Frequently Asked Questions
- What is IDEO U exactly?
- IDEO U is an online school where anyone can unlock their creative potential to solve problems.
- What is the difference between an IDEO U course and IDEO U class?
IDEO U offers several 5-week online courses that run on a set calendar. Course learning is self-paced and requires approximately 3-5 hours/week over 5 weeks. Courses consist of interactive videos, activities, project challenges, access to course teaching teams, and feedback from a community of like-minded learners.
IDEO U Classes are online and on demand. They offer foundational understanding, practical skills, and mindsets you can apply immediately to your work. The total time commitment for classes is 1-3 hours. They must be completed within 90 days of purchase.
- When are courses available? Where can I find a course calendar?
On-demand classes can be purchased and taken at any time.
Multi-week courses run on a set 5-week schedule, with each course being offered a few times throughout the year. View our course calendar to see what courses are running next.
2. Payment & Registration
- Who can enroll to take an IDEO U course or class?
- IDEO U is for individuals and teams from all roles and industries who want to be more creative problem solvers. All you need is a desire to learn, and of course, an Internet connection. Learn more about Team Learning.
- How do I sign up and pay for an IDEO U class or course?
- Visit our website at ideou.com. You will need a credit card for payment via our secure payment system or you can pay using PayPal.
- I paid but still can't log in or see the course?
- Once payment has been processed, you will receive an order confirmation email and a separate welcome email. The welcome email provides instructions on how to log in and get started. If you can’t locate your welcome email, please check your spam folder. Email support if you still need assistance.
- How can I get a payment receipt to submit to my company for reimbursement?
- After your order is complete, you will automatically receive a detailed payment receipt that includes the following information:
- Order Number
- Your Address
- Payment Information
- Course(s) or Class(es) Purchased
- Can I buy a class or course for someone else?
You can purchase a class or course for multiple learners in a single transaction at ideou.com. Check the box "this course is for someone else," after the class or course has been added to your cart, and before you complete the purchase. After the purchase is complete, you are able to enroll your learners by logging in to or registering for an IDEO U Customer Account and clicking the red "Manage Learners" button.
- Are there any group discounts?
IDEO U does not offer group discounts at this time. Our classes and courses draw from our extensive experience in human-centered design and provide learners with the opportunity to learn through doing at an affordable price.
- Do I have to pay taxes or VAT on my class or course?
The answer to this depends on where you live, and which class or course you are purchasing. Different countries may require VAT on certain products. While most of our courses do not require we collect tax or VAT, if there is a requirement, you will see this added in your shopping cart total.
- What is the IDEO U Refund Policy?
- Is there an application when signing up for an IDEO U course?
We don't require learners to fill out any separate application after enrolling in one of our courses. Once you've submitted payment, you should receive a welcome email with login instructions. If you don't receive a welcome email, kindly send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org for further assistance.
3. Team Learning
- Does IDEO U allow for team or group to enroll together?
Yes, a team member can visit ideou.com, buy multiple seats for a class or course, and then enroll team members by registering their names and email addresses.
- What’s the difference between the individual and team learning experience?
Whether learning as an individual or as part of a team, IDEO U equips learners with the skills and mindsets of design thinking and creative leadership. Learning as a team helps to develop a more creative and collaborative team where people are encouraged to try new things and can execute bold new ideas by building creative confidence together.
Team learning is accompanied by a set of tools including a Team Learning Guide and Enrollment Dashboard. The Team Learning Guide is a resource to help lead team kickoff and debrief conversations, and is sent to all team learners upon class or course purchase and registration. The Enrollment Dashboard helps team leads manage team enrollment and completion.
Class and course time commitments are the same for all learners. Courses also provide teams with access to our teaching team and a global community of like-minded learners. The cost for individual and team learners is the same. Learn more about team learning.
- How do I add my team members to an IDEO U class or course?
When you purchase multiple seats for an IDEO U class or course, you will receive an email confirmation receipt and an email inviting you to register your team members. You will need to log into or register for your IDEO U Customer Account and follow these simple steps to register your individual team members.
- How do I know if my team has started or completed a class or course?
When taking a class or course with your team, you will have access to an Enrollment Dashboard to see your team’s progress. This dashboard is located in your IDEO U Customer Account page and available at any time. The data provided highlights whether a learner has logged in and if a learner has completed the class or course they are a part of.
