Cultivating Creative Collaboration

Tap into diverse perspectives to foster creative thinking
Preview Course

Effective collaboration is about more than harmonious agreement or efficiency. Today's complex challenges require teams to navigate ambiguity, unearth bold ideas, and embrace a new way of working—one that harnesses the power of diverse perspectives and creative thinking to push past the obvious, safe solutions to the truly innovative ones. Gain the skills and techniques you need to foster creative collaboration and unleash the potential of a team. 

Course Outcomes
  • Unlock your team’s ability to generate new ideas and reach better solutions by tapping into diverse perspectives.
  • Overcome inertia and uncertainty by guiding your team through an iterative process designed to spark creativity and gain alignment.
  • Establish the cultural conditions that teams need to thrive with thoughtful rituals and agreements.
  • Turn tensions between ideas into opportunities for your biggest leaps forward.
Skills You’ll Gain
Leadership Collaboration Brainstorming
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

Cultivating Creative Collaboration is part of two certificate programs:

What You'll Learn

Week 1: Introduction

Learn how creative collaboration harnesses the power of diverse perspectives and creative thinking to develop innovative solutions.
Watch a sneak peek
  • What is Creative Collaboration?—the power of creativity and diversity
2 Video Lessons
  • Essential Collaborative Behaviors—Be open, be curious, be vulnerable
  • Pass it on—Activate others to guide creative collaboration
1 Assignment
  • Take Stock of Current Conditions: In this assignment, you will use reflection and observation to assess the behaviors that are encouraging or undermining psychological safety on your team.

2 Discussions
  • What surprised you about the three key behaviors that help build psychological safety?

  • How do you, or leaders you know, try to set the right conditions for your team?

Week 2: Build a Foundation

Create a culture of belonging and align your team through a set of agreements.
5 Video Lessons
  • Align the Team—Three steps for crafting team agreements
  • Mentor Moment with Heather Currier Hunt—Three ways to align teams at kick-off
  • Culture and Creative Work—Design for diverse teams
  • Mentor Moment with Chris—Three tips for designing rituals for belonging
  • It Starts with You—Model the behaviors you want to see
1 Assignment
  • Craft Team Agreements: In this assignment, you will design and run a session to craft a set of team agreements.

5 Discussions
  • What are some team agreements that you currently have, and are they explicit or implicit?

  • Are there any other tools or rituals you like to use when you kick off with a new team or project to help get everyone on the same page?

  • What are the ways that you have felt encouraged or discouraged to be more of yourself in a professional setting?

  • What opportunities do you have for designing rituals on your team?

  • What are your authentic leadership qualities and how might you leverage them as you encourage your team(s) to try working in a new way?

Week 3: Choreograph the Work

Set the conditions for creative thinking with intentionally designed meetings and modes of thinking.
3 Video Lessons
  • The Creative Process—An overview
  • Design for Divergence—Expand ideas and multiply options
  • Design for Convergence—Narrow and focus
1 Assignment
  • Choreograph a Meeting: In this assignment, you will design and run a moment of convergence or divergence for your team.

3 Discussions
  • Would you consider yourself more of a diverger or a converger? Why?

  • Think of the last meeting you had with a team that was supposed to be divergent in nature. What did it feel like?

  • When your team gets together to evaluate ideas does it feel creative, like convergence should feel? Why or why not?

Week 4: Tackle the Hard Stuff

Get techniques for managing emerging tensions and frameworks for giving and receiving constructive feedback.
4 Video Lessons
  • Diverse Perspectives and Tension—Use tension to evolve ideas
  • The Power of Conflict—Three steps for using tension to improve team dynamics
  • Mentor Moment with Annette—Designing spaces for tough conversations
  • Navigate Tough Conversations—Give direct, caring feedback that serves others’ growth
1 Assignment
  • Harness Tensions: In this assignment you will identify an opportunity around tension by reflecting on past experiences to gain insight, making a plan for how you will manage or provoke tension with your team, and holding a session to address it directly.

4 Discussions
  • What was the last tension around ideas that you experienced on your team? How was it handled?

  • Think of a time when your team went through a period of tension that you didn’t process or you waited too long to process. What was the result?

  • How might you design spaces for your team to process tension together?

  • Describe a time you gave or received difficult feedback that led to a stronger bond between you and the other person.

Week 5: Conclusion

Review the different leadership approaches you can adopt to encourage creative collaboration and craft a plan to support your practice.
1 Video Lesson
  • Pass It On—Activate others to guide creative collaboration
1 Assignment
  • Final Reflection: In this assignment, you will reflect back across all the work you’ve done, reflect on any impact you have started to see, and set yourself up for a future of continued practice.

1 Discussion
  • How might you begin to pass on some of the skills associated with guiding creative collaboration?

Meet Your Instructors

Mike Peng

Former Partner & Managing Director, IDEO

Mike founded and oversaw IDEO in Japan and greater Asia, leading key client relationships, guiding projects, and mentoring design teams. He was a visiting lecturer at Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design (CIID), Tokyo University, Keio University, and Kyushu University and previously worked as an adjunct professor at NYU's Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, teaching public policy, urban planning, and nonprofit management students how to use design thinking to solve complex problems.

More About Mike

Heather Currier Hunt

Former Senior Global Director of Learning & Development At IDEO

Heather led IDEO's Global Learning & Development Team and the strategy, design, and implementation of a promise—to ensure IDEO is an organization that offers everyone, regardless of role or tenure, the opportunity to become a world-changing creative leader. Heather has an MFA from The New School and a bachelor’s degree in English from Barnard College.

More About Heather

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

Catherine Pisani
Catherine Director, Operational Standards Planned Parenthood Arizona, Inc.
Chee Ming Loh
Chee Ming HR Project Manager Toyota Tsusho Corporation
Kasia Wasko McCabe
Kasia Lead UX Designer Amazon
Marialena Koutli
Marialena Creative Problem Solving Trainer whatanIDEA
Cultivating Creative Collaboration
Cohort Course

“This course provided the framework and tools to dig in and engage in deeply meaningful conversations. I feel like my practices have improved and my team is working much more efficiently. People feel valued and seen within our team now.”

Catherine Phoenix, AZ
Cultivating Creative Collaboration
Cohort Course

"In a world full of wicked problems, we need more people who can help teams be more collaborative and creative. This course gives you a set of very practical tools that you can easily practice and pass on to others.”

Chee Ming Japan
Cultivating Creative Collaboration
Cohort Course

“This course covered information that I've never found before. It's changed my perspective on what leadership looks like and provided me with great tools to help foster innovation and collaboration!”

Kasia Seattle, WA
Cultivating Creative Collaboration
Cohort Course

“The course is very actionable. It strikes the right balance between theory and practice and teaches the new skills in a very systematic and comprehensive way.”

Marialena Greece

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