General Management & Strategy

Creating an Innovation Culture with Design Thinking

Realising Human-Centred Innovation


Programme Description

In today's business environment, uncertainty dominates. Leaders are under increasing pressure to take innovative action in environments where traditional management approaches can lack the flexibility and speed to effectively respond. However, they often find themselves embedded in organisational silos and processes that prevent them from taking action when it's needed.

Design thinking and other agile approaches can invigorate organisational momentum, enabling leaders to identify new opportunities to drive their businesses into the future. In this course, you will dive into the design thinking process, experiencing first-hand how a human-centred organisational mindset can provide a framework for quickly identifying opportunities and potential pitfalls in your business and its environment. 

Throughout the seminar, you will leverage your insights in tackling your own strategic challenges. Keynotes from leaders who have implemented human-centric leadership in their organizations provide insight into critical ingredients for success.

Would you like to attend a German programme instead? Have a look at our programme "Design Thinking erfolgreich einsetzen".

Target Audience

This programme is aimed at senior and mid-level executives who want to leverage the potential of human-centred and agile frameworks, methods and tools to take action in their organisations. It is particularly appropriate for managers facing strategic and transformation challenges in their organisations.

Participants should come with an interest in innovation methodologies and creativity techniques and concrete questions regarding how to achieve innovative impact in their specific business context.


Start Dates
3 days
Application Deadline
Number of ECTS Credits
Level of Experience
Senior Manager
Functional Manager
Programme Type
CHF 2'900.-
Startfeld, Design Thinking and Workshop in St.Gallen
Individual Modules Bookable
Flexible Entry
Programme Language


This course provides you with insights into how human-centred innovation can drive your organisation forward. Over three days, you will:

Define the context in which traditional management approaches are struggling

  • Understand diverse forms of uncertainty that can challenge leaders in new ways
  • Examine obstacles that leaders can face in this new business climate
  • Discover the potential of human-centred design to address these

Explore and engage human-centred innovation

  • Dive into the design thinking process and create testable solutions
  • Understand a range of other agile approaches, tools and frameworks
  • Gain insight into key ingredients for implementing design thinking successfully, through keynotes from senior leaders

Delve into your business challenge with a human-centred lens

  • Tackle a wicked problem you’re facing in your business using human-centred frameworks, methods and tools
  • “Fail forward”, drawing from the expertise of faculty, senior leaders and your peers as you test your ideas on-site
  • Develop a roadmap with a concrete set of actions when you get back in your organisation

In the aftermath of this course, we offer you a virtual group coaching session in which you can discuss the implementation of solutions you developed in the course with colleagues and faculty.

Programme Benefits

You leave this course with

  • A toolbox for tackling your own business challenge with Design thinking methods.
  • Powerful human-centred frameworks for cultivating an innovation culture.
  • New relationships with like-minded action takers.

Content & Faculty

Rachel Brooks, Ph.D.

Rachel Brooks’ research and teaching focus on navigating complex conditions in an uncertain and global environment. Her work in design thinking grew out of her efforts to help organizations adapt nimbly to changing conditions and innovate new solutions to seemingly unsolvable challenges. Before joining the HSG Executive Education team, she worked in Latin America at the nexus of business, agricultural producers, government and non-profit organizations in the global food industry. She holds a BA from Smith College in Latin American Studies and an MA from New York University in Latin American Studies, where she was awarded the Henry MacCracken Fellowship. She was awarded a fellowship through the SNF-funded Prodoc at the Centro Latinoamericano-Suizo at the Univesity of St.Gallen, where she earned her PhD in Organization Studies and Cultural Theory with a strong emphasis on Strategy and Management.


Jennifer Hehn, Ph.D.

Jennifer Hehn is a widely acknowledged innovation expert with extensive expertise in understanding users’ needs and transforming them into human-centric solutions. She is Senior Manager at ITMP, a spin-off of the University of St.Gallen and has managed numerous innovation projects within companies of all sizes across various industries, including software, pharmaceuticals, banking and insurance. Jennifer’s focus has always been on combining human-centered design and agile innovation principles to develop new solutions that push companies and teams to the next level of success. Jennifer was the Executive Director of the Design Thinking program at the University of St. Gallen, a position she left in 2017 to pursue her PhD in Design Thinking and Requirements Engineering in software products. In parallel, she currently delivers education programs for the Executive School at the University of St. Gallen.



I found the practical, tangible approach in Rachel's course very good; refreshing, dynamic, creative and able to be experienced - more of this!
Women Back to Business

Why HSG?

Executive education at the University of St.Gallen (HSG), one of Europe's leading business universities, provides you with an optimal preparation for the future. The University of St.Gallen is more than just an educational institution; it is a place of inspiration that stimulates you to think. You will acquire up-to-date knowledge that is of great practical relvance, and gain valuable insights. This will enable you to make an important contribution to social and economic progress and to your own personal development. "From insight to impact" is not just our message; it is a promise against which we can be measured. 

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