Step inside your customers’ heads. Then blow their minds.

What is design thinking? And how might you apply it to your work? How can you use human-centered design to be strategically creative and find better answers, faster?

By using this creative problem-solving approach that is focused on empathy, you can more quickly and easily understand the needs and wants of your users and customers. Through design thinking, you’ll learn to practice divergent and convergent thinking, “fail fast”, and iterate your ideas to find more effective solutions before you spend too much time and money.

Because design thinking brings a human-centered perspective to your work, you’ll be able to focus on the people you’re creating with/alongside: students, customers, faculty or other stakeholders. By starting with the end-user in mind and meaningfully engaging with them throughout your process, you’ll reduce your risk and ultimately create better and more usable products, services and outcomes.

Liz Chen, PhD, assistant professor at the Gilling School of Global Public Health and Innovate Carolina design thinking lead, shares why and how this creative problem-solving method works.


Explore our design thinking services

Innovate Carolina offers in-house expertise and consultation in design thinking based on the world-renown IDEO method. Our team works with UNC faculty, staff and students – as well as external organizations – to integrate this methodology into your research, teaching and practice. Whether you’re creating new technologies, research initiatives, curricular approaches – or even launching a new venture or program – our resident design thinking team can co-create and facilitate design thinking learning experiences for you or your team to apply to your projects.

You can sign up for design thinking services beginning in March 2021.

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One-on-one office hours
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Strategy consults
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Group workshops


Services available for non-UNC organizations

In addition to the no-cost services we provide to faculty, students and staff at UNC-Chapel Hill, our team also provides a suite patent landscaping and market research services to organizations outside the University on a fee-per-service basis. Based on the invention Information provided by client, our team will provide an analytical report describing the strategic patent landscape of an invention and overview of the relevant market opportunity landscape. We examine one invention per request. One invention may include multiple source documents but will focus on a finite innovation area. You can sign up for design thinking services beginning in March 2021.

We work with businesses, governments, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and other organizations to build capacity in design thinking methods and mindsets. Our prices vary depending on the complexity of a workshop or accelerator and the time required to prepare and deliver the sessions. Prices are also based on the length and format of the engagement.

Workshops

We conduct onsite trainings for private groups at their location. Workshops are priced per group, not per person. Prices do not include facilities, catering or travel. Half-day and full-day workshops provide an overview of design thinking (both methods and mindsets) or focus on one specific phase of the design thinking process (inspiration, ideation or implementation). We tailor content to meet your organization’s specific needs.

Accelerators

The three-day accelerator is co-planned with your organization and offers an immersive, guided experience to solve a specific issue relevant to workshop participants. This can be done in three consecutive days or spread over a longer period of time. Content builds a solid understanding and skills in each of the three design thinking phases (inspiration, ideation, implementation).

As a client, after our design thinking sessions, you’ll have the ability to: 

  • Describe the design thinking process, tools and mindsets.
  • Apply the design thinking process, tools and mindsets to address relevant and pressing issues at your organization.
  • Identify elements of the workplace environment (physical and cultural) that facilitate or hinder creative collaborations.

We work with businesses, governments, educational institutions, nonprofit organizations and other organizations to build capacity in design thinking methods and mindsets. Our prices vary depending on the complexity of a workshop and the time required to prepare and deliver a workshop. Prices are also based on the length and format of the engagement.

We conduct onsite trainings for private groups at their location. Workshops are priced per group, not per person. Prices do not include facilities, catering or travel. Half-day and full-day workshops provide an overview of design thinking (both methods and mindsets) or focus on one specific phase of the design thinking process (inspiration, ideation or implementation). We tailor content to meet your organization’s specific needs.

The three-day accelerator is co-planned with your organization and offers an immersive, guided experience to solve a specific issue relevant to workshop participants. This can be done in three consecutive days or spread over a longer period of time. Content builds a solid understanding and skills in each of the three design thinking phases (inspiration, ideation, implementation).

As a client, after the workshop you’ll have the ability to: 

  • Describe the design thinking process, tools and mindsets.
  • Apply the design thinking process, tools and mindsets to address relevant and pressing issues at your organization.
  • Identify elements of the workplace environment (physical and cultural) that facilitate or hinder creative collaborations.

Prices for our services are shown below. For a description of each type of service, please refer to the “Non-UNC Service Offerings” section.

Up to six participants

  • Half-day workshop: $2,000
  • Full-day workshop: $3,250
  • Three-day accelerator: $8,250

Up to 12 participants

  • Half-day workshop: $2,750
  • Full-day workshop: $4,000
  • Three-day accelerator: $8,250

Up to 18 participants

  • Half-day workshop: $3,625
  • Full-day workshop: $5,000
  • Three-day accelerator: $10,500

Up to 18 participants

  • Half-day workshop: $4,375
  • Full-day workshop: $5,750
  • Three-day accelerator: $11,250


Connect with our team

Our design thinking team is ready to help you apply a human-centered approach to your teaching, research and practice.

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Liz Chen

Assistant Professor, Gillings School of Global Health; Design Thinking Lead, Innovate Carolina