevant to you
  • a reinvigorated sense of what can be achieved when taking a people-centred approach


Who should attend? 

Anyone interested in transforming their organisation through the application of design thinking for innovation, including:

  • in-house R&D teams across all sectors
  • public-sector and third-sector business innovation teams
  • innovation directors
  • senior business managers
  • sales and marketing teams
  • policy makers
  • entrepreneurs

Programme team

Professor Jeremy Myerson is the Helen Hamlyn Chair of Design at the Royal College of Art, with a remit to encourage ‘design that improves quality of life’. An academic, author and activist in design for more than 40 years, he began his working life as a journalist and was founder-editor of Design Week in 1986. He co-founded the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design at the RCA in 1999, and his research interests focus on the role of design in social, demographic and technological change. He was director of the Helen Hamlyn Centre for Design from 1999 to October 2015.

A graduate of the RCA, Jeremy Myerson is the author of many books, chapters, papers and articles on inclusive design and design thinking. He is also director of WORKTECH Academy, a Visiting Professorial Fellow at the Oxford Institute for Population Ageing, Oxford University, and he sits on the advisory boards of design institutes in Hong Kong, Switzerland and Korea. 

In 2017, Jeremy Myerson curated the Design Museum’s inaugural exhibition in Kensington, NEW OLD: Designing for Our Future Selves, exploring the potential for design to enhance the experience of later life. Featuring work by RCA alumni, including Konstantin Grcic, Sam Hecht, Jane Ní Dhulchaointigh and Priestman Goode, the exhibition looked at how innovative design can help people lead fuller, healthier, more rewarding lives into old age – and asked whether designers are ready to meet the future challenges of an ageing society. In February to March 2020 the exhibition travelled to New York's Pratt Manhattan Gallery

For more information, visit: www.rca.ac.uk/new-old

Watch Professor Jeremy Myerson speaking about the RCA Design Thinking and Innovation course.

About the Design Museum

The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum devoted to architecture and design, encompassing all elements of design, including fashion, product and graphic design. Since opening its doors in 1989, the museum has displayed everything from an AK-47 to high heels designed by Christian Louboutin. It has staged over 100 exhibitions, welcomed over 5 million visitors and showcased the work of some of the world’s most celebrated designers and architects including Paul Smith, Zaha Hadid, David Adjaye, Jony Ive, Miuccia Prada, Frank Gehry, Eileen Gray, Kenneth Grange, Jonathan Barnbrook and Dieter Rams. On 24 November 2016, The Design Museum relocated to Kensington, west London, where leading architectural designer John Pawson converted the interior of a 1960s Modernist building to create a new home for the museum.


Disclaimer: The information given is accurate at the time of publication, however, the RCA reserves the right to amend the described courses as circumstances dictate.