For larger teams enrolled in 5-week courses:
To help set your team up for success, we recommend teams establish a dedicated team leader who is taking the course. The team leader can review the Enrollment Dashboard 3-5 days after the course start date (and remind team members if they have not logged in), and again 5 days before the course closes (and remind team members who have not yet completed the course that it is soon to close). To plan ahead, the specific course dates are available in the course syllabus (provided once you are logged into the learning platform, NovoEd).
- How do I remove or replace a team member from a class or course?
IDEO U allows you to remove and replace team members from enrollment in a class or course as long as it fits the guidelines outlined below. To do so, log into your IDEO U Customer Account and navigate to the Manage Learners page. You can remove people that have not yet registered and started the class or course by selecting their name, and clicking “Delete Learner.” You are also able to add new team members by typing in their first name, last name, and email address.
Guidelines for removing or adding team members:
- For an IDEO U 5-week course you will not be able to remove or replace learners if the learner has accepted the invitation or once the course starts. Course run dates are included in the purchase receipt.
- For an IDEO U on-demand class, you will not be able to remove or replace learners if the learner has accepted the invitation or after the class purchase has expired which is 90 days after the original purchase date.
- How do I enroll team members in bulk?
Log into or register for your IDEO U Customer Account and navigate to the Manage Learners page. You can upload team members in bulk by using our .csv template and uploading to the site.
- What’s the best way to manage my team through the course or class?
We’ve learned teams who get the most value are those who experience the class together. That’s why we’ve built Team Learning Guides.
4. Courses & Classes
- What happens if I can't complete a course or class before it ends?
- If you are unable to complete a class or course before your access time runs out, please send an email to our support team so we can find a reasonable solution for you. Our goal is to provide the best learner experience possible.
- Does my time zone matter?
Our online courses can be taken anywhere in the world. Though scheduled over a set 5-week calendar, course learning is flexible and self-paced so you can learn at a time that works best for you. During a course run, your course teaching team may host scheduled virtual conversations which are optional. If you aren’t able to make it, don’t worry, these are purely optional.
- Can I access IDEO U classes and courses on my smartphone or tablet?
Yes, you can. IDEO U works on most mobile devices.
- Can I download the videos to save on my device?
Unfortunately not. Our videos are only available to access during the stated access period and when you are logged into a class or course.
- How are courses structured? Do they include live webinars?
At IDEO U, we believe in learning by doing. Building design thinking and creative leadership skills requires practice and pushing outside your comfort zone. In our courses, you’ll learn through engaging video lessons, hands-on activities, sharing insights, and gathering feedback. You’ll gain fresh perspectives that will expand your thinking and push you to bold new ideas through practice and discussion with a community of like-minded learners.
IDEO U offers several 5-week online courses that run on a set calendar. Course learning is self-paced and requires approximately 4 hours/week over 5 weeks. Courses consist of interactive videos, activities, project challenges, access to course teaching teams, and feedback from a global community of learners.
Courses are designed to be completed at your own pace within the course run dates. We provide recommended due dates throughout the course to help keep you stay on track, but they are not mandatory deadlines. All assignments are due at the end of the course in order to receive an IDEO U Certificate of Completion. A good best practice is to start the course the day it opens and complete your lessons one week at a time.
We also offer on-demand online classes. You’ll walk away with a foundational understanding, practical skills, and mindsets you can apply immediately to your work. All classes must be completed within 90 days from date and time of purchase.
- How do I download the class or course content for future reference?
We provide a select portion of the course and class materials to download for future reference. These resources include the course syllabus, and toolkit for the multi-week courses. For classes, these resources are a Journey Map or Activity workbook depending on the class you select.
- What languages are IDEO U classes and courses offered in?
Right now, most IDEO U courses are only offered in English, with the exception of Hello Design Thinking, which is also available in Spanish. We hope to add more languages in the future, so be on the lookout!
- What is the timeline for on-demand classes? When can I enroll?
All of our on-demand classes are available for enrollment at any time. You will have 90 days of access to the class material from the date and time of purchase.
- What is the timeline for the IDEO U courses? When can I enroll?
IDEO U courses run in scheduled 5-week increments throughout the year. Visit our course calendar to see our upcoming course schedule.
Keep in mind that IDEO U courses are self-paced but need to be completed within the published course dates. Each course has a set start and end date, so be sure to check that you have enough time to complete the course during the allotted time before enrolling.
