how it works

Partner organizations identify and propose a business challenge they care about. 

The d.leadership teaching team works with the organization to narrow the scope of the project. 

Org applications are evaluated and based on student interest, a small cohort (typically 10) are selected to participate. 

Admitted orgs are assigned a d.leader duo to work with them over the course of the winter quarter.  

Orgs commit a small, in-tact team of 3-7 people.

d.leaders complete weekly assignments based on your challenge with these key design principles in mind:

  1. Design for the customer: cultivate, create, and assess strong customer insights and customer-facing prototypes, as well as assess the impact of implementation.
  2. Design for the team: solicit and incorporate feedback from teammates, as well as understand and leverage (or circumvent, as the case may be) capabilities and constraints of your organization.
  3. Design for the future: establish a team and cause that cultivates future innovation beyond the d.leadership partnership.

Each org will meet twice a week with their d.leaders for a work session (Friday morning and one other agreed time that week). Orgs will also need to reserve a few extra hours each week for related work without their d.leaders. 

Orgs attend three design reviews throughout the quarter on campus at the where teams will share their work .


  • Learn the’s design thinking creative problem solving methodology 
  • Breakthrough customer insights and innovations
  • Develop a dedicated team that has a common understanding of the design thinking tools and methodologies
  • Receive process leadership and project management assistance for the duration of the partnership
  • Play a meaningful role and influence in early leader development

get started

If you still have questions, attend a d.leadership design review between January - March 2018 to see this year's innovation work and get a taste for the partnership with our students. For exact dates/times, email: 

If you're ready to partner with us, fill out this quick form and we'll get back to you shortly with feedback. 

First, a few notes:

d.leadership takes place winter quarter (mid January - mid- March) and is approximately 8 weeks long. Partner orgs must commit to the weekly time engagements to participate. 

A partner fee applies; discounted fee is provided for non-profits. For details please email: 

Each Fall we accept ~10 diverse partner organizations for the winter quarter class. 2018 partnerships have been filled. Applications submitted will be for 2019 and beyond. 

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