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Politecnico di Milano

Creative and Design Thinking: process and tools for innovation

Would you like to be more creative and innovative? Through the course you will learn how to develop a creative mindset and apply a creative process useful to get innovative solutions in any field of application.

If you are a PoliMI student or staff member you have to log in using your Person Code. This is the only way to prove your participation in this course for official recognition.

If you are an IDEAL student (Mines ParisTech, AgroParisTech, Arts et Métiers, Chimie ParisTech, ENSTA Paris, Télécom Paris, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Instituto Superior Técnico, Istanbul Technical University) you have to log in using your institutional account. This is the only way to prove your participation in this course for official recognition.

Course description

This MOOC is your guide to the surprising, unpredictable and fascinating journey that leads to greater creativity. It is structured to train and empower creative thinking and design thinking for innovation on individual levels and in groups.

The objective is to equip multidisciplinary students with fundamental knowledge on creativity and a toolbox that will augment their creative and design abilities and mindset to face challenges in their own professional fields. The toolbox is constituted by a design thinking process and a series of tools and techniques that will boost their Creative Thinking to reach innovation.

The MOOC provides a tested and proven design process, developed by IDEActivity Center, with some methods and techniques which aim to promote and generate creativity, break established schemes, stimulate the imagination and, regardless of the method, improve the conditions in which creative ideas are produced. Students will learn different creativity tools and established skills in their utilisation over different problems and areas. They will learn how to enhance their creative abilities and to adopt a playful mindset in their everyday work that is fundamental to break the mental walls that inhibit creativity.

The course foresees a learning by doing approach where they will apply the toolbox step by step to face a challenge.

Total workload of the course: 18 hours

This MOOC is provided by Politecnico di Milano in collaboration with Mines ParisTech, AgroParisTech, Arts et Métiers, Chimie ParisTech, ENSTA Paris, Télécom Paris, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Instituto Superior Técnico, Istanbul Technical University.

This MOOC is one of the outputs of the Erasmus+ IDEAL project (No. KA203-9448BC5F).

IDEAL - European Soft Skills for PhD

Co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union

The European Commission’s support for the production of this publication does not constitute an endorsement of the contents, which reflect the views only of the authors, and the Commission cannot be held responsible for any use which may be made of the information contained therein.

Information about fees and access to materials

The course is delivered in online mode and is available free of charge.

Course materials will remain available to all enrolled users after the end of the current edition, so they can return to content later. The current course edition will be followed by a new one just after its end.

Learning schedule

The course is structured in 6 weeks.

  • Week 1 – Introduction to Creativity
  • Week 2 – Creative Thinking and Design Thinking
  • Week 3 – Explore - Step 1 - Clarify Goal
  • Week 4 – Explore - Step 2 - Define Opportunity
  • Week 5 – Generate - Step 3 - Idea
  • Week 6 – Generate - Step 4 - Prototype

In particular, Week 1 introduces the main theories and authors that study creativity from different perspectives. It also introduces the main elements of creativity through both theories and practical exercise: creative process, divergent and convergent modes, lateral thinking, the creative mindset and the creative environment.

Week 2 discusses the relationship between Creative Thinking, Design Thinking and Innovation, highlighting the importance of adopting a process and a Human-Centred approach to reach innovation. Design Thinking is explained and the IDEActivity process, structured in 4 main steps, will be presented.

Week 3 to 6 are entirely dedicated to deeply explore and practice the 4 steps of the IDEActivity process. From Clarify Goal to Prototype moving through Define Opportunity and Idea. Each week will focus on a specific step, presenting its main goal and a selection of design and creativity tools that support the activities within the steps and obtain powerful results.

There are also some additional resources, collected in the Materials page, so you reach a greater level of detail in some topics of your interest and/or tackle some specific tests that can give you some further indication on your attitude.

Intended Learning Outcomes

By actively participating in this MOOC, you will achieve different intended learning outcomes (ILOs).

  1. Remember basic concepts of human creativity and creativity tools
  2. Remember the potentialities of creative thinking and design thinking process to reach innovation
    ESCO: design thinking
  3. Understand the importance of creative thinking and lateral thinking when facing a design problem/challenge
    ESCO: thinking creatively and innovatively ESCO: develop creative ideas
  4. Comprehend the explore and generate phase of the design thinking process and related tools
    ESCO: design thinking
  5. Apply creative thinking and creativity techniques to solve challenges through the application of a design thinking process and its tools
    ESCO: thinking creatively and innovatively ESCO: design thinking


No prerequisite knowledge is required for this course.


Over and above consulting the content, in the form of videos and other web-based resources, you will have the opportunity to stretch your creative thinking mind through some exercise selected for you and sharing ideas with your peers in the Forum of this MOOC.

You will also find activities to deeply understand what is Design Thinking before immersing in the process and start practising it with the support of the tools provided.


The final grade for the course is based on results from your responses to the quizzes you will find at the end of each week (weekly quizzes). You will successfully complete the course if you reach 60% (or more) of the total score by the end of the edition. The course’s total score will be calculated by averaging the scores of the assessed quizzes for each individual week.

