Transfer, Practice & Training

HPI Certification Program for Design Thinking Coaches

Design thinking is one of the world’s most popular approaches for establishing a dynamic, human-centered, purpose driven innovation culture in organizations. Our experience has shown that in order for innovation teams to reach their full potential, they need the guidance of well-trained design thinking coaches. With this in mind, we decided to launch the HPI Certification Program for Design Thinking Coaches in 2015.  


  • Participants learn to recognize the potential of innovation teams and how to activate them, 
  • to apply and teach the methods and principles of design thinking in various organizational contexts and 
  • to discover their own coaching style and develop their coaching skills.  

Key Facts


Detailed dates for the program Start March 10, 2022

Design-Thinking-Deep-Dive: 10. – 11. March 2022
Train-the-Trainer: Coaching a Team: 27. – 29. April 2022
Train-the-Trainer: Coaching in Context: 22. – 24. June 2022

Shadow & Solo Coaching as well as Masterclasses: By individual arrangement.

Detailed dates for the program Start September 01, 2022

Design-Thinking-Deep-Dive: 01. – 02. September 2022
Coaching a Team: 28. – 30. September 2022
Coaching in Context: 23. – 25. November 2022

Shadow & Solo Coaching as well as Masterclasses: By individual arrangement.

Workshop language

Bilingual (German/English). 

All workshops in training and the transfer modules are being held in English. The teams work either in German or English, depending on the preference and ability of the team members.


HPI Academy, Potsdam 

Target audience

The program is aimed at people who have experience with design thinking and want to deepen their knowledge and confidence in order to be able to coach teams effectively. In addition, experience working as a coach, moderator or teacher is helpful. The program broadly targets three groups of people: 

  • People who practice design thinking in professional contexts and want to teach it to others. 
  • Teachers, trainers, and coaches who want to expand their portfolio of methods and 
  • Consultants and strategists in the public, private, and non-profit sectors who want to work as coaches in their organizations. 
  • Here are some examples of job titles of our alumni: Head of the School of Education, Professor, Project Manager, Product Owner, Customer Experience Consultant, Innovation Strategist, Agile Coach, Founder, and more. 


17.500 EUR (plus VAT)

We also offer an In-House Train-the-Trainer Program for Design Thinking Coaches with a minimum of 10 participants.

For further information please click here.

Further information

If you are interested in participating in the Certification Program, we look forward to receiving your application.

This should include the following:

  • a completed registration form
  • your résumé
  • a meaningful letter in which you briefly describe your personal motivation for participating in the program. In addition, please explain how your previous experience fits into the framework of the program. And finally, we are interested in what you can personally contribute to the program.

If you need further advice on whether the program might suit you, please register for our info sessions!

Register here for January 28, 2022

Register here for February 18, 2022

Register here for March 4, 2022

The Certification Program requires 20 days of in-person and online attendance, spread over approximately one year.  Upon completion of the program, participants will have the methodological competence, practical experience and personal confidence to successfully support teams through design thinking projects. 


  • Become an HPI Certified Design Thinking Coach. 
  • Learn at the European hub for design thinking and join an international & globally-connected community of participants & coaches 
  • Participate in the most comprehensive train-the-trainer program on the market.  
  • Gain a high amount of practical experience through 11 days of practice until finishing the program. 
  • Enter a learning journey tailored to fit your individual availabilities and interests. 
  • Receive detailed, one-on-one and personal feedback on your coaching from our expert trainers. 
  • Get a comprehensive coaching manual and a digital method card set. Take a glance at the Manual here. 
  • Participate in our Masterclasses even as an Alumni. 
  • Continuous exchange between the HPI Academy and the other members of the Global Design Thinking Alliance (GDTA) to further develop the training of design thinking coaches. 


The curriculum consists of three components: Training, Practice and Transfer.  

Everyone participates in the three core training modules together, which take place on the HPI campus. The practice and transfer parts of the curriculum are then tailored to the personal interests, needs, and availabilities of each participant. 


Training – 8 days

The training part of the program consists of three core modules: one two-day Design Thinking Deep Dive workshop, and two three-day workshops, Train the Trainer 1 and Train the Trainer 2. 

Deep Dive: Design Thinking & You 

This workshop gives participants the chance to refresh and expand their understanding of design thinking. The first part is a deep dive into the innovation mindset of a design thinker. Here, the aim is for all participants to experience the mindset elements through various activities, reflect and finally consider what to take away from the experience. The second part is dedicated to exploring the design thinking process and its six phases. Here the aim is firstly to understand the logic of the process as a whole, then to zoom into each phase, and finally to reflect on how the mindset and process fit together. 

