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Design Thinking Educators’ Conference

Conference Details

Leading Design Thinking in the Classroom and the Workplace:
A Conference for Postsecondary Educators and Organizational Practitioners

Design thinking (DT) has been widely adopted in business education and organizational practice, as an approach that fosters empathetic human-centred insight; highlights the importance of problem framing; encourages imagination; engages diverse perspectives; and encourages iterative prototyping. DT has caught the attention of those seeking more effective ways to resolve complex challenges, pursue innovation, and advance social good. In the classroom, DT can help prepare students to address the complexity they will face in their careers.

Even when enthusiastically embraced, DT can be difficult to integrate into teaching and practice. DT pushes participants to navigate ambiguity and to look beyond seemingly promising early solutions. Though it can be effective, exciting, and even inspiring, DT disrupts more traditional ways of learning and working that are often seen as more comfortable or efficient. How best to introduce and cultivate DT in business education and practice is sometimes elusive.

This conference aims to address issues of concern to design thinking educators.

You’ll learn practical skills to help you lead DT in the workplace or teach it in your classroom.

Consider submitting proposals on topics such as the following:

  • How to foster comfort with uncertainty and ambiguity, when students/participants often crave certainty?
  • How to foster DT in the virtual environment?
  • How to assess student/participant engagement, skill development and proficiency, and the quality of design outcomes/products?
  • How to ensure process facilitation is democratic and inclusive and invite and integrate marginalized perspectives?
  • How to help students/participants glean meaningful insight from research?
  • What other approaches (e.g., Agile, Behavioural Insights, Theory U) are compatible with DT and how to integrate them?
  • How to identify fitting opportunities to apply DT?
  • How to overcome barriers presented by classroom or organizational culture for longer-term integration of DT?
  • How to help students/participants better operationalize true empathy for end users and listen for insight?
  • How to more strategically apply DT to social and environmental challenges?
  • How to expand our teaching or facilitation toolkits? (frameworks, techniques, resources, technologies, etc.)
  • How to help elicit more novel and meaningful ideas and design solutions?
  • How to harness existing opportunities presented by classroom or organizational culture (norms, values, beliefs, power, structures, etc.) for longer-term and more effective integration of DT?
  • How to identify promising avenues for further research?
  • And more….

Whether practicing within business schools or non-academic organizations, DT educators are invited to share their ideas, knowledge, and resources in a jam-packed, immersive learning experience. Be sure to register even if you can’t present.

Dive in! – and leave the conference feeling inspired, better equipped, and knowing you belong to a larger community.

Who should attend?

We welcome all who are grappling with how to best foster design thinking—including postsecondary educators, consultants, organizational employees, and researchers–to come together in a spirit of collective learning and cross-fertilization.

More specifically:

  • Post-secondary educators teaching business or management using design thinking approaches, or who are interested in using them
  • Trainers or facilitators helping organizations adopt design thinking
  • Organizational employees championing design thinking

Conference Format

This one-day conference will run from 8 am-5:30 pm (PDT) on Sunday, March 6, 2022. There will also be a pre-conference plenary event on Saturday, March 5 from 4:30-6 pm (PDT).

The conference will comprise keynote addresses, networking opportunities, and participant-led sessions. All sessions should encourage interaction, collaboration – and spark further dialogue. Opportunities for follow-on conversation and connecting will be built into the conference.


Registration fees are required for all conference participants including presenters and general audience members and covers both days.

Early Bird until Feb 6th, 2022 (midnight PST)

Registration fee: $150 (Tax included)
Student/RRU Alumni rate: $100 (Tax included) please contact rrdtec@royalroads.ca for promo code prior to registration

Fees starting Feb 7th, 2022

Registration fee: $200 (Tax included)
Student/RRU Alumni rate: $150 (Tax included) please contact rrdtec@royalroads.ca for promo code prior to registration



If you have questions, please email: rrdtec@royalroads.ca


Check out our companion event for students, the Royal Roads Design Thinking Challenge (RRDTC)!