MBAD669-19X (C) General non-calendar-based 2019

Design Thinking

10 points
08 Apr 2019 - 02 Jun 2019


The course encourages students to challenge traditional problem solving models and established ways of thinking to better understand stakeholders, reflect on real opportunities, test a number of potential solutions and be able to select the best ones. The purpose of Design Thinking is to enable students to become more effective at solving real world problems with better and faster results that are relevant in dynamic environments. The course uses evidence-based best practices and tools to approach and resolve multi-faceted problems and opportunities in organizations.

Design Thinking is a people centric, collaborative, optimistic and experimental way of working to solve complex problems. It is a pragmatic approach that aims to nurture deep curiosity about an issue, unleash creativity in how to approach it, and ensure clarity when it comes to implementing a solution.

In these sessions we introduce a process that can be used to approach problems with this new perspective. We work with a lot of new tools and techniques that will help teams collaborate in more creative ways. And we apply these to some live business/organisational issues to show how this method can be practically applied.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of this course, students should be able to:

1.  Describe the principles that underpin design thinking (discovering, understanding, creating, testing, resourcing and implementing) and apply this methodology to real problems where students identify innovative and effective solutions to:

 a)  Develop a deep understanding of customer’s needs and wants
 b)  Identify and define and frame the problem as opportunity
 c)  Create and evaluate novel solutions through rapid prototyping
 d)  Synthesise market validation to further refine the solution

2.  Critically reflect and report on the design thinking process.


Subject to approval of the MBA Director

Timetable 2019

Students must attend one activity from each section.

Intensive Block Course A
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Friday 09:00 - 17:00 Rehua 702 8 Apr - 14 Apr
Intensive Block Course B
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Saturday 09:00 - 17:00 Rehua 702 8 Apr - 14 Apr
Intensive Block Course C
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Friday 09:00 - 17:00 Rehua 620 29 Apr - 5 May
Intensive Block Course D
Activity Day Time Location Weeks
01 Friday 09:00 - 17:00 Rehua 702 13 May - 19 May

Timetable Note

Days 1 & 2: 12 and 13 April

Day 3: 3 May

Day 4: 17 May

Course Coordinator

Christian Walsh

Dr Christian Walsh,
Office: Law 501
Phone: +64 3 369 4781

Project coaches:
Dorenda Britten
John Hattrick-Smith


Students will be required to complete three pieces of work, attend lectures and participate in class.

1  : Critical Analysis (2000 word max)  --  25%  --  9am 3rd May
2a: Team Project Presentation (10min+ 5 Q&A)  --  15%  --  2pm 17th May
2b: Team Project Report (5000 word max)  --  35%  --  9am 27th May
3  : Reflective journal (12 entry minimum)  --  25%  --  9am 27th May


NOTE: UC General Course and Examination Regulations

Appeals and Grievances

Special Consideration

Special Consideration Application


Required Readings:

•  Kelly T, Kelly D. Creative Confidence. William Collins 2014:


•  Kolko J. 2015. Design Thinking Comes of Age, Harvard Business Review, Sept
•  Liedtka J. 2015. Linking Design Thinking with Innovation Outcomes through Cognitive Bias Reduction, Journal of Product Innovation Management;32(6):925–938
•  Brown T. 2008. Design Thinking, Harvard Business Review, June
•  Liedtka J, King A and Bennett K. 2013. Design Thinking in Action. Rotman Management, Fall
•  Brown T, Wyatt J. 2010. Design Thinking for Social Innovation. Stanford Social Review.

Recommended books:

•  Luchs, Swan, Griffin, eds (2015) Design Thinking, John Wiley & Sons, e-book in Library
•  Brown, T. 2009. Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. New York: Harper-Collins.
•  Roger Martin, 2009, Opposable Mind, Winning Through Integrative Thinking, Harvard
•  Chip & Dan Heath, (2010), Switch, How to change when change is hard. London: Random House

Web resources:

•  IDEO:
•  Design Kit:
•  Stanford dSchool:

Course links


Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $1,567.00

* Fees include New Zealand GST and do not include any programme level discount or additional course related expenses.

For further information see Executive Development Programme on the department and colleges page.