Rotman School of Management

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Design Thinking: Connecting Innovation and Strategy

Connect strategy with customer-centric innovation.


The two words that kill any innovation? Prove it.

Roger L. Martin

No innovation can be proven in advance by data from the past. That’s the dangerous trap individuals often find themselves in when they’re tasked with creating something innovative that will meaningfully add value to their customers. To overcome this challenge, we need a different set of tools and frameworks. A set of tools and frameworks that start with the customer and strategically connects to the organization.

Design Thinking is a human-centred approach to innovation, one that starts with understanding what customers need. At the Rotman School of Management, we combine the core principles of design with the Playing to Win strategy framework developed by Roger Martin—recently named the world's most influential management thinker.

Our applied three-day Design Thinking program gives you both Rotman’s signature Design Thinking approach and the Playing to Win framework used by Fortune 500 companies world-wide.

Learn by Doing

Practice your new skills with real-world innovation challenges in a learning environment reflective of design thinking principles and a strategic thinking framework. You spend the majority of the program working on a real-world innovation challenge so you can build your confidence using the framework. In the spirit of design, you'll ideate, prototype and retest your innovation and strategy to truly get comfortable with the framework with coaches who will help you every step of the way.

I have had the opportunity to participate in the strategy+design executive program, and I have also recommended several of my colleagues to attend as well. Not only is the content extremely worthwhile, the dialogue, collaboration and networking opportunities with an intimate group are incomparable. The best thing I can say about this content is that I have utilized the methodology and frameworks with project teams within our company many times since I attended the workshop—it’s simple, powerful, and fun. 
Highly recommended!

Dan Dicks | Director, Americas Procurement
Steelcase Inc.

Key Benefits

By the end of the program, you will be able to

  • Be confident to make faster, better decisions in the face of uncertainty
  • Be comfortable with placing strategic bets using both intuition and data
  • Be more customer centric by understanding the basic approaches from ethnographic research, identify latent customer needs
  • Communicate how design thinking tools connect with business strategy, specifically the Play to Win framework
  • Ideate and prototype iteratively to develop new products and experiences
  • Learn from examples of success and failures from some of the world's leading innovation organizations
  • Apply these concepts in order to drive innovation in your own organization


Who Should Attend

This program is designed for senior managers who need to drive innovation in their organization. Those responsible for

  • product development
  • marketing
  • business development
  • sales, or
  • strategy

from both the private and public sector will benefit from this program.


Day 1

Day 2

Day 3


Morning Morning
  • Strategy
  • Design Thinking
  • Need Finding
  • Ideation
  • Testing
  • Shareback
Afternoon Afternoon Afternoon
  • Empathy Fieldwork
  • Building Out Possibilities
  • Testing Preparation
  • Application
  • Prototyping
  • Building Tests

Rotman Executive Program faculty are known for their ability to translate the latest research into practical applications for the workplace, and to transmit skills to participants with the best teaching techniques. Industry leaders contribute to our programs to bring you the most up-to-date best practices and a wealth of real-world experience.

Meet the instructors teaching in Design Thinking: Connecting Innovation and Strategy

Stefanie Schram

Stefanie Schram »

Alpesh Mistry

Alpesh Mistry »

The application process for this program is currently closed. If you would like to receive more information about the program or speak to our Learning Advisor, please fill in the form below.

Looking for something else?You might also be interested in one of these related programs

Dates and FeesMark your calendar

Three-day program with field research




Rotman School of Management, Toronto, Ontario


Participant profile:
Senior managers who need to drive innovation in their organization


Questions? We're here to help!
Speak to our expert Learning Advisor about choosing the right program for you or your organization.

Tel: 416.978.8815

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