Leading for Creativity

Learn to scale creative problem solving from Tim Brown, Chair of IDEO
Preview Course

Learn chair of IDEO Tim Brown’s personal leadership philosophy and methods. You'll learn how to lead with vision, through culture, and alongside your team. Gain techniques to guide others through uncertainty using the process of experimentation and shift the culture by tapping into beliefs and behaviors that support creativity. Tim, along with some of IDEO’s most experienced leaders, will help you unlock the creative potential of your team and organization.

Course Outcomes
  • Inspire your team and build their confidence to take on new challenges.
  • Create a culture of innovation by increasing your team’s capacity to experiment.
  • Craft well-framed questions that encourage and enable others to tap into their own potential.
  • Build trust, stay present and engaged—listening and guiding the work of your team.
  • Design rituals that reinforce the beliefs and behaviors of creative teams and organizations.
Part of Certificate Programs
Skills You’ll Gain
Leadership Culture Navigating Ambiguity
Format Online Cohort Course
Start Date
Duration 5 Weeks*
Time 4 Hours/Week
Regular price
Sale price
Unit price
Download Syllabus
*Enroll in any August cohort course or certificate to get exclusive access to our new AI x Design Thinking Workshop Series.

Go Deeper with Certificate Programs

Leading for Creativity is part of a certificate program:

What You'll Learn

Week 1: Introduction

Explore how a curious mindset can help you challenge assumptions, inspire others, and unlock creativity.
Watch a sneak peek
  • Leading for Creativity—A taste of the learning experience
3 Video Lessons
  • Getting Started—A preview
  • The Mindset of Curiosity—The power of questions
  • About Your Instructor: Tim Brown, Chief Executive Officer, IDEO
1 Assignment
  • Finding Answers Through Questions: The next meeting you go to, record all the questions asked. Think about what these questions started to illuminate.

2 Discussions
  • What does leading for creativity mean to you? How might your team or organization benefit from more creative support?

  • What’s your biggest question? What inspires you and pushes you to think bigger?

Week 2: Leading with a Strong Point of View

Set a new course for your team or organization by crafting a well-framed challenge.
4 Video Lessons
  • The Explorer—Setting the course for success
  • Frame a Challenge—Striking a balance
  • Frame a Challenge—Creating challenge questions
  • Other Ways to Lead with a Strong Point of View—Hiring talent
1 Assignment
  • Leading with a Strong Point of View: Connect your day-to-day work with your organization's purpose and vision.

4 Discussions
  • When have you seen leading with a strong point of view shut people down? When have you seen it inspire others?

  • Imagine a challenge you're working on right now. What would your dream team look like?

  • What are other examples of leading with a strong point of view?

  • What will be easy to integrate into your team or organization? What will be difficult?

Week 3: Leading Through Culture

Design rituals that reinforce the beliefs and behaviors of creative teams and organizations.
5 Video Lessons
  • The Gardener—Nudging culture
  • Design a Ritual—Reinforcing beliefs & behaviors (Part I)
  • Design a Ritual—Reinforcing beliefs & behaviors (Part II)
  • Other Ways to Lead Through Culture—Physical spaces
  • Nudge Culture—Nudge culture with IDEO
1 Assignment
  • Leading Through Culture: Design and try out a ritual for your co-workers, family, or friends.

5 Discussions
  • Think of a time you saw a change in culture make a significant difference. What happened? What was the impact?

  • How does your organization or team’s culture compare to our list of creative beliefs and behaviors? What are the gaps and tensions?

  • What inspired you about using physical spaces to set conditions that help creativity thrive? How might you translate this to your own work or life?

  • How might you design a moment to encourage open conversation within your organization? What are the ways you might nudge your organization's culture to better support creativity?

  • What do you personally find most challenging about leading through culture?

Week 4: Leading Alongside

Stay present and engaged with the work of your team as they experiment with innovative ideas.
3 Video Lessons
  • The Coach—Staying present
  • Guide an Experiment—Supporting your team at critical times
  • Other Ways to Lead Alongside—Career navigation
1 Assignment
  • Leading Alongside: Practice coaching your team through ambiguous moments

4 Discussions
  • What person has played a coaching role in your life? What's one unique characteristic or skill this person possesses?

  • Share a time when you guided an experiment and it didn't go as planned. Where was the breakdown? Which tip could have helped you guide your team forward, and why?

  • What other ways do you find yourself leading alongside others? How has that experience helped you grow as a leader?

  • What are your strategies for staying present and engaged? How will you know when to lean in and when to create space for your team to take ownership?

Week 5: Conclusion

Get advice from Tim on practicing the behaviors and mindsets from the course, and design your leadership plan.
1 Video Lesson
  • Course Conclusion—Go lead for creativity
1 Assignment
  • Final Project: Design your leadership plan and commit to behaviors and mindsets from the course.

1 Discussion
  • What's the thing you're most excited about taking with you as you go off and lead for creativity?

Meet Your Instructors

Tim Brown

Chair of IDEO

Tim Brown led IDEO for more than 19 years. He speaks frequently about the value of design thinking and innovation. He has earned numerous design awards and exhibited work at galleries including the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He wrote the book Change by Design.

