Design Thinking for Social Innovation
Offered as a minor

The Design Thinking for Social Innovation (DTSI) interdisciplinary minor introduces students to the methods, mindsets, and process associated with design thinking (i.e., human-centered design) to solve real world problems. Design thinking is a creative problem-solving process that prioritizes ethnographic research, convergent and divergent thinking, as well as rapid prototyping. To fulfill this minor, students must take five courses; three from the CORE; one related to social or environmental problems, and one focused on creative ideation.


Minor Requirements

Economics & Business Department

Student presenting a project in a classroom

Featured Course     
BU102: Introduction to Social Innovation 
This course introduces students to design thinking phases while also providing hands-on experiences tackling real-world problems. 

What excites me most about social innovation is the endless possibilities that design thinking fosters. It gives the space and time to think outside the box. The crazier the idea the better. And because of that, it inspires impactful change in communities and globally.

— Dot Bianco ’27, Environmental Studies Major


departments offer courses




courses required to fulfill minor

Faculty Behind the Minor

Dina Frutos-Bencze

Dina Frutos-Benzce, Ph.D.         
Professor of Economics and Business

Kathleen Flannery

Kathleen Flannery, Ph.D.
Professor of Psychology

We believe this minor will inspire students to explore new ideas and possibilities in their academic, professional, and personal lives. Given design thinking involves empathy and understanding people's needs, students will be able to generate more effective solutions for complex problems in the future.

— Professor Kathleen Flannery

1 Introduction class (2 course options) *Must complete first
1 Deeper dive (6 course options) 
1 Ethics (3 course options) 
1 Social or environmental problems course (24 social options, 14 environmental course options) 
1 Creative Ideation Course (17 course options)  

See the college catalog for course options.