Idean Leadership Series

Idean Design Academy: Design Leadership

Start the design-led journey

Design has become a powerful and strategic tool to build a bolder future and transform your business. Design leadership tools and techniques–empowered by design thinking– help all parts of your company communicate and align, and create new products faster. Design teams help to reframe problems and solve business challenges in dialogue with others. Too often, though, there is a disconnect between design and other business units.

This workshop teaches practical methods for you to create a company-wide understanding and a scalable framework so all teams are equipped to design better products together.

You’ll join the leaders across industries to grapple with real-life design leadership challenges. Together, we’ll dive into collaborative activities, focused discussions, and courageous explorations of the path of Design Leadership.

The Guest Speaker at the Design Academy is Matt Cutler, Design Thinking Transformation Lead at Cisco.

The design leader is a visionary, a bit of a lighthouse, to help explore what the company could look like.Eric Quint — Chief Design Officer at 3M
  • Creative environment

  • Challenge yourself

  • Graduation ceremony

Focus on the value of design

Understand how reknown companies across industries use design thinking to accelerate organisational transformation. Unpack the value of design inside your organization. We will examine and discuss the following questions:

  • How do we value design today?
  • How do we measure the impact of design?
  • What does a sustainable design culture look like in an organization?
  • What are the phases of transforming an organization?
  • How might you be an empowering design leader?


  • Michelle Trudo

    Director of Idean Design Academy, Idean

    Michelle leads the Idean’s Design Academy with a blend of years of industry and academic experience. She is passionate about facilitating design thinking practices, training, and education for design teams and business leaders. Michelle believes design teams and business leaders can align and drive better customer experiences with measurable outcomes by practicing design thinking methods.

  • Chuck Hildebrand

    Insights and Education Lead, Idean

    Chuck is the Insights and Education Lead for the Idean Design Academy. She draws on her experience as an experience researcher, strategist and educator to help people dive into design thinking with gusto so they can quickly see its effects in their work and in lives. She is always hunting for ways to weave practical empathy into systems and interactions so that people feel supported, understood and, ultimately, triumphant.

  • Matt Cutler

    Design Thinking Transformation Lead, Cisco

    Since January of 2017, Matt Cutler has been driving Cisco’s Design Thinking transformation. In the past year he secured internal funding (directly from Cisco Finance), and assembled a small, high functioning team that convened a cross-functional stakeholder group consisting of 30+ of the most senior design leaders from across all of Cisco. With this group, he developed a Cisco-specific Design Thinking framework, published and printed a 175-page guide to ‘Getting Started with Cisco Design Thinking,’ which so far have had more than 6,000 Cisco employees from every organization and geography opt-in to get more information about the Cisco program.


Day 1

  • Hands-on Activities & Methods: Learn new methods you can bring into your organization to inspire better collaboration and business alignment.
  • Co-creation Dialog: In order to create change, you need to discover the full spectrum of perspectives and enroll the right people in important issues.
  • Problem Reframing: Identify the right problems to solve by reframing your challenge.
  • Academy Dinner: Share the day’s learnings over a dedicated dinner

Day 2

  • Challenge Map: Assess your own organizational design challenges.
  • Building Empathy: Practicing a state, person, emotion, thing, or an instruction.
  • Measuring Design Impact: Learn how to be a better leader at a strategic level by determining metrics that can help you measure design impact in your organization.
  • Closing Ceremony: Celebrate your workshop achievements with your alumni group.

The experience

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Thoughts from our past attendees: