Which organisation design programme?

Hi Naomi, I was hoping that you'd be able to give me a bit of advice, as I'd like to get a diploma or other qualification on organisation design but I'm not sure which programmes/trainings would be best to attend. Do you have any recommendations? Natasha

Hello Natasha – thanks for your email. I can only give some general suggestions and can't recommend any specific programmes. My thoughts below don't give a comprehensive picture but are based on my slant on organisation design.

I guess that you're looking for something that is accredited by a university and/or professional recognised body? Here's three ways to approach your enquiry

  • Browsing
  • Trying out
  • Asking others

Look at the Design Research Society website. It is the 'multi-disciplinary learned society for the design research community, promoting excellence in design research globally.

  • recognising design as a creative act common to many disciplines
  • understanding research and its relationship with education and practice
  • advancing the theory and practice of design'

You'll see how organization design is one strand of 'design'. You'll also see that the Design Management Academy Conference is next week (7 – 9 June 2017) with some interesting themes listed in an earlier call for papers. Three that caught my eye were:
Track 6.d Designing the Designers: Future of Design Education
Track 6.a Building New Capabilities in an Organization: A research methodology perspective
Track 4.a Changing Design Practices: How We Design, What We Design, and Who Designs?

Each track is led by academics and in a couple of the track description are indicative references to content.

Why am I telling you this? Because if you take a look at the courses in the universities involved you'll see many facets of design, most of them related to organization design in some way. Browsing through their offers will encourage you to think through what slant, in the organization design field, you are specifically interested in and why you might be interested in it. If I were starting over I might ask myself: Is it business design? Is it design innovation? Is it culture design? Is it socio technical systems design?

University programmes like those hyperlinked above will give you solid groundings in the theory and practice of design related to businesses.

Many MBA programmes have an organization design related module. (I taught on the California College of the Arts Design Strategy MBA). Radboud University has a Master's specialisation in Organisational Design and Development.

Other sites to browse are: the Organisation Design Forum which has conferences, runs webinars and discussion events, and has a list of practitioners that do organization design training. The European Organisation Design Forum which accredits programmes, runs conferences, hosts networking events and operates a mentoring scheme. The Marshall School of Business which runs a Certificate in Organization Design. The Organizational Design Community that has an annual conference on design-related topics, and publishes the Journal of Organization Design. In addition, it has established an accreditation program.

Trying things out
If you're not sure what aspect of organization design you're interested in you can do some good, free, short on-line courses. Coursera offers Design Thinking for Innovation (a few hours a week for 5 weeks). Also their Competitive Strategy and Organization Design Specialization looks great fun – and promises laughter along the way. The module Strategic Organisation Design is 6 weeks of study 5.5. hours a week or look at Leadership through Design Innovation which looks at a 'new style of leadership to embolden and accelerate innovation. [For which] design offers a novel way to discover market opportunities, experiment to validate concepts and mitigate risk, and deliver value to all stakeholders'.

Futurelearn offers Philosophy of Technology and Design: Shaping the Relations Between Humans and Technologies. (I have registered for this one). And also, Designing the Future.

Ed-X offers Design Practice in Business.

All of the above are drawn from University curriculums.

Asking others
There are several groups on Linked In that discuss organization design. I follow the Organizational Design Community, The Organization Design Forum, The Organization Design Network, the Beta Codex group, the e-office Workplace Design Community, the Association for Strategic Planning, the Design Thinking Group. You could ask your question of them and see what they come up with. If you go to any organization design networking events ask people how they developed their skills and knowledge.

During last week, I randomly asked a few colleagues what courses they know of. I got a good range of responses including the French Diplome Universitaire Codesign, Roffey Park's short course Organization Design in Practice, Ashridge-Hult's short course Advanced Organization Design, the CIPD's Level 7 Advanced Award in Organisation Design and Development, the Design Management Institute's short course on Design Thinking, Cornell's 2-day course Organizational Design: An Essential HR Capability, and the Open School of Management module on organization design.

In summary – browse the field of organisation design, figure out what aspects interest you and why, try out some short courses before committing yourself to a longer programme, and ask around for what has worked for others. Hope this helps. Naomi

Readers: How would you answer Natasha's question? Let me know.

One thought on “Which organisation design programme?”

  1. Thank you very much, Naomi. I need the same information and your post was very helpfull for me.

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