More About Tim

Frequently Asked Questions

We offer three types of courses: self-paced courses, cohort courses, and certificate programs. Cohort courses run on a set calendar, with fixed start and end dates. Course learning is self-paced within those dates and requires approximately 4-5 hours per week over 5 weeks. Courses consist of videos, activities, assignments, access to course teaching teams, and feedback from a global community of learners. There are also optional 1-hour video Community Conversations, held weekly by the teaching team. 

All of our cohort courses are fully online, so you can take them from any time zone, anywhere in the world. With our cohort course experience, while you'll be learning alongside other learners, you'll still have the flexibility to work at the pace that fits your own schedule. There aren’t mandatory live components, so you don't have to worry about having to log in at a specific time. At the same time, you'll have access to a teaching team, which is composed of experts in the field who are there to provide you feedback, and there are also plenty of options to connect with your fellow learners.

Course instructors have a strong presence in the courses through the course videos, but they're not actively providing feedback or holding direct conversations with our learners. We have a teaching team to ensure that you have the feedback, guidance, and support you need to learn successfully in your course. Our teaching team members are design practitioners that have experience applying course methods and mindsets in a wide variety of contexts around the world.

Our teaching team consists of teaching leads and teaching assistants, who are experts in their fields. Many of them have been with IDEO U for many years, and we have selected those who have direct experience with applying the course methods and mindsets in all sorts of contexts around the world. They all go through multiple training sessions by our instructional designers on not only on the subject matter, but also on how to create safe and collaborative learning experiences and environments.

Community Conversations are one-hour live video conversations hosted by the teaching team on Zoom. These happen once per week, with each one having two to three time options to accommodate different time zones. Each week focuses on the lesson that you’ve just gone through, so the output and the content depend on the specific lessons. You'll have the opportunity if you work together with your peers on the tools and mindsets from the course, reflect on what you’ve learned, and also address any challenges that you might be going through.

All course materials, including videos, activities, and assignments will be available while you are enrolled in a course. During the 5 weeks of the course, you will have full access to our learning platform and can refer back to it any time. You will only have access to the course materials while you are enrolled. 

Assignments must be submitted during the 5-week course duration in order for you to receive a certificate of completion.

Absolutely! We have had many teams go through our courses together. For those taking our courses as a team, we provide a number of additional benefits:

1. A Team Learning Guide, developed to provide your team with resources to facilitate offline discussions that complement the in-course experience.

2. A Manage Learners function, which provides visibility into your team's progress within the course.

3. The ability to create a private Learning Circle, which is a closed space for discussion on the learning platform specifically for your team.

For more information, visit our Team Learning page.

We offer a discount when you enroll in multiple courses at the same time through some of our certificate programs, including Foundations in Design Thinking, Business Innovation, Human-Centered Strategy, and Communicating for Impact

You can also enter your email address at the bottom of this page in order to receive updates on future offers or possible discounts. 

After completing a cohort course, you will be able to add it to your “licenses and certifications” on LinkedIn.

We also have certificate programs that consist of multiple courses. After completing a certificate, you will receive a certificate of completion via email as a downloadable PDF within 1-2 weeks of completing the final required course. Certificates are configured for uploading and sharing on LinkedIn.

You can purchase a course on our website using a credit card, PayPal, or Shop Pay. For US customers, we also offer installment plans at checkout if you use the Shop Pay method of payment.

We typically are not able to accommodate bank transfer or invoicing. However, if your order includes 10 seats or more, please contact hello@ideou.com and our team will be happy to review your request. 

Collaborate with a Global Community

Loved by Learners Across the Globe

April Philips, FASLA
April President & Principal April Philips Design Works, Inc.
Cassie Schneider
Cassie Associate Product Manager Bradley Corporation
Emily Fields Joffrion
Emily Brand & Comms Consultant Forbes
Rachel Anderson
Rachel Design & UX Lead Firefly Learning
Leading for Creativity
Cohort Course

“It was perfect timing with my desire to shift my firm's vision as we were beginning to hire new staff. It really provided insight to the process in ways I hadn't experienced just by listening to TED Talks and reading articles. The assignments added more focus to the learning.”

April San Francisco, CA
Leading for Creativity
Cohort Course

“Leadership is a new role for me and I found a lot of great information from the course. I think that those who have been in a leadership role for a period of time will also find this course beneficial to get them to think in a different way.”

Cassie Milwaukee, WI
Leading for Creativity
Cohort Course

“I learned how to bring design thinking into my role as a cultural facilitator and in-house executive coach and built an entire program by applying IDEO U's creative framework to my work. The energy around these new skills springboarded me into launching a consultancy and taking huge, creative strides as a leader.”

Emily San Francisco, CA
Leading for Creativity
Cohort Course

“A few months after taking the Leading for Creativity course I was promoted to lead design in our organisation. The fact that I was already demonstrating creative leadership qualities helped the leaders make this decision, and I felt confident enough to accept the offer, knowing what is expected of a creative leader.”

Rachel London, UK

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