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At the d.school we believe that creativity exists in all people, including senior executives. We want to cultivate that potential, and fundamentally change the way people tackle challenges in their work and lives.

We currently offer four programs for executives: Design Thinking Bootcamp, Customer-Focused Innovation (in partnership with the Stanford Graduate School of Business), private 3-hour Innovation Workshops, and Innovation at Work online. All four programs are designed specifically for executives and taught by Stanford d.school faculty and coaches.

Design Thinking Bootcamp

During Bootcamp, executives will take part in an immersive, real-world project to learn the d.school’s human-centered, prototype-driven approach to innovation. 

You should apply to Bootcamp if...

You want to learn design thinking and actively apply it at your company. You have work you intend to tackle using our tools. You know how to get Sharpie off a whiteboard. 

The basics:

Offered in March, July and September each year

Multi-day program at Stanford with pre-work and post-program coaching to apply design thinking tools on a work project

Program consists of a combination of lecture and activities in small groups

Open-enrollment for individuals

Teams and duos encouraged to apply 

Taught in English

Apply to a Design Thinking Bootcamp

Enrollment Open for March, July, September 2019


“d.school is like riding a bike...except the bike is a skateboard...and the skateboard is made from 17,689 paperclips...and through the design thinking process and empathy journeys...your team creates magic for users.”

— Susan Newman, Director of Project Management at Decagon Devices, March 2016 Alum

Customer Focused Innovation (CFI)

Learn about cutting-edge social science frameworks and design thinking techniques in a unique partnership between the Stanford Graduate School of Business and d.school.

You should apply to CFI if...

You want to opportunity to flex both your business and your creative muscles. You are a C-level or senior executive who is leading and directing teams that are charged with planning and implementing innovation programs. You don't mind getting your hands dirty.

The basics:

Offered in October each year

Multi-day program at Stanford with pre-work and post-program coaching 

Program consists of a combination of lecture and activities in small groups

Open-enrollment for individuals

Teams and duos encouraged to apply 

Taught in English

Customer Focused Innovation

Enrollment Open for October 2018


Innovation Workshops

Our Innovation Workshop is a fast-paced, hands-on exposure to design thinking, and will disrupt how participants identify and tackle business challenges.

Over the course of 3 hours, workshop participants will learn how-to:

Frame business challenges by utilizing empathy tools, pinpointing meaningful insights and developing a user-centric perspective

Brainstorm concepts and rapidly prototype low-resolution solutions

Share rough and rapid prototypes to gather feedback and gain an even deeper understanding of their user

The basics:

Fee: Submit request for pricing

Program duration: 3 hours (duration cannot be modified)

Capacity: Private workshop for 40 or less (radical diversity encouraged)

Scheduling: After determining a date/time slot that works best for your group, the Executive Education team will check for d.school space and facilitator availability. There are no set times, although most prefer 9-12pm or 1-4pm and host lunch/dinner nearby.

Taught in English

Innovation Workshop

Please also use this form for other special requests.

Submit request

Innovation @ Work

More info

Executive Education Team

Team Members

Sarah Holcomb

Head of Brand & Experience Design, Executive Education

Perry Klebahn

Director, Executive Education

Kathryn Segovia

Head of Learning Experience Design, Executive Education

Jeremy Utley

Director, Executive Education

Got Questions?

Get Answers

General Program Questions

Q: Do you offer any programs internationally?

A: In 2016, we hosted our first international Bootcamp in Hong Kong. We do not have plans to host Bootcamp abroad currently, but we hope to do so again in the future.

Q: Are any of the programs available in different languages? Can I bring an interpreter?

A: As of now, we only offer our programs in English. Unfortunately, interpreters are not allowed, as much of our programs happen in small team settings and at a very fast conversational pace.

Q: What is required of me before attending a program? Is there pre-work or reading materials?

A: Each program we offer is unique and has its own requirements. For example, before Design Thinking Bootcamp, you will be given a pre-work experience that should take 4 hours. Please check program pages for more details. 

Q: How many executives are typically in a program?

A: Each program varies, but there are typically 60-80 participants. The Innovation Workshop is private, meaning the organization booking the workshop, can decide the number of participants with a max capacity of 40.

Q: What types of companies do participants come from? 

A: All kinds-- nonprofit and for-profit, big and small. We've seen participants from every continent (except Antarctica... maybe one day).

Q: Where on campus are the programs hosted?

A: We primarily host our programs at the d.school at Stanford, which is located at 550 Panama Mall. In some cases, such as with the Customer-Focused Innovation program, part of the program will take place at the d.school and another part at the Graduate School of Business, which is located at 655 Knight Way.