Train the Trainer 1: Coaching a Team 

Here, participants start by building their confidence in guiding teams through the design thinking process. They then explore the characteristics of different styles of coaching, before reflecting on their own style. Finally, participants consider the impact of team dynamics on design thinking projects and explore various strategies to deal with them effectively. Over three days, participants have various opportunities to try out their skills as team coaches in a safe space. For the whole duration of the training, our experienced HPI Academy coaches provide continuous, intensive support and personalized feedback to all participants. 

Train the Trainer 2: Coaching in Context 

This workshop aims to place the activity of coaching a team into its wider context within a company or organization. As such, this module mainly focuses on the preparation and follow-up work that a coach undertakes in order to lead a successful design thinking project. We start by exploring different formats for design thinking projects. Using real-life challenges submitted by course participants, teams then design a detailed project roadmap which takes into account the bigger picture, such as the organization or company’s strategy, internal culture or constraints. 

Practice – 11 days

In addition to the three core training modules, each participant completes a personalized learning journey consisting of eleven days of practical experience. The purpose of the practice days is to support participants in developing their coaching skills, building up their confidence through experience, and experimenting with different coaching styles. Additionally, they can experience first-hand the challenges that arise when design thinking is coached in different set-ups, or with different participants. During their practice days, participants are always accompanied by our experienced coaches, who are there to support them and give individual feedback. Several formats take place online. 

The Certification Program offers three types of practical experience: 


Here, participants have the opportunity to coach a team through the design thinking process themselves whilst receiving individual feedback from expert coaches. We work in partnership with various NGOs and non-profit organizations to give them a chance to experience design thinking and trainee coaches the chance to develop their skills and gain more practical coaching experience. 

Method Labs 

In these one-day formats coaches experience a deep dive into one of the six phases of the design thinking process. They explore various tools and methods which can be used to coach this phase, as well as experimenting with new ones. 

Shadow Coaching 

Participants are able to shadow experienced coaches at the HPI Academy. For example, they shadow a coach in the Design Thinking Introduction course, which is a three-day format for professionals. They observe, how the experienced coaches introduce design thinking and reflect together with them afterwards. Since shadow coaching can only be offered in offline formats, this offer is only sporadically available for the period of the Corona pandemic. 

Transfer – 1+ day

For the duration of the Certification Program, we constantly encourage participants to think about how to transfer learnings into their everyday work. In addition to this, we also offer different formats to support participants in transferring or expanding their knowledge and skills. These transfer formats also remain open to our Alumni.  


Masterclasses are one-day workshops that combine design thinking with other approaches in order to expand your toolbox. These can be anything from learning new skills (e. g. non-violent communication) to applications of design thinking in specific contexts (e. g. social innovation or implementation of corporate strategy). Finally, there are also masterclasses to test out highly experimental formats such as yoga thinking. Participation in at least one masterclass is required for the program. 

Virtual Experience Exchange (VEE) 

The VEEs are a platform for current participants and graduates of the Certification Program to exchange experiences and best practices. During each VEE, two coaches from the program showcase how they are working with design thinking. After the short presentations, other participants have the chance to ask questions. The VEEs take place as an online session, and a recording is sent out to everyone who was not able to participate.

Your Coaches

This thoughtfully curated program goes beyond the conventional way of teaching design thinking. It not only challenged my own way of coaching, but also how I look at problem solving, innovation and team dynamics. For me, the main highlights were the incredibly intelligent and diverse group of participants and the experienced HPI coaches. It is only through their skillful individual guidance and extensive feedback that I was able to grow as a coach. It truly has been an incredible and eyeopening journey these past months. I would highly recommend this program to anyone who is interested in becoming an enabler of change and taking their skills to the next level!

Ryan Wu

Experience Designer at Mc Kinsey & Company

Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

If you want to learn how to coach design thinking, this program must be at the top of your list. The HPI Team has put together an unmatched curriculum that, like Design Thinking itself, is biased towards action. The program is an intense and extremely rewarding experiential learning journey. I had one “Ahha moment” after the next! The program is taught by an incredibly diverse pool of talented practitioners, who introduced us to new theoretical perspectives and creative ways to use methodologies in practice. Thanks to the HPI Team for always going the extra mile to support me in reaching my goals!

Stefanie Hammer

Hammer Kommunikation

Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

All dates

Workshop / Program Date Location Language Costs Information


HPI Certification Program for Design Thinking Coaches

Potsdam Bilingual: German and English 17500 €
plus VAT


HPI Certification Program for Design Thinking Coaches

Potsdam Bilingual: German and English 17500 €
plus VAT

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