- In which order do you recommend taking classes and courses?
The best order for our courses depends on your existing design thinking experience. You can also take this quick quiz to find the course that best meets your specific needs.
- If you’re looking for an introduction to design thinking, or would like to build a common language around design thinking within your team, consider taking Hello Design Thinking, an on-demand introductory class.
- If you’re new to design thinking, but would like a deeper understanding of the concepts—even if you’ve taken a workshop or boot camp—we recommend taking our foundational courses first: Insights for Innovation and From Ideas to Action.
- If you're coming to IDEO U with deeper experiences with insights, perhaps you’re a researcher or marketer and you want to learn more about ideation and prototyping, check out our From Ideas to Action course.
- If you have deeper experience with prototyping,like software developers or engineers, and want to learn more about design research and insights, Insights for Innovation is for you.
- For current and aspiring leaders, we recommend our creative leadership courses, Leading for Creativity, Designing for Change, and Storytelling for Influence.
Our multi-week courses also provide a great place to practice and a connected community with which you can share your learnings.
- What times and days are IDEO U courses or classes held?
Courses are designed to be self paced during the set course dates and do not require doing coursework at a specific time or day. On-demand classes can be completed anytime within the 90-day time period from date of purchase.
- For IDEO U courses, when are my assignments due?
Courses are designed to be completed at your own pace within the course run dates. We provide recommended due dates throughout the course to help keep you on track, but they are not mandatory deadlines. All assignments are due at the end of the course in order to receive an IDEO U Certificate of Completion. A good best practice is to start the course the day it opens and complete your lessons one week at a time.
- Will I be able to take the same IDEO U course or class again in the future?
You are welcome to register again and as many times as you like, though you would have to pay the full course fee each time.
- Once I complete an IDEO U course or class, do I get a certificate?
Yes, you will receive a certificate of completion upon successful completion of all course assignments.
We also offer two special certificates for completing multiple courses and classes: the Foundations in Design Thinking Certificate and the Advanced Design Thinking Certificate. These certificates are issued within two weeks of completing the last required course or class.
- Are there different Certificates of Completion for learners who take multiple classes and courses?
We currently offer a Foundations in Design Thinking Certificate which encompasses both our Insights for Innovation and From Ideas to Action 5-week courses. You can begin with either course, but to earn the design thinking certificate you need to complete both courses in their entirety.
We also offer an Advanced Design Thinking Certificate, which builds on IDEO U's Foundations in Design Thinking Certificate to help you deepen your design thinking skills, advance your practice, and have a greater impact through your work.
- Are IDEO U classes and courses eligible for educational credit?
While our courses are not currently accredited or eligible for educational credit, you will receive an IDEO U Certificate of Completion by submitting all assignments prior to course close. Each assignment is pass/fail and not graded numerically.
- What’s the difference between the +Acumen course (Design Kit) and IDEO U courses?
The biggest difference between the +Acumen course (Design Kit) and IDEO U courses is access to community and support. During an IDEO U course, learners have access to a community of like-minded learners and a dedicated teaching team who provide insights and feedback to content related discussions. IDEO U customer support is also available to provide answers related to logistics, payment, and other needs.
IDEO U 5-week courses are specific to certain applications of design thinking like Storytelling for Influence or Leading for Creativity whereas the +Acumen course offers a high-level view of design thinking created to provide context and not necessarily understanding or mastery.
- Who do I talk to if I have a question during the class or course?
For general inquiries, you can send questions to support and we will get back to you within 24 hours on Mondays through Fridays, 9am to 5pm PST. Weekend and holiday inquiries may take longer to receive a reply.
While taking an IDEO U course, you have access to your teaching team and can reach out to them on your course discussion boards or via direct message in the learning platform. We also encourage you to reach out to fellow learners to discuss ideas.
- Can I do a class all in one sitting or is it recommended over a few sessions?
Classes are not designed to be completed in one sitting, however it is definitely possible to complete a class in one sitting, if that is your preference. We do recommend that you space a class across a couple of sessions to best digest the content.
- Can I take/enroll in multiple classes/courses at the same time?
You may take multiple classes and/or courses at the same time. If you do decide to take multiple at once, we ask that you are fully aware of the time commitment and can reserve enough time to take advantage of all the course and class content. For courses, we recommend 3-5 hours per week per course. Classes typically require a shorter time commitment than courses.
- What's the best way to learn about what's happening at IDEO U?