Since its launch in Amsterdam in 2011, the Design Thinkers Academy has made it its mission to help businesses learn to ‘excel at design thinking and innovation’. Last week, the UK branch of the initiative opened its doors, and we spoke to founder David Kester on why we all should pay attention.

Design doing & design thinking

Being who we are, any new project that explores the potential of design – whether it be as a practice, or as a model for learning – is something we like to see. After all, “design can” is literally our middle name. What’s especially interesting about the Design Thinkers approach, is that they are offering design as a solution to business challenges. As founder David Kester explains, “design is far too important to leave to designers.”

But these courses aren’t solely about using creative thinking to understand customers better or transform company profits. Kester is convinced that design thinking is an essential tool in facing some of the world’s toughest challenges. ”As our world gets flatter and smaller so design becomes one of the most important qualities that defines our humanity. However fast the computer, however clever the algorithm, the solutions that we need to make life on our crowded planet worth living will be a human endeavour. Harnessing our creativity and turning ideas into reality around the needs of people – that’s design. That’s why design thinking is so important in education, business and in public policy too.”

Workshops & bootcamps

Want to see for yourself? Together with their partners Design Museum, Design Thinkers Academy London is launching with a mix of short training courses for industry leaders. The first open course is the Design Thinkers Bootcamp on 18-22 April 2016 in London.

Championing innovation at the WDCD Refugee Challenge

We are happy to announce that David Kester is also the Chairman of the Jury of our recently launched WDCD Refugee Challenge. The former CEO of the Design Council will be leading the competition’s selection process later this year, along with other jury members such as Design Indaba director Ravi Naidoo and URBAN REFUGEES co-founder Sonia Ben Ali. Learn more about this at

Photos courtesy of the Design Thinkers Academy

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