From Ideas to Action

Learn to prototype, experiment, and iterate to move your ideas forward
Preview Course

From Ideas to Action is a deep dive into the design thinking skills of ideation, prototyping, and iteration. This 5-week course will teach you how to frame your ideas as experiments and bring others in on your vision of the future. Use experimentation to learn from failure and move from incremental to radical innovation.

Course Outcomes
  • Turn your ideas into real products and services through a repeatable process of ideation, prototyping, and iteration. 
  • Consistently generate more and better ideas by using IDEO’s approach to brainstorming and ideation.
  • Uncover insight into your customers’ wants and needs by using rough and rapid prototypes to gather feedback. 
  • Lower your risk by running small experiments to learn from failure in a controlled environment. 
  • Create a culture of experimentation on your team and expand your capacity for innovation. 
Skills You’ll Gain
Brainstorming Prototyping Experimentation
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

From Ideas to Action is part of two certificate programs:

What You'll Learn

Week 1: Introduction

See how insights help spark ideas, and get an introduction to three approaches that will take you from ideas to action: ideation, prototyping, and iteration.
Watch a sneak peek
  • From Ideas to Action – IDEO Prototyping Example
2 Video Lessons
  • From Ideas to Action—Ideate, Prototype, and Iterate Your Way Forward
  • Meet Your Instructor—Brendan Boyle
1 Assignment
  • Choose Your Challenge: We’ve crafted a series of project challenges for you to choose from, all designed to be the right size and scope for this course. You'll practice your selected challenge during the course and later you can bring your learning into your own work.

1 Discussion
  • What do you want to take away from this course?

Week 2: The Art of Ideating

Go beyond brainstorming—learn techniques for coming up with an abundance of innovative ideas.
5 Video Lessons
  • What is Ideation?—Getting comfortable with divergent thinking
  • Ideation Methods—Ways to generate ideas
  • Brainstorm Rules—Leading your own brainstorm
  • Observe Experts Brainstorming—See an IDEO team in action
  • Converging After Idea Generation—How to make choices and move forward
1 Assignment
  • Ideate: Plan an ideation session, ideate with two to four people, and choose your top ideas. To get the most out of this assignment, we suggest that you involve others. That means you might not complete this in one sitting.

3 Discussions
  • Keep a playful mindset and share your thirty circles activity.

  • What were some key takeaways from leading a brainstorm? Get visual if you can.

  • Reflect on your ideation session. What were some of the challenges you faced? What strategies did you use to overcome these challenges?

Week 3: Rapid Prototyping

Learn how to make your ideas tangible so you can work through the kinks, gather feedback, and get to better solutions faster.
5 Video Lessons
  • Why Prototype—Make your ideas tangible and shareable
  • Types of Prototypes—Anything can be prototyped
  • Show Me Your Prototype—Predict what became of early prototypes
  • 3 Steps for Prototyping—Build, share, and reflect
  • Tinfoil Hats in Action—IDEOers tackle the challenge
1 Assignment
  • Prototype: Plan, build, and share your prototype. To get the most out of this assignment, we suggest that you involve two to four people. That means you might not complete this in one sitting.

3 Discussions
  • When was a time you failed at something? Allow yourself to be vulnerable—what did you learn from your mistake?

  • Share your tinfoil hat prototype and comment on your fellow learner’s prototypes with ideas to build on their designs.

  • What about prototyping felt uncomfortable? Which aspects of your prototype were people drawn to?

Week 4: Iterate Your Way Forward

Practice improving your ideas through multiple rounds of ideation and prototyping.
3 Video Lessons
  • Why We Iterate—Fail early to succeed sooner
  • 4 Steps to Iterate—Managing risk and refining your ideas
  • School Lunch Activity—A closer look at school lunch and iteration
1 Assignment
  • Iterate: This assignment will get you thinking critically about what you've done so far and what you still need to do. You will list questions that will help you iterate, prioritize those questions, ideate again (and again), and plan for the future.

1 Discussion
  • How has your plan for future prototyping shifted in surprising ways? What helped you get there?

Week 5: Conclusion

Hear advice from Brendan on pursuing your ideas, building your creative confidence, and planning for the future.
1 Video Lesson
  • Course Conclusion—Play, build and experiment
1 Assignment
  • Final Project: Create a pitch summarizing your key takeaways and highlighting your plans for the future.

2 Discussions
  • What does creative confidence mean to you, and how might the skills and perspective from this course get you that much closer to bringing your ideas to life?

  • What was your creative confidence before and after the course? Really think about how or why it changed. Did your creative confidence change during the course? How and why? What was the most revealing moment for you?

Meet Your Instructors

Brendan Boyle

Founder of IDEO Play Lab

Brendan has led design teams to invent and license hundreds of consumer products. He consulted with companies about including space for play and innovation, wrote a course for Stanford’s d.School, and co-authored The Klutz Book of Inventions. He holds degrees in design and mechanical engineering.

More About Brendan

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 and our team will be happy to review your request. 

Collaborate with a Global Community

Loved by Learners Across the Globe

Taylor Williams
Taylor Owner & Creative Director Guts & Glory Creative Consulting
Alexandra Meisner
Alexandra Business Analyst TELUS Communications
Pearce Herchenrader
Pearce Product Manager The Working Group
Katelyn Engelking
Katelyn Marketing Operations Analyst Quorum Software
From Ideas to Action
Cohort Course

“In running my own business, I've become selective about what courses I choose. IDEO U has kinda blown me away. It's accessible and tangible, but also challenging. It's pushed me to do my future work differently, but also to *think about myself* in my work differently.”

Taylor Gainesville, FL
From Ideas to Action
Cohort Course

“IDEO U courses are very effective in teaching design thinking in a way that is digestible and practical. Learning to apply these methods to a real-world challenge really provides a sense of completion, and makes it easier for me to speak to what I've learned.”

Alexandra Vancouver, BC, Canada
From Ideas to Action
Cohort Course

“The art of coming up with new ideas and being able to effectively communicate those ideas is incredibly important in my field. As a new product manager, I really struggled to find resources to help me learn effectively, and I was able to put what I learned here into practice right away.”

Pearce Canada
From Ideas to Action
Cohort Course

“These are key skills and concepts that are important to every industry, job function and team structure. Being able to think outside the box, incorporate feedback and apply it in a meaningful way to solve a challenge is such a wonderful skill to have and build off of.”

Katelyn Houston, TX

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Enroll As a Team

How to Enroll as a Team