• The Innovation and Leadership Course



  • This certified 5-month Vertical Leadership Development course was designed for established leaders. Here, you will work through complex challenges using design thinking sprints in real-time cases, yours included. Alongside a hyper-diverse cohort, the course will guide you to cultivate the future skills needed to lead well in an ever-evolving world.
  • The DSIL Course Sequence

    This course was designed for the modern day leader with their schedules in mind.

    9 day Immersion in Southeast Asia

    9 day Immersion

    Southeast Asia



    Online Virtual Classrooms

    Virtual Classrooms




    DSIL Challenges

    DSIL Challenges

    At Home



    Expand your network of global leaders

    Expand your Network




    Executive coaching

    Executive Coaching





  • Only 15% of people will reach the highest stage of Vertical Leadership Development.

    Are you one of them?

  • What is Vertical Leadership Development?

    Vertical Leadership Development refers to the intentional advancement of a leader. The outcome is to think in more complex, systemic, strategic, and interdependent ways while increasing emotional intelligence. For us at DSIL, we believe in any leader developing holistically. Swipe any way to learn about the elements of VLD that are interwoven throughout the DSIL Course.

    Vertical Leadership Development has three criteria: the what, the how and the who.

    Three Criteria for Vertical Leadership


    We work with each participant in Vertical Leadership Development while teaching the process of design thinking. Becoming a higher functioning leader is tied to implementing new tools and processes effectively.

    Vertical Leadership Development requires heat experiences, facing complex challenges that expand your thinking.

    Heat Experiences

    The What - In heat experiences, you face complex challenges where you will have to expand your thinking. During the course, facilitators assist you in searching for better ways to make sense of the root of complex challenges and how to bring people in to experiment with solutions.

    Vertical Leadership Development requires colliding perspectives, being exposed to different worldviews, opinions, backgrounds and experiences.

    Colliding Perspectives

    The Who - You will be exposed to many colliding perspectives where you will gain intimate exposure to people with different worldviews, opinions, backgrounds, and experiences. These differences will increase the number of lenses through which you are able to see the world and help you design solutions that work for more people.

    Vertical Leadership Development requires elevated sensemaking, reflecting and evaluating what you are observing in the world with others around you.

    Elevated Sensemaking

    The How - Elevated sensemaking involves reflecting and evaluating what you are observing in the world with others around you. At this stage, we introduce progressive facilitation and strategy tools to help you make sense of diverse perspectives in clear way that offer new paths forward.

  • 2018 Innovation Theme:

    The Details of Design Thinking

    A well-defined, robust, creative and rapid problem-solving method

    The design thinking method is an innovation process that allows for deeper and wider understanding of complex challenges.

    The Design Thinking method is an innovation process that allows for deeper and wider understanding of complex challenges and how to build solutions for them. Ideal for any person looking to set themselves apart, Design Thinking is a tool that has helped facilitate the creation of user-focused solutions in organizations like Google, IBM, Clorox, Nike, UNICEF, and World Vision.


    At the DSIL Course, you'll actively learn and embody the design thinking process and the mindsets they require through engaging in design sprints with community groups, companies and provocative enterprises in Southeast Asia.

  • Alumni Story:

    Sawako | Japan

    Sawako came to learn about creating innovative grassroot solutions that she could teach forward at her University.

    Alumni Story:

    Chris | Austria

    An Entrepreneur and Creative, Chris came to learn about the practice and of design thinking.


    Alumni Story:

    Mansi | India

    An Intrapreneur and Problem Solver, Mansi came to learn about authentic communication and leadership.

  • What You'll Learn

    • The details of design thinking (or human-centered design) mindsets and skills.
    • How to lead co-creation with a diverse group of cultures and perspectives.
    • How to use storytelling as an effective tool to amplify ideas and ignite your teams.
    • Master the interdependent collaborator mindset: see systems, patterns, and connections while holding multiple perspectives of the world around you.
    • Increase your emotional intelligence score.
    • How to teach forward what you learn; we teach to train so that you may drive innovation in your organization/community for years to come.

  • At the DSIL Innovation and Leadership Course, learning is layered for busy leaders.

    Learn more about each phase in the 5-months.

    Your learning will be layered with unique experiences, new tools, lots of practice, a support network, and a coach walking with you along the way.

    The DSIL Innovation and Leadership Course includes the Virtual Classrooms featuring global thought leaders in innovation and leadership.

    Virtual Classrooms

    Our Virtual Classrooms were created with the curious, time-crunched leader in mind. 


