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The Design Museum, London
Next course starts 19 October 2023

Understand the purpose of design thinking in promoting innovation, and learn real-world applications and strategies for design thinking.

Key details


  • Regular fee: £1200


  • In person on campus over 1.5 days

    Day 1: 19 October 2023: 1pm – 6pm BST (registration from 12.30pm) at the Design Museum

    Day 2: 20 October 2023: 10am – 5pm BST (registration from 9.30am) at the RCA Battersea campus

Explore the emergent role of design within the landscape of innovation, the key players in design-led innovation teams, how to combine convergent and divergent thinking, the real world versus the world of ideas, the power of visualisation and ways to scale up your design concept.

Using case studies and innovation stories that draw from current exhibitions and the permanent collection at the Design Museum, the masterclass will explore the curatorial context and provide a rich and stimulating mixture of new ideas and practical tools.

At the core of the masterclass is the opportunity to work as part of a creative team on a real-world project that you bring to the session. Whatever business sector you are in, or level of design interest or expertise, this course will equip you with a robust model to apply design thinking in your own working life.

Our approach to design thinking

The Royal College of Art views Design Thinking as a form of people-centred innovation. Design solutions therefore derive from reframing problems from the perspective of the citizen or the customer, not the producer or service provider. The process is not scientifically neutral – it involves showing empathy and engagement with people’s lived experience. It also means resolving the contradictions between the real world of barriers and constraints and the abstract world of imagination and creative ideas. This masterclass will provide the tools and frameworks to bridge this divide.  

About the course

This practical Executive Masterclass will take participants through six main phases of design thinking: 

  • Discover
  • Define
  • Design
  • Develop
  • Deliver
  • Diffuse/Distribute

The benefits to you and your organisation include:

  • thorough understanding of design thinking as applied across a range of business and organisational challenges
  • a new model to reframe innovation projects through a design lens
  • experience of working collaboratively
  • access to global practice in design thinking
  • critical, creative and insightful thinking
  • ideation and visualisation skills to realise design innovations
  • empathic understanding of users / customers
  • interact and network with peers from different backgrounds and functions
  • a certificate of attendance.

You will learn:

  • an introduction to design thinking – theoretical principles and practical building blocks
  • real-world applications of design thinking and its outcomes
  • strategies for improving decision making by reframing innovation challenges in a people-centred way
  • ways to work effectively in teams
  • global best practice in how other organisations have used design thinking.

Learning takes place over 2 half-days in person where participants get taught as a group and work in smaller teams.

The sessions include a mix of:

  • three keynote lectures, e.g. ‘How I Think’ by a leading designer
  • a series of practical exercises
  • six ‘sprints’ through the six stages of the Design Thinking model
  • team creative workshops 
  • a final crit of project presentations by a panel of experts. 

Post course, we may offer a session with the course leader, Professor Jeremy Myerson, where participants have an opportunity to discuss key take-outs from the masterclass (optional).

Participants will come away from this course with:   

  • creative confidence to work in a team on design-led innovation 
  • a clear understanding of the different stages of the design thinking model
  • practical experience of applying the principles of design thinking on a project relevant to you
  • a reinvigorated sense of what can be achieved when taking a people-centred approach.

Anyone interested in transforming their organisation through the application of design thinking for innovation, including:

  • in-house R&D teams across all sectors
  • public-sector and third-sector business innovation teams
  • innovation directors
  • senior business managers
  • sales and marketing teams
  • policy makers
  • entrepreneurs.

The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum devoted to architecture and design, encompassing all elements of design, including fashion, product and graphic design. Since opening its doors in 1989, the museum has displayed everything from an AK-47 to high heels designed by Christian Louboutin. It has staged over 100 exhibitions, welcomed over 5 million visitors and showcased the work of some of the world’s most celebrated designers and architects including Paul Smith, Zaha Hadid, David Adjaye, Jony Ive, Miuccia Prada, Frank Gehry, Eileen Gray, Kenneth Grange, Jonathan Barnbrook and Dieter Rams. On 24 November 2016, The Design Museum relocated to Kensington, west London, where leading architectural designer John Pawson converted the interior of a 1960s Modernist building to create a new home for the museum.

Guest talk from Tom Wilson, Head of Collection and Research, Design Museum.

Delegates receive complementary tickets to the Design Museum exhibition:

REBEL: 30 Years of London Fashion

Opening to coincide with London Fashion Week, this landmark exhibition will be one of the most wide-ranging surveys of contemporary fashion culture ever staged in the UK. It will offer an unprecedented look at how careers in fashion are forged, and the multitude of opportunities London’s fashion scene offers young creatives.

Disclaimer: The information given is accurate at the time of publication, however, the RCA reserves the right to amend the described course as circumstances dictate.

This course will be delivered face to face at the Design Museum on the first day (map and addresses here) and at the RCA Battersea campus, Rausing Building on the second day (map and addresses here).


RCA Executive Education will continue to monitor the Covid-19 situation in the period up to the course dates.

Our planning incorporates the latest Government guidance as well as consideration of how best to ensure a safe and inclusive learning space for participants and staff team.

Our participants health, wellbeing and quality of experience while attending our on-campus courses is paramount to us.

Full details of the Covid safe guidelines in place for the course will be provided to you in advance of your start date with your welcome information.

Disclaimer: Change to online delivery

It may be necessary due to Covid-19 restrictions to change the mode of delivery to live online.

We will endeavour to notify all participants in advance of any changes, no later than 2 weeks before the course start date.

Terms & conditions apply.

Course team

Clara Gaggero Westaway

Clara Gaggero Westaway

Guest Speaker, Co-founder & Creative Director, Special Projects

Clara is a designer, inventor and educator leveraging human-needs to create meaningful innovation that addresses pressing societal issues. Her mission is to improve lives through hopeful and sustainable design solutions that encourage well-being and a healthy relationship with technology. She is the co-founder and creative director of award winning design and invention agency Special Projects and a thought-leader shaping the narrative on human-centred design. Whether this means empowering the elderly to use their mobile phones, reimagining the playground, or helping us focus on the present through calm technology, Clara’s concepts bring optimism and clarity to where society needs it most. Clara has designed products for the likes of BBC, Braun, the NHS, Google, Samsung, Sonos, Lego, Logitech and she has given talks and led workshops globally. Her critically acclaimed designs have been exhibited at MoMA in NY, Design Museum London and WAGNER:WERK Museum, Vienna. Clara is a Visiting Senior Lecturer at the Royal College of Art, a faculty member of Oxford University Said Business School OSLP. She advises young entrepreneurs on how to transform compelling ideas into successful businesses as Business Coach at InnovationRCA, the Royal College of Art’s centre for entrepreneurship and commercialisation, and has recently been appointed to advise on the Prince of Wales' environmental initiative, Terra Carta Design Lab, mentoring young and emerging designers as they create credible and sustainable solutions to the climate crisis.

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Contact us

Get in touch with Jo Chounta if you'd like to find out more about this or any of our other short courses.

Email us at
[email protected]
Executive Education Team