Facilitator/Special Request Questions

Q: Does the d.school offer custom programs for companies outside of Stanford?

A: Unfortunately, we rarely have the flexibility to travel and deliver custom programs off campus. But, if you'd like to submit your request, someone on our team will get back to you.

Q: What are other ways in which a company can collaborate with the d.school?

A: Some graduate student courses at the d.school collaborate with outside partner organizations. Specifically, a course called d.leadership collaborates with Bay Area companies looking to support a small team with design thinking coaches for 10 weeks (January-March of each year). To learn more, please contact dleadership@dschool.stanford.edu

Q: How can I meet with someone at the d.school to talk about opportunities?

A: Please submit a request and someone on our team will get back to you.

Program Content Questions

Q: What can I expect to learn about design thinking during your programs?

A: You can expect a hands-on, fast-paced, and applied learning experience where you not only learn, but also apply design thinking methods. In our week-long programs, you can expect to walk away with an understanding that will help you apply design thinking to your real-world business challenges.

Q: Do you offer any programs online or via video conference call? Who should I talk to, to get setup?

A: We offer a couple online learning experiences: Innovation @ Work, which is designed for intact teams to both learn and apply design thinking methods on actual work projects, and Innovation and Entrepreneurship Certificate Program. This program is run by the Graduate School of Business and School of Engineering and features courses taught by d.school faculty, including a course on our core principles-- empathy and prototyping.

Q: How does one program differ from another in terms of content, facilitation, etc?

A: Design Thinking Bootcamp is ideal for executives actively delivering products/services/experiences for external or internal customers. Customer-Focused Innovation is designed with a leadership perspective, and executives with 5 or more direct reports are a fit for this particular program. Customer-Focused Innovation is a combination of d.school and Stanford Graduate School of Business content/teaching. In both Customer-Focused Innovation and Design Thinking Bootcamps, executives spend most of their time in small teams coached by a trained bench of d.school coaches and faculty. Our Innovation Workshop is designed for any audience looking for a fast-paced, hands-on exposure to design thinking.

Q: How do your programs differ to IDEO U?

A: Our programs are designed to be high-touch, in-person and very interactive. IDEO U experiences are online learning, virtual experiences.

Admissions Questions

Q: How do you select participants for any given program? What is the selection criteria?

A: We focus on admitting executives in companies/businesses that are working on innovating products and services for internal or external customers. Our methods are designed more for executives and their intact teams and less for a consultant's/facilitator's use. We actively seek out diversity of gender, ethnicity, geography and industry in our cohorts.

Q: How many people are accepted into each program? What is the deadline?

A: We admit approximately 80 executives to each of our Design Thinking Bootcamps, and approximately 60 to Customer-Focused Innovation. We suggest you apply as early as possible to the program you are interested in, as we use a rolling admission process, and it is possible that a Bootcamp would fill before the application deadline.

Q: How many people from one company can apply to any one program? How many do you typically accept?

A: We admit up to 5 individuals from any given company or organization in a single Design Thinking Bootcamp. If you'd like to send a group of executives, please email exec_ed@dschool.stanford.edu for help coordinating your applications.

Q: How can I check the status of my application?

A: We use a rolling admissions process, and you should hear back about the status of your application within 4 weeks of submission or just after the application deadline. If you have not heard back by this time, please contact exec_ed@dschool.stanford.edu

Q: Is there any chance you'll make an exception for an application after the deadline has passed?

A: Our programs are always at capacity, and it's unlikely that you'd be admitted after the application deadline.

Q: How do I pay for a program?

A: You will receive an invoice and depending on the program, you can pay via wire transfer, check or credit card.

Q: Does Stanford provide any program discounts? Since housing is not included are there any discounts?

A: Unfortunately, we do not offer any scholarships for executive education programs. We do, however, offer a 15% discount to executives from non-profit organizations. Bootcamp is a non-residential program, which means executives are allowed to select their own accommodations (accommodations are not included in the tuition). We hold a block of rooms at the Sheraton in Palo Alto for each Design Thinking Bootcamp. This hotel is within walking distance of the d.school. If you are looking for something a little more cost-effective and have access to a car/taxi/Uber or can take public transport, then you may explore other hotels north and south of campus (including Mountain View, Menlo Park, Redwood City).

Q: Is it possible to pre-pay for a program the following year?

A: Once you are accepted to a program, it is possible to immediately pay your tuition.

Q: I was accepted to a program but now can't attend. Is there a way to transfer to another program?

A: We are happy to transfer your application to a future program. Your application will again be re-evaluated for admission in that new program.

Q: Do you provide a program completion receipt?

A: We can generate a certificate of attendance upon request after you complete a program.

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