The Designing for Social Innovation and Leadership Course
The DSIL Course is a globally certified development short course designed for professionals from all sectors who are ready to expand their leadership skills through learning emerging innovation practices. The experiential curriculum consists of interactive 10-day field immersions in Southeast Asia followed by live Virtual Classrooms where you will find yourself building greater capacity to create, think critically, and move ideas into action in highly diverse groups. At the same time, you'll be evolving too- reflecting on who you are as a leader. Join our ecosystem of courageous individuals, thriving start-ups, dedicated social enterprises and progressive for-profit companies solving complex problems in effective ways. After the course, bring all that you have absorbed back to your teams where you work and live to ignite positive impact in your companies and communities.
The DSIL Course Curriculum
The DSIL Course Curriculum components embody the elements we know will lead to the continued development of highly aware individuals who will cast that learning forward for social innovation. Collectively, these individuals will have a more intentional and thoughtful impact on the direction of the world whether that be for the purpose of business, movements, personal development or social change projects. We teach complex problem-solving through the well-researched methods of design thinking and in the field; where theory moves to practice! See more about how design thinking works for Business Innovation and Solution Building for Social Problems!
The Short Course has 5 Components.
+ 10 Day Field Immersions
2017 Field Immersions Offered in Thailand, Indonesia, Cambodia
The field immersions are built to accelerate capacity in innovative practices. We use design thinking, or more simply- complex problem-solving methods- that can be used both personally and professionally. The immersions are created with the communities we have the opportunity to engage and the days are filled with workshops and design sprints solving real challenges. We work in highly diverse teams alongside local partners from academia, grassroots movements, leading social enterprises and entrepreneurial ecosystem drivers. Participants will discover first-hand development and scaling challenges while investigating complexities that need to be considered for an effective design process in any sector. While in Southeast Asia, the experienced DSIL team will intentionally coach you to lean into your own learning edge, to practice creativity, and expose you to a myriad of activities that will help you look inward at your own personal impact. You won't find anything like a traditional academic environment on the DSIL Course- we are all teachers and students in the immersions and we learn by asking questions and experimenting at every turn.
+ Virtual Classroom
Join from Anywhere - We are Online Worldwide
The VC comprises a series of live online sessions with thought leaders from around the world who are evolving the discussion and experimentation with new practices at the exciting intersection of business and catalyzing change in the world through other ways. These sessions offer depth and interactive dialog on layered problems, emerging learnings, brave provocations and open sourced data. Every year, the DSIL team chooses sessions that will push the way you see the world and offer wider perspectives. The VC can be taken on its own and is included with field immersion.
+ DSIL Challenges
We learn by 'doing' and 'doing with' others
At DSIL, we center are anchored by two things: experiential learning (doing) and learning alongside others (doing with). During the Virtual Classroom and the DSIL Immersions you will be asked to complete a number of hands-on challenges that will facilitate meaningful and heightened self-awareness while practicing different design methodologies in your local context. The DSIL Challenges also offer effective leaderships practices to try in your own company or community. What happens as a result? You will feel increased confidence with your sharpened skills and tools by the end of the course that you will be able to shape them to fit into your life, work, and geographical context.
+ Building Your Network
The best part of the course are the others around you
Every year the DSIL evaluations strongly confirm that one of the most valuable assets to the course is the people that you will travel, experiment, and learn beside. DSIL participants are selected for their ability to show bias towards action, radical openness, critical thinking, and a readiness for upward growth. Collectively, we encourage the practice of authenticity to ensure the creation of a highly generative and collaborative community that you will be able to re-create again in any situation after experiencing all the components your group engaged with to make it possible. Throughout the Course you'll have access to peer mentorship and Executive Coaching from our certified team. Through doing, dialogue, discussions, and storytelling you will find other participants, the DSIL team, speakers and organizations you meet along the way becoming a part of your long lasting #dsilstory.
= Ripple Effect
Apply What You've Learned and Teach it Forward
All of our facilitators teach in a 'train the trainer' format so that you take the sharpened skill sets forward to others in your companies and communities. Upon completion of the Virtual Classroom and/or Field Immersion, plus conquering the DSIL Challenges, you will receive the Executive Certificate in 'Practices of Designing Thinking, Innovation and Leadership' from the Centre for Executive Education at the United Nations University for Peace. Our alumni have proven that the course was a launchpad that pushed them towards a new level of awareness and action- generating positive ripples in their lives and in the lives of others.
Take a Look
Watch the DSIL Alumni tell their own #DSILstory
Sawako | Japan
A College Professor and Local Activist
Sawako came to learn about innovative solutions in the grassroots.
Christopher | Austria
An Entrepreneur and Creative
Chris came to learn about the practice and theory of design thinking.
Mansi | India
An Intrapreneur and Problem Solver
Mansi came to learn about authentic communication and leadership.
Where do our Alumni work?
Corporations, Nonprofits , Entrepreneurs, Designers, Dreamers, and Educators come from around the world.
Alumni work across sectors sometimes for themselves and often in global companies like IBM, Salesforce, UNICEF, UNDP, Shell, LuLu Lemon, Delft University, Stanford University, United Way, Tipping Point, the Asian Development Bank and Deloitte amongst many others. See their profiles here.
We let Alumni speak for themselves!
111 DSIL Course Alumni from over 45 Countries and counting
"I feel empowered to use design thinking, not only as a framework but as a perspective or lens I can use day to day. I truly think I approach challenges and problems differently as a result of my experience at DSIL Course, and see opportunities where I normally wouldn't. I've learned about the importance of trusting the process and that ambiguity leads to innovation. I've felt personally fulfilled by meeting so many like-minded, curious, passionate people who are also dedicated to creating a kinder and better world."
"My job sent me to learn about innovation and I had no idea the level that it would change the way I understood my own leadership as well. I went back to work on fire and that has been contagious for my teams."
"This was the place I started my business. I had the idea and the Course and all it's tools helped me think through it and bring it into a tangible living thing that has helped me create a income and impact.
"My daily schedule has changed, my lifestyle has changed. The different lens I was exposed to made a major impact on me and the way I see and interact with the world."
Academic Partners and Collaborators
The DSIL Course is delivered in academic partnership with the CEE and dozens of inspiring organizations, companies and individuals spanning the globe.
Centre for Executive Education (CEE),
UN Mandated University for Peace
The United Nations Mandated University for Peace (UPEACE), based in El Rodeo, Costa Rica, was created by the General Assembly of the United Nations to provide an educational framework for the ensuring a secure and equitable world for humanity and future generations. See The DSIL Course featured in the Annual Report here in our first year.
'Why the Next Generation of Designers Will Save the World'
Volume 25, Issue 2, pages 42–46, Summer 2014
The WHY for Starting DSIL Course by Course Founder Courtney Lawrence