Do you really need a Design Thinking Certification ...

… aren’t you already a Design Thinking Professor?”, my former boss asked me when I reported that I will join the Design Thinking Coach Education of Nestlé. Last December I graduated and here are my reflections on the value of the program for me and for the Design Thinking community.

by Timo Sackmann

Actually I wasn’t sure for myself if it makes sense to spend 2 weeks at Nestlé Headquarter to learn something which I was doing for more than 10 years already. But since I was mainly self-taught in Design Thinking, I was curious how such institutionalized program looks like. Furthermore benchmarking seemed very useful for my former corporate since I was supporting the build-up of its own corporate Design Thinking program in those days.

Nestlé is part of the Design at Business Community and offers community members to join their Design Thinking Coach Education. A comparable education is about 15.000-20.000 Euros on the educational market.

Innovation Coach Certification

But to make it short: the program is priceless.

From the education I got three very powerful assets:

  1. Practice and reflection of (partially new) methods and tools including shadowing and feedback by experts
  2. The structure of a professional certification program
  3. A network of Design Thinkers of Nestlé and other enterprises

Additionally, to a HPI background my coaches were raised in an corporate environment and had a good understanding of the special playground in large enterprises. Furthermore other Non-Nestlé participants of other companies brought in their experience with design transformation. I guess you rarely get this set-up in on the educational market.


My key learnings from the program beside the skills mentioned above:

  1. Design Thinking is beyond the hype and is becoming the lingua franca for human-centric innovation of enterprises, institutions and universities. Design Thinking might become the game changer which eventually enables Europe to unleash its full innovation potential.
  2. A culture of co-creation and sharing is emerging since enterprises are realizing the relevance of innovation eco-systems instead of trying to
  3. There are plenty of people out there, let’s call them idealists, who want to build the a human-centric future by technological means. This network is very powerful source of inspiration, support and opportunities.

The latter is a very important take away, a treasure, when you have again the feeling that your fighting windmills for the customers, employees or human centricity in a finance driven environment. This is just the beginning of a (more) human transformation of business.

Special Thanks you Design at Business, Nestlé and Joern Bruecker, Karma Morcos Madlen Medina

published on linkedin by

Timo Sackmann

User Experience Researcher and Design Thinking Coach

End of last year I graduated the #DesignThinking program of #nestlé. Twice a year Nestlé offers seats not only to their employees but also to members of the #designatbusiness community. In this article I share some thoughts on the value of this program for experienced coaches and the impact of design thinking within #innovation #ecosystems.