Design Thinking Certification


Strategic Design Thinking Certified™

Unlike conventional approaches that may start with a predefined solution in mind, design thinking centers on gaining a profound insight into the user’s experience and perspective. This method emphasizes the importance of understanding the people for whom products or services are being designed, making empathy a cornerstone of the process.

By deeply engaging with users, designers can uncover not just the obvious needs but also those that are unspoken or not immediately apparent. This empathetic approach, combined with creative ideation and rational analysis, enables the development of solutions that are both innovative and deeply resonant with users.

The Five Phases Of Design Thinking

1. Empathize

This phase involves gaining an insightful understanding of the problem you’re trying to solve, primarily from the user’s perspective. It’s about observing, engaging, and empathizing with people to understand their experiences and motivations.

2. Define

In this stage, you’ll analyze your observations and synthesize them to define the core problems you and your team have identified up to this point. This stage helps to articulate the problem in a user-centered way.

3. Ideate

This phase is where you start generating ideas. By now, you’ve understood your users and their needs and are ready to create solutions. Brainstorming comes into play here, encouraging a free-flowing, judgment-free zone to foster innovation.

4. Prototype

This stage involves producing a scaled-down version of the product or specific features found within the product, to investigate the problem solutions generated in the previous stage.

5. Test

Rigorously testing the completed prototypes with your users is critical. This phase provides insights into how real users will interact with your product and allows you to make refinements before finalizing your solution.

Why Pursue a Design Thinking Certification Online?

An online design thinking certification equips individuals with a formal acknowledgment of their understanding and skill in applying design thinking principles. Here’s why obtaining such a certification can be beneficial:

Enhanced Problem-Solving Skills: It cultivates a unique problem-solving approach deeply rooted in empathy and user experience. This skill is versatile and applicable across various industries.

Innovation and Creativity: Certification programs often encourage out-of-the-box thinking, helping individuals to foster their creativity and apply it to develop innovative solutions to complex problems.

Improved Career Prospects: With the growing recognition of the importance of UX/UI in product development, a certification in design thinking can make you stand out in the job market. It signals to employers that you possess a sophisticated toolkit for tackling challenges in a user-centered way.

Interdisciplinary Collaboration: Design thinking promotes collaboration across different disciplines. Certification can provide the skills necessary for effective teamwork and communication in today’s interconnected work environments.

Adaptability: Learning design thinking principles prepares individuals to adapt to various situations and challenges, making them valuable assets to any organization.

In essence, design thinking is more than just a methodology; it’s a mindset that emphasizes understanding and innovation. A design thinking certification validates your skill set and equips you with a comprehensive approach to solving problems that prioritizes user experience above all.

Whether you’re looking to enhance your career, foster creativity, or improve your problem-solving capabilities, a design thinking certification offers a pathway to achieving these goals. As businesses and organizations increasingly recognize the value of user-centered design, the demand for professionals skilled in design thinking will continue to rise.

Examples of the Benefits of Design Thinking:

Improving Healthcare Experiences


Patients often find healthcare systems difficult to navigate, leading to frustration and sometimes inadequate care. The process can be impersonal and intimidating, making it hard for patients to access the care they need efficiently.


By empathizing with patients through interviews and observations, healthcare providers can identify the specific challenges and pain points in the patient journey.

Design thinking can lead to the development of more intuitive and user-friendly interfaces for appointment booking, clearer communication materials for treatments and procedures, and more welcoming physical spaces.

Prototyping and testing solutions directly with patients ensure that changes genuinely meet their needs and improve their overall experience.

Enhancing Educational Tools


Traditional educational models often fail to engage all students effectively, leaving some behind due to a lack of personalization and interactive learning experiences.


Through empathy, educators and designers can understand the diverse needs of students, including different learning styles and challenges.

Ideation sessions can generate innovative solutions, such as gamified learning platforms, adaptive learning technologies that adjust to individual student’s pace, and collaborative learning spaces that encourage interaction.

Prototyping these solutions in classrooms allows for immediate feedback and iteration, leading to more engaging and effective educational experiences.

Addressing Climate Change


Many products are designed without considering their environmental impact, contributing to pollution and waste.


By applying the empathy phase to understand the concerns and values of consumers regarding sustainability, companies can redefine product design briefs to prioritize eco-friendliness.