    Virtual Classrooms are 60-minute meet-ups led by the world's foremost thought leaders on topics such as organizational change, social innovation, empathy, design thinking for life and work, authentic leadership, and entrepreneurship.


    Our speakers have represented University of California Berkeley Executive Coaching Institute, the Stanford d.school, MIT D-Lab, and THNK School of Creative Leadership to name a few. Click to view past classrooms.

    The 9-day field immersion in Southeast Asia provides a unique opportunity for Vertical Leadership Development.

    9-day field immersion

    You will not find anything like a traditional academic environment on the DSIL Course. 


    At DSIL, we believe that learning occurs through questioning, reflecting, and experimenting during every experience. We use design thinking methods that can be used both professionally and personally. The immersions are created in collaboration with local communities and focus on solving real challenges that social enterprises face through workshops and design sprints.


    We work in highly diverse teams alongside partners from academia, grassroots movements, social enterprises, and entrepreneurial ecosystems.

    The DSIL Innovation and Leadership Course helps you expand your network of diverse global leaders.

    Expand Your Network

    The DSIL course is about the people that travel, experiment, and learn beside you for years to come.


    DSIL participants are selected for their diverse professional and personal backgrounds. No two cohorts are the same. Our students exemplify an ability to show bias towards action, radical openness, critical thinking, and a readiness for upward growth.


    Currently, the DSIL Course Community totals over 130+ alumni from 55+ countries.

    Through the DSIL Challenges you apply your newfound innovation and leadership skills to real-world situations in your own company or community.

    DSIL Challenges

    Experiencing learnings alongside others creates learning that lasts.


    Throughout the 5 month course, you will be asked to complete 5 hands-on challenges that will facilitate heightened self-awareness.


    To solidify your learning, the DSIL Challenges offer practice to lead in your own company or community. The results are increased confidence in applying your newfound skillsets to real-world situations.

    During the DSIL Innovation and Leadership Course, certified executive coaches guide you through challenges.

    Executive Coaching

    We learn when we can see where we get stuck using tools, how that relates to our unique development path.


    The course is customized for each individual with one-on-one University of California Berkeley-certified coaches whom will guide you throughout challenges during the course. Our coaches will also be there to help you get clear on how to specifically integrate these skills and build new habits after the course in your real life, wherever you are.

  • The Importance of Southeast Asia

    Southeast Asia is quickly establishing itself as a fast-growing economic powerhouse for think-tanks and innovation. The region is also a keeper of rich, diverse cultures as plentiful as the many islands that dot the boundaries. As a global hub with diverse communities living and working together, you'll grasp the importance of just how important it is that we start learning how to think together and lead differently.


    The DSIL Course will take you through Thailand's fast-paced tech-heavy capital city of Bangkok, and Cambodia's culture-rich capital of Phnom Penh. Each city has their own unique political, socio-economic and environmental opportunities and challenges. With 5 days in each country, you will work with local innovators and social entrepreneurs by engaging in design sprints to work on real-time challenges. Why not learn and help the world out a bit too?

  • Alumni Voices.

    130 + DSIL Course Alumni from over 55+ countries and counting!

    "One of the things I find so amazing about my participation in DSIL was the degree to which I have been able to take the learning and relationships and immediately apply them within my teaching and my private executive education/coaching/consulting work. The depth of the learning and collaboration I know engage in has increased significantly. I've been to MANY trainings in my career, and rarely (if ever) have I found a course so impactful and immediately useful. DSIL has been an excellent investment for me with returns in knowledge, skills and important relationships."

    - Dr. Art Sherwood, Director, IDEA Institute

    The DSIL Course taught me much more than d.thinking. It taught me how to become a more resilient leader and to re-connect with my personal goals for this crazy and beautiful planet. "

    - Hanna Ruddies, Global Growth and Acceleration Lead, Impact Hub

  • Who Joins the DSIL Course?

    YOU! The DSIL Course prides itself on diversity. With 130+ Alumni from over 55+ countries, the DSIL Course attracts a global group of high performing leaders from multiple industries. Past alumni include CEOs, entrepreneurs, leaders at Shell, Salesforce, UNDP, IBM, Deloitte, and the Asian Development Bank. The age of our alumni networks ranges from 26 to 60 years old and includes people of all educational backgrounds.


  • Let's have a Virtual Coffee!

    Get in touch with us. Let's have a conversation or get you connected to alumni who can share their experience!

  • Looking to build creative capacity or next level leadership at your organization? Want to do training differently and use design thinking to better understand how to solve problems with the resources you already have?

    Learn more about DSIL Consulting here.

All Posts