Design Thinking short course (Live Online | 29 Nov -3 Dec | 5 ECTS)

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Key facts


5 ECTS towards a Level 9 (NFQ) awarded by University College Dublin

How it's delivered

100% Online. Live online workshops each morning (9.30am-1.30pm) followed by online team assignments each afternoon (2.30pm-4.30pm approx.)


5 days

Fees & Funding

Free / €55 for eligible applicants via Government July Stimulus Provision. See here for eligibility criteria.

€550 (EU) / €1100 (Non EU) for all other applicants

Start date

29 November 2021

End date

3 December 2021


“By applying the tools and exercises I learned during this course, I can motivate my team to adopt design thinking, encourage them to find creative solutions. My team’s enthusiasm every time their ideas work is the very proof that applying for this course was one of my best decisions.”- Anita Csaszar, Retail Manager, SVP

The Design Thinking methodology is a proven and repeatable approach that any organisation, business, network or profession can employ to uncover new opportunities, gain new perspectives and insights on problems, and develop innovative solutions of value. It is increasingly being regarded as a core skill in the workplace today with more and more Irish and global organisation adopting this process to address key issues and challenges within their business.

Over the course of the course, participants will develop their expertise in Design Thinking through experiential learning activities, guest speakers and immersive challenges. The participants will be brought through all the stages of the Design Thinking process which will culminate in a ‘Solution Presentation to the host organisation. Recent such organisations have included Google; IBM; Arnotts, Heat Merchants Group; Musgrave Group; Brown Thomas, Deloitte, Lust for Life, UCD Students Union and PwC.

The overall aims of this course are to give participants insights into the optimal implementation of the Design Thinking process; appreciate the various contexts within which it can be used; and apply the process by working on a complex real-world innovation challenge. Working in teams, participants will build empathy with users and multiple stakeholders to develop an insightful understanding of a real-world challenge, then taking an iterative approach they will prototype and present a creative solution informed by their problem statement.

Who is it for?

This course is perfect for anyone working in a customer-focused team or project-driven environment. It will provide you and your team with a competitive edge.

Keen to start seeing the world differently?

You might be:

  • A professional working in a customer-focused team
  • Someone who’s remit now includes innovation
  • An aspiring entrepreneur or working in a start-up
  • Someone who is seeking to re-skill to return to the workforce
  • This course welcomes participants from all sectors, industries and functions within organisations. It will benefit a range of candidates with different experiences of the subject matter.

“The course was a life changing experience. The design challenges were the most beneficial as they not only gave hands on experience, exposure to real company issues and they gave me a chance to work with each of the class which created strong connections within each challenge.” – Participant 2020/21


Register your interest.

Course Structure and Schedule


This course runs over five days online.

9.30am – 1.30pm: Live online classes

2.30pm – 4.30pm: Individual / group assignments


“Live online” is a highly interactive and dynamic approach to online learning consisting of class discussions, breakout rooms, mini-breaks and team activities and projects throughout the week.

This course is facilitated remotely through our easy to use virtual education and collaboration platforms. You’ll learn from the comfort of your home or office whilst having the opportunity to collaborate with your fellow innovators on practical team challenges and projects.

Indicative Schedule:

Day 1: Introduction to Design Thinking Framework and User Centred Design. Meet your Host Company, your Team and your Challenge.

Day 2: Empathy and Understanding
Gaining insights to the Challenge and Customers/Users

Day 3: Defining the Problems To Be Solved

Day 4: Prototyping and Testing Solutions

Day 5: Pitching Innovative Solutions

  • Why choose us
  • Learning outcomes
  • How to apply
  • Assessment
  • Who leads this course?
  • Eligibility criteria

“Compared to other online courses, this one has been the most structured, had best resources and learning material and learning tools (Ted talks, podcasts mural), most approachable staff, I felt supported the whole time.” – Participant 2020/21

UCD Innovation Academy sits at the cutting-edge of education in Ireland, and the world. We’ve been challenging students to see the world differently since 2010, when we became one of the first universities to offer experiential learning experiences.

Since then our courses have been shaped and refined with input from some of the world’s best. Thousands of students have passed through the Academy and accelerated their careers.

UCD is among the top 1% of higher education institutions in the world, and ranked Ireland’s best for graduate employability.

Participants who successfully complete this course will receive 5 ECTS towards the TU Dublin – UCD Professional Diploma in Transversal Skills.

On successful completion of this module, students should be able to:

  • Gain an in-depth practical understanding of the five stages of Design Thinking and their interdependence.
  • Develop an understanding of the appropriate application of Design Thinking and develop an appreciation for its benefits and limits across disciplines and sectors
  • Learn to add value to the Design Thinking process by applying practiced skills of empathy, creativity, idea selection, facilitating teamwork, rapid prototyping, iterative design, pitching and story-telling
  • Demonstrate the application of the five stages of Design Thinking in the context of a complex ‘real world’ challenge
  • Apply reflective practices to identify lessons learnt about the project, the process and the teamwork
  • Develop the ability to make sound judgements regarding timing, process and number of iterations of Design Thinking appropriate for a particular problem and be able to guide others to enhance outcomes.
  • Develop team working, communication and presentation skills.

This course is now open for applications on the UCD website.

Register your interest here for full details on how to apply.

If you are applying for a free / 90% subsidised place please review the eligibility criteria here.

You will need to upload some supporting documents as part of your application:

  1. CV
  2. Academic transcript or parchment to show you have a level 8 qualification (or higher). Alternatively, you can apply through Recognition of Prior Learning by providing 2 references.
  3. For full or part-funded places, we’ll need to see proof of your relevant employment status as outlined in these Eligibility Guidelines.
  4. Your passport if you are an EU, EEA, UK, or Swiss citizen. Or a Stamp 4 Visa for 3 years prior to the course start date if you are applying under a status other than ‘Unemployed in receipt of an eligible DEASP Payment’.

Funding for eligible applicants under the Government July Stimulus Provision

90% subsidised (student pays €55) for eligible individuals in employment or self-employment, and the formerly self-employed.

FREE for eligible jobseekers: those receiving an eligible DEASP Payments (including Covid-19 PUP).

FREE for returners to work and carers.

  1. 30% Assignment: Reflection Report
  2. 40% Attendance: This module requires active participation and engagement, which necessitates attendance at ALL scheduled classes (80% attendance is required to pass this component).
  3. 30% Final presentation

Note: There are only two grades given to participants: pass / fail.

Course Academic Eligibility Criteria:

You’ll need:

  • a minimum honours degree (Level 8) qualification.
  • applicants with 5+ years of relevant employment history can apply under UCD’s Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) policy.

If English is not your first language we require either an English language qualification OR that you completed your primary degree or third level qualification entirely in English, in an English-speaking country. See UCD English language requirements.


Criteria to gain a funded place through the Government July Stimulus Provision: 

Please see the eligibility criteria as set out by the Higher Education Authority on the Springboard+ website here.

The eligibility criteria for Springboard+ courses are the same as for the July Stimulus Provision Funding.