Designing for Organizational Effectiveness Certificate

Designing for Organizational Effectiveness Certificate

designing for organizational effectiveness

You integrate strategy and design thinking to better leverage your organization’s talent and organizational capabilities to adapt to emerging opportunities and challenges. Several factors – culture, employee engagement, data analysis, structure, collaboration technology – empower your approach to transforming organizational effectiveness.

Developing this perspective is the goal of our four-course/12-month Designing for Organizational Effectiveness Certification (DOEC).


Certificate Program

The Designing for Organizational Effectiveness Certificate is a cohort-based certificate program. A new cohort begins every Fall quarter. Candidates for the certificate must complete four required courses plus additional co-curricular learning activities during the program's one-year period.

All classes are delivered in our hybrid class format which allows you to pursue the certificate no matter where you live in the US.

Degree plus certificate option. You may choose to earn your certificate as an additional credential to the Master of Science in Learning and Organizational Change by integrating it within the 15 credits required for the degree.

Certificate-only option. You may choose to earn your certificate as a stand-alone graduate program credential by completing the four required courses plus co-curricular activities over one year.

Important Program Dates



Cohort Start

Program begins in the fall academic quarter each year. Mandatory first class session on Friday, September 18, 2020.

Application Deadlines

April 10 and June 10

June 10, 2020 is the final deadline for admission into the September, 2020 cohort.

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A Foundation and Toolset for Innovating Organizational Effectiveness Solutions

This certificate is for managers and professionals who wish to innovate in strategic leadership roles encompassing talent and organizational effectiveness. It will be valuable for professionals in human capital, organizational development, organization effectiveness or strategic talent development roles, as well as leaders whose responsibilities cross these disciplines.

As a participant in this program you will:

  • Learn to apply design methods and tools to envision and implement innovative solutions for organizational challenges that are ill-structured problems - a lot of unknowns, with many possible answers and requiring many subjective judgments along the way
  • Gain experience interpreting and applying culture, engagement, and social network analysis data to diagnose and address organizational problems
  • Develop organizational design skills that help effectively influence conversations about organizational strategy, politics, culture, talent, and key processes
  • Understand social-practice perspectives on organizational knowledge and learning and use innovative models to design a technology solution to address strategic challenges

Design an Innovative Solution for an Organization

The DOEC helps you translate theory into practice through a 12-month, living design case study. The design case results in you developing solutions that impact an organizational effectiveness challenge you choose to explore with a collaborating organization.

You will also document your learning journey throughout the certificate program in an digital learning portfolio.  Your digital learning portfolio provides a platform to develop your thought leadership, build digital literacy skills, and begin to establish a digital presence among a network of key practitioners in your field. 

Design cases may address any of a variety of business challenges where strategy and organizational talent intersect. The following examples illustrate the types of challenges that may generate solution design cases:

  • Addressing culture challenges after major organizational changes – strategic direction, mergers/acquisitions, hyper-growth, outsourcing, etc.
  • Attracting, onboarding and retaining talent required to meet competitive challenges
  • Designing and implementing a new employee value proposition
  • Retooling performance management practices
  • Transforming professional or leadership development
  • Creating new approaches to achieve diversity and inclusion goals
  • Aligning collaboration and knowledge sharing to support digital transformation goals

All DOEC applicants must submit the name of a potential collaborating organization and a proposed organizational effectiveness challenge as part of the application process. Offers to qualified applicants will be made contingent upon each applicant's commitment to working with a collaborating organization.

Curriculum Overview

DOEC Four Courses and Co-Curricular Activities

The general pacing of the co-curricular modules is outlined below and mapped in relation to phases of the MSLOC design methodology.

Orientation Activities

  • Meet your peers in your certification cohort and your Mentor
  • Learn about the digital learning portfolio and MSLOC design methods
  • Propose the organization that you want to work with for your case, which can be either your current employer or another organization to which you have access

Quarter 1: Co-Curricular

  • Learn about design methods and tools and the DOEC approach.
  • Begin recording your learning journey on your digital learning portfolio, noting concepts and theory that may provide inspiration for new approaches to your organizational effectiveness challenge.
  • Engage in early discovery research to explore your problem/opportunity space.

Quarter 2: Co-Curricular

  • Continue learning about your problem/opportunity space through both internal and external research. Conduct informal interviews with stakeholders in your collaborating organization.
  • Begin to visualize your discovery findings – via journey/experience maps.
  • Continue recording your learning journey on your digital learning portfolio, noting additional concepts and theory that may provide inspiration.
  • Begin to identify opportunities to improve outcomes in your chosen problem/challenge space.

Quarter 3: Co-Curricular

  • Begin to organize your opportunities into key themes. Prioritize top opportunity areas.
  • Continue recording your learning journey on your digital learning portfolio, noting additional concepts and theory that may provide inspiration.

Quarter 4: MSLOC 456 Course Work

  • Move from opportunities to solution ideas and prototypes.
  • Conduct prototype tests, incorporate feedback and develop now, next and future roadmap for continuing to iterate your solution ideas to address priority opportunities.

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Contact Us

Master's in Learning & Organizational Change

1800 Sherman Avenue
Suite 3500
Evanston, IL 60208
Northwestern University

Phone: 847/491-7376

Email: msloc@northwestern.edu