Certificate of Accomplishment

The Certificate of Accomplishment will be released to anyone who successfully completed the course by achieving at least 60% of the total score in the assessed quizzes. You will be able to download the Certificate of Accomplishment directly from the website.

Once you have successfully passed the course, you can request the Certificate of Accomplishment without waiting for the end of the edition.

The Certificate of Accomplishment does not confer any academic credit, grade or degree.

European Qualifications Framework Level

EQF Level 6

Thematic area (ISCED-F classification)

0031 Personal skills

Discussion forum

The forum of this MOOC is freely accessible and participation is not guided; you can use it to compare yourself with other participants, or to discuss course contents with them.

Contact details

If you have any enquiries about the course or if you need technical assistance please contact For further information, see FAQ page.

Course Faculty

Marita Canina

Marita Canina

Marita Canina holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Design. She is Associate Professor at the Department and School of Design at Politecnico di Milano, where she is also Scientific Director of the IDEActivity Center, a research network and a center of Excellence in Creativity and Design within the Design Department of Politecnico di Milano. She founded IDEActivity in 2013 to give value to all aspects of creativity, promoting innovation through design, as well as to activate and re-enforce all phases of the “creative process” within any given context. IDEActivity combines research in design, studies on creativity and co-design dynamics to offer organisations tools and methods capable of fostering and activating the creative approach that facilitates innovation processes through design. Since 2015, IDEActivity is investigating the impact of the digital transition on creative abilities at different stages of the design process experimenting with new approaches based on design thinking. She coordinates researches funded by the European Community and other national and international organizations, including the latest Horizon Europe MUSAE: a human-centred factory for a future technological sustainable development driven by arts (2022-2025) aiming to set up the MUSAE Factory Model based on the Design Future Art-driven method to be included in the (E)DIHs to strategically guide digital technology innovation and address future challenges in the food domain to improve people and planet wellbeing, the Erasmus+ “Digital Creativity for developing Digital Maturity future skills” (2020-2023), aiming to implement and apply a human-centred design model to strategically guide the ongoing process of digital evolution for achieving Digital Maturity through people creative enhancement and EC project "Digital Do-It-Yourself" (2015-2017), which analyzed the phenomenon of social innovation enabled by the use of digital tools.

Since 2008, she has been teaching several Design School courses applying creativity to the human-centred approach (HCD) and Design Thinking (DT) method. She carries out designing and learning activities within teaching programs for SMEs, Public Administrations and Organizations always based on the blend of creativity, HCD and DT.

In 2006 she was PostDoc Associate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where she contributed to a wearable technology research program for an EVA spacesuit (Bio-suit) working on the Line of Non-Extension theory developed by Iberall.

She's author of several international publications on creativity education and design thinking.

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Carmen Bruno

Carmen Bruno

Ph.D. in Design. Post-doc design researcher at Department of Design, Politecnico di Milano. Her research focuses on investigating the new opportunities for creative empowerment opened by digital technologies, developing methods to enhance the human factors of creativity within the design process. Since 2016, she investigates how digital technologies are influencing and augmenting the cognitive, motivational, and social dimensions of the creative design process, identifying new stimuli and technological tools that support designers and non-designers in expressing their creative potential. In her work, she merges a human-centred perspective, design thinking and co-design methodologies to facilitate radical innovation. She is a design researcher and operational manager at IDEActivity Center, whose main research aim is to develop creativity-driven methodologies to strengthen innovation processes in different field of application. In IDEActivity she took part as researcher in EU project H2020 “Digital Do-It-Yourself” and as Project Manager in the Erasmus+ “Digital Creativity for developing Digital Maturity future skills”, developing methods to transfer a strategic and design approach to the application of digital technologies. She also collaborated on national projects and with relevant companies for designing and facilitating collaborative workshops for innovation development. She is author of the book “Creativity in the Design Process” edited by Springer and co-author of many articles, scientific papers and publications on books and magazines. She is professor and Design Thinking trainer at the School of Design, Ph.D School and Poli.Design at Politecnico di Milano.

Mail: Social: LinkedIN

We would like to thank for their valuable contribution to the MOOC:

Giovanni Emanuele Corazza - Full Professor at University of Bologna and founder of the Marconi Institute for Creativity;

Vlad Glaveanu - Associate Professor at Webster University, Geneva, and director of Webster Center on Creativity and Innovation;

Ingunn Joanne Ness - Senior Researcher at the Centre for the Science of Learning & Technology, University of Bergen;

Paolo Sbuttoni - Creative Thinking Coach, and expert in Creative Problem Solving.

Thanks also to Prof. Sezi Cevik Onar of ITU (Istanbul Technical University) for her contribution on Creative Thinking Tools and Techniques.

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  1. Classes Start

    ott 16, 2023
  2. Classes End

    apr 07, 2024
  3. Length

    6 weeks
  4. Estimated Effort

    1-3 hours/week
  5. Language

  6. Course Number

  7. MOOCs For Professionals