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 held in early September, 2021.

Application Deadlines

April 10 and June 10

June 10, 2021 is the final deadline for admission into the September, 2021 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 thinking and its methods and practices to organizational challenges and to focus on continuous discovery, testing, and agility.
  • Gain experience in applying culture, engagement, and social network analysis data to diagnose and address organizational problems.
  • Develop the capability to redesign organizations with an eye on organizational strategy, politics, culture, talent, and key processes.
  • Learn how to leverage digital workplace technology to create communities and networks that address knowledge sharing and organizational learning challenges.

Apply Design Practices to Solve Organizational Challenges

DOEC helps you translate concepts into practice through a 12-month experience focusing on applying design practices to better understand and address real organizational challenges. We refer to these as DOEC "design cases."

The first three academic quarters of the program requires completing three DOEC courses as well as additional DOEC co-curricular assignments designed to practice applying design methods to a design case. The focus for this period is doing human-centered, discovery research to better understand a challenge from the point of view of those who actually experience the challenge.

In the final academic quarter - as part of MSLOC 456 Designing Solutions for Organizational Effectiveness - you will apply design methods to do discovery, problem-framing, solution ideation and prototyping on a design case of your choosing.

Design cases are provided by the DOEC instructional team and drawn from multiple sources and organizations, including MSLOC. For your final design case, we also encourage DOEC candidates to focus on a challenge from their own workplace.

The following examples illustrate the types of challenges we encounter in design cases:

  • The move to remote work and remote learning due to COVID 19.
  • The experience of new, first-time managers as they move into the role.
  • Developing better opportunities for individual learning as part of an employee value proposition.
  • Improving the ability of front-line staff to engage members of a not-for-profit organization.
  • Providing managers with new tools to improve employee engagement.
  • Developing new approaches to aspects of the MSLOC student experience, including equity and inclusion.

Co-curricular activities also include documenting your learning journey throughout the certificate program in an online, digital learning portfolio. Your digital learning portfolio provides a platform to develop your own professional point-of-view on applying design thinking methods and practices.

Curriculum Overview

DOEC Four Courses and Co-Curricular Activities




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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

The MSLOC staff are currently working remotely. Please email us with any questions about the program.

Email: msloc@northwestern.edu