Cooper U: We preach what we practice

Design Leadership

Design Leadership students working together.

Increase your influence and leverage your colleagues’ talents to achieve a shared vision.

Ever had an innovative and beautiful idea that never saw the light of day? Feel like your organization believes in the value of design, but prioritizes deadlines over fully developed ideas? These are symptoms of unhealthy communication and collaboration. If you feel frustrated, alone, or powerless, we can introduce you to principles and practices that will give you more influence over the outcomes of your interactions with others.

In this intensive, two-day course you will learn from Cooper experts who’ve been coaching companies to deliver better products and services for 20 years. Learn how to diagnose the unique challenges your team or organization is facing and get to the root of the communication roadblocks. Get hands-on experience with communications tools like storytelling to promote big ideas and get buy-in. Use collaborative techniques that help you create an environment that invites participation. Afterwards, you’ll have the ability to guide the creation of products and services that are financially viable, technically feasible, and that your customers love. Most of all you’ll have the skills to become a leader in your organization.

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Who should attend

Designers who want to create buy-in and build credibility within their organizations. Product managers, developers, marketers, and technology experts. Anyone who is committed to a great user experience and wants to develop their leadership skills and to communicate more effectively.

Course topics

  • Leadership
  • Communication and collaboration
  • Managing up
  • Giving and receiving feedback
  • Storytelling and pitching

What participants will learn

  • The distinguishing traits of leaders and how to cultivate those qualities within yourself
  • How to assess the interpersonal, communication, and collaboration dynamics at play in your team or organization
  • How to recognize and leverage the distinct mental models, goals, and needs of business, engineering and design stakeholders
  • Approaches to reducing ambiguity and increasing transparency throughout the design process
  • Techniques for gaining alignment around vision, process, and outcome
  • Managing differences in the way you and your boss(es) orient to uncertainty, time, control, and information processing
  • Cooper’s approach to thought partnership (Pair Design)
  • Techniques for keeping design reviews anchored in business value and user goals
  • Using persuasion and rhetoric to sell your product vision and get buy-in

This course assumes that participants have a grasp on the following concepts:

  • Design research
  • Personas
  • Context scenarios
  • Requirements definition using scenarios
  • Interaction frameworks

What people are saying

“Very hands-on, practical advice you can use in a real-world setting.”

“Every Design Lead should take this course!”

“This class gave me insight on how to better convey ideas; involve colleagues along the way; and generally work more as a team.”

“Our program managers should take this course to get a better understanding of the issues design teams have and how to prevent and resolve these issues.”

“Great material on a really complex topic.”

“[The instructor] drew on real experience, shared failures, as well as successes. She's great at pulling out the insights from exercises.”

“I highly recommend this class. Learn about planning workshops; structuring design reviews.”

Organizational Training

If you have a large group or you want a combination of courses and workshops suited your team’s unique needs, we can bring Cooper U to you.