Innovative Thinking

Enhance your creative problem-solving skills by discovering your personal thinking preferences, identifying and eliminating mental blocks, and elevating your communication and teaming skills.




12 Weeks


8-10 Hours per Week

Truly innovative thinking allows us to create real value when we develop new products and services. In this course, we’ll build the creative confidence that enables us to be fearless innovators. You’ll drive your business concept further and more efficiently as you identify and eliminate mental blocks, and boost your creative problem solving skills.

What You'll Learn

  • Learn how to employ the powerful “design thinking” methodology to reduce waste in innovation.
  • Cultivate creativity in yourself and on your team with visual thinking.
  • Champion human-centered entrepreneurship with a focus on user testing.
  • Improve your ability to advocate for your new ideas and recruit support.

Who Will Benefit

  • Aspiring product managers working to develop their skills for entry into a product management role.
  • Active product managers seeking to enhance their capabilities to be world-class product managers.
  • Product designers, developers, and collaborators interested in improving their understanding product management.
  • Educators, consultants, and organizational leads desiring to improve their capacity to teach, advise, or empower their constituencies in the product management area.

Course Topics

Module 1: Introduction to Innovative Thinking

This module includes a welcome to the course, an orientation to our teaching approach and faculty, and an introduction to visual thinking.

Module 2: Design Thinking

What is design thinking? Human centered. Experiment heavy. Framing your challenge. Design thinking models.

Module 3: Visual Thinking

The power of visual thinking. How and when to get visual. Graphic facilitation. Why and how to prototype.

Module 4: Researching Your Business Concept with Real Users

What you'll learn from user testing. Good interview technique. Avoiding bias in your research.

Module 5: Setting the Stage for Breakthrough Innovation

Nurturing your own creativity. Seeing with the world around you. The power of mentorship and self-education. Exploring random subcultures.

Module 6: Making Collaboration Fundamental to Your Work

Collaboration and diversity. Crowdsourcing innovation. Cross-pollination and team configuration. Refining your idea with customer co-creation. Benefits of collaboration.

Module 7: Brainstorming

When should you use brainstorming? Rules for brainstorming. Stoking exercises. Valuing quantity over quality. Lenses and constraints.

Module 8: Bias Towards Actions

Rapid prototyping and development. Lean startup MVPs. Inspiration to move you to action.

Module 9: Creating a Supportive Environment for Innovation

The impact of physical space. Creating a supportive environment for innovation. Creating a soft landing for risk takers.

Module 10: Making Change Happen

The emotional and logical components of behavioral change. Directing the rider. Motivating the elephant. Shaping the path.

Module 11: Communicating Your Ideas Effectively

Recruiting people to your cause. The value of storytelling, The curse of knowledge. Good storytelling.

Module 12: Next Steps

Design thinking. Visual thinking. Setting the stage. Making change happen.

Learning Experience

Asynchronous Lectures

Coaching and Mentoring

Live Office Hours

Peer Interactions and Networking

Project-Based Learning

Real-World Assignments


Frankie Abralind
‍Maryland Technology Enterprise Institute
University of Maryland

Frankie Abralind is executive director of The Good Listening Project, a nonprofit that promotes good listening in hospitals. He is a member of the graduate faculty at the University of Maryland, teaching in the Master of Professional Studies in Technology Entrepreneurship and Corporate Innovation. Frankie's expertise is in design thinking, experience design, and user research.

Previously, Frankie served as the lead designer for the Innovation Hub at Sibley Memorial Hospital, where he worked on improving the healthcare experience for patients, staff, and visitors. Frankie is a champion of radical collaboration on methodologies, practices, and experiences to facilitate and deliver innovation in the world.

He earned his MBA at the University of Maryland's Smith School of Business and a BS in Design and Environmental Analysis at Cornell University.

Take a Peek at Innovative Thinking