Ideation can lead to innovative use of sustainable materials, products designed for longevity and repairability, and systems that encourage recycling and reuse.

Prototyping and testing with consumers ensure that these sustainable alternatives meet their needs and preferences, promoting more environmentally responsible consumption patterns.

Improving Public Transportation Systems


Public transportation systems can be inefficient, overcrowded, and inconvenient, leading to dissatisfaction among commuters.


Engaging with a broad spectrum of public transport users to empathize with their experiences can uncover insights into specific issues, such as route inefficiencies, ticketing complications, or lack of real-time information.

Ideation workshops can generate creative solutions like mobile apps for real-time tracking, redesigned interiors for better space utilization, or more efficient ticketing processes.

Prototyping and testing these solutions in small sections of the transportation network allow for iterative improvement based on real user feedback, leading to a more efficient and user-friendly system.

Design Thinking Certification Requirements:

To achieve the SDTC certification designation from the Management and Strategy Institute, candidates must pass the MSI Strategic Design Thinking Certified (SDTC) exam with a score of 70% or higher.

There are no prerequisites for certification.  The included course covers all of the MSI Design Thinking material that candidates must be familiar with to pass the exam.  The total cost for Strategic Design Thinking certification online is $199.95.  That fee includes the MSI certification exam and the online course / study material.

Strategic Design Thinking Certification holders must have a basic understanding of Design Thinking principles so that they can implement the five phases of design thinking in a corporate environment and collaborate within teams.  This certification exam is open note, however it is also timed, so you will not have much time to look up answers to questions.  It is essential that you study and understand the material prior to taking the test, or you may not pass.


To prepare for the MSI Strategic Design Thinking Certified (SDTC) exam, candidates are encouraged to complete all training that is included with the purchase.

The Strategic Design Thinking certification is a mid-level certification.  It is not designed to make you an expert on all facets of Design Thinking.  This professional development course was designed to teach someone with little knowledge of Design Thinking principles the basic skills needed to function as a specialist within your organization.  Many executive jobs today require that their employees have at least a basic understanding of design thinking.  For an example, click on this job search link to see how many positions mention the words “Design Thinking“.

The training course is self-paced.  Time to complete and fully comprehend will vary with every individual.  It may take several days or weeks of study before you feel comfortable to take the final test.  You may take the final exam as soon as you’re ready.  You have 1 year from the date of purchase to complete the course.


You are registering for the Strategic Design Thinking Certified (SDTC)™ certification program through the Management and Strategy Institute (MSI).  This international certification is exclusive to MSI and you will be certified directly by the Institute upon passing.

Participants who successfully complete this certification program will receive 20 Professional Competency Units (PCUs) from MSI.  The SDTC digital certificate will be issued immediately upon passing the certification exam.  The SDTC digital badge will be issued within 48-96 hours and added to the MSI verification database at

Recertification is recommended every 3 years.  Recertification through MSI is free and typically takes about 10 minutes.  Applicants do not need to re-take the exam, but rather complete a questionnaire regarding the certification.

For US members, upon passing, you will be mailed a professional-grade certificate and transcripts.  These can be given to employers who request it, or colleges for credit review.  The certificate is heavy-stock, cream paper suitable for framing.

Certifications are generally the last item listed under the education section of your resume.  List them directly beneath your college information in this format:

Management and Strategy Institute
Strategic Design Thinking Certified (SDTC)™

Additional Information

Syllabus [.pdf]   |   Sales Brochure [.pdf]

About Management and Strategy Institute

Frequently Asked Questions

Are There Prerequisites?

No, this online Design Thinking Certification is open to everyone.  It includes the online study material and the MSI certification exam.

How Long Is The Program?

The training course is self-paced. Time to complete and fully comprehend will vary with every individual. The study material is designed to be completed in 30-60 days.

What will I receive after I pass my test?

You’ll have immediate access to a digital certificate that you can download and share on your resume, Facebook, or LinkedIn account.

You’ll also be issued a digital badge approxiamtely 2-4 days after you’ve completed the certification exam.  Your digital badge can be found at

If you’re in the US, you’ll also be mailed your physical certification and professional transcripts upon certification.

Other Design Thinking Programs You May Be Interested In:

Note: MSI does not endorse these programs. All trademarks belong to the individual organizations listed. These organizations are not associated with MSI and no endorsement is implied.