Critical & Creative Design Thinking Program

Business & Organization Training Workshops

Critical thinking and creative design thinking have been and continue to be two of the most in-demand employment skills worldwide.

USF is proud to offer the Critical and Creative Design Thinking workshop, specifically designed to meet the individual needs of businesses and organization. In this environment of accelerating technological and social change, big data, increasing complexity, and unconscious bias in decision-making, critical thinking, creativity, collaboration, and communication continue to be some of the most in-demand skills required to solve rapidly changing and complex problems in both day-to-day and unique circumstances. During this workshop, participants will be introduced to and learn how to apply the following concepts and goals to become more effective decision-makers and problem-solvers.  

  • The brain and how it works
  • The differences between the fast brain and slow brain
  • Thinking more critically under stress
  • Increase awareness and mitigate unconscious bias.
  • Integrate critical and creative design thinking to create innovative solutions: 
    • Empathizing with the user as the foundation for innovative design
      • Gather and evaluate key facts and relevant data from all stakeholders
      • Observe and become fully immersed in specific environments to correctly perceive the user’s experience, needs, and values.
    • Defining a unique design vision
      • Identify and clearly define the main problem or question first.
      • After gathering and reflecting on all the empathy data, reframe the problem statement or question to reflect a full understanding of the user.
    • Collective ideation creating multiple innovative solutions
      • Consider assumptions, other perspectives, hidden biases, and implications that impact design solutions.
      • Integrates collective perspectives to create volume and variety and identify the best prototype.
    • Prototyping interactive iterations of the design 
      • Develop conclusions and/or solutions in a physical form and facilitate others engagement with it.
      • After many iterations of engagement with the prototype and multiple revisions, assess feasibility and effectiveness of the proposed best design/solution.
    • Testing prototype in authentic contexts with user
      • Clearly explain your solution and how you got there.
      • Test if the design solution addresses the unique needs, values, and experiences of the user to inform continued design. 

Our training workshops provide an innovative approach that introduces and integrates the critical and creative functions of the mind and focuses on personal and professional application through individual and group activities and scenarios. 
We deliver content on how stress, the environment, and self-beliefs impact our critical and creative abilities; how to identify decision-making style and apply specific critical thinking practices for effective decision making; how to identify and mitigate unconscious biases through the application of critical thinking practices; and how to engage empathy to create innovative design solutions and products that are effective for targeted users. 
Participants who successfully the workshop can receive a USF Corporate Training and Professional Education certificate and Credly badge to display on their LinkedIn profile pages.  


  • Helene Robinson, program director (associate professor of instruction)
  • Greg Smogard, advisory (assistant V.P., Innovation and Business Development)
  • Mike Gillespie, advisory (associate professor of psychology)
  • Lisa Penney, advisory (professor of management)
  • Carlos J. Moreira, (director for Campus Engagement for Veteran Success and Alumni Affairs) 

Sample agenda

Day 1 Agenda:
12:00-12:30  Welcome, overview, agenda 
12:30-12:45  Intro to Personal Plan
12:45-1:00   How We Typically Think  
1:00-1:45 Decision-Making Styles and Critical Thinking  
1:45-2:30  Critical Thinking & Bias in Decision-Making
2:30-2:50  Break  
2:50-4:00 Breakout Group Session – Critical Thinking Scenario 
4:00-4:15 Work on Session 1 of Personal Plan 
4:15-4:30 Wrap up, agenda for 2nd session, evaluation 
Day 2 Agenda:
7:30-7:45 Welcome, reflect, overview, agenda
7:45-8:15 Critical Thinking Under Stress
8:15-9:00 Intro to Creative Design Thinking and Breakout
9:00-9:15 Break
9:15-10:00 Integrating Critical & Creative Design Thinking and Breakout 
10:00-11:00 Breakout – Applying Critical & Creative Design Thinking 
11:00-11:15 Complete Personal Plan
11:15-11:30 Wrap up & evaluation


To learn more about the content and pricing or to schedule a workshop for your business or organization, please contact Dr. Greg Smogard at or 941-359-4632.