Creative Leadership Program for Navigators

Arne van Oosterom
3 min readAug 28, 2018


- It is said that the single most important skill for any job in the future is creativity. Whether it relates to the leadership, the human-machine collaboration or the future of the design work, the key capabilities that are needed are creativity, creative leadership, and creative problem solving. The new toolbox of the future leaders includes: design thinking, systems thinking, strategic design and strategic foresight. The soft stuff is the hard stuff of the future.-

I am writing this post to share with you why we have developed a 4-month Creative leadership program.

DesignThinkers Academy alumni

I’ve been, and still am, interviewing creative professionals. Most of them are in a leadership position and some are aspiring to become creative leaders. With the help of these interviewees we’ve developed our Creative Leadership Program.

A little back-story: I started DesignThinkers in 2006 after being a creative director (amongst other things) and having had the opportunity to build and lead many creative teams. I used this experience to help our clients and also to create DesignThinkers and, together with my brilliant partners, build it into a unique global organization with teams in 24 countries. I’ve always been at the heart of the design thinking and service design community, we grew up together… or at least that’s how it feels to me. And the last decade this design thinking / service design community has been evolving. A lot has changed…. I could write a book about that… but I won’t ;-) What is interesting though is that many people in the community have also evolved and as their job titles have changed (or should change) so did their need for learning new skills and capabilities.

At DesignThinkers Academy we are experiencing these changing needs first hand in a very direct way. E.g. over 10 years ago we offered mainly practical one-day sessions (e.g.) on Customer Journey Mapping. This was followed by two-day Fundamental courses and the last 5 years we’ve been adding (among others) our DesignThinkers Bootcamp Weeks and in-depth Facilitation Courses.

The demand for our one-day sessions and two-day fundamentals is still high but noticeably in decline and our more in depth and ‘longer’ programs have been growing in popularity rapidly. And now we noticed many of our alumni are in need for an even more extensive program to help them get them to a next stage in their career and make a real impact.

A lot of creative professionals are not doing what they went they went to school for anymore and there is no school (or just very few) for what they want to become. And for some there is no real clarity on what they are transitioning towards.

Some examples of questions they have are: “What will my job-title be in the future?”, “What skills do I still need to develop myself as a future creative leader?”, “How can I make more impact within my organization?”, “How can I be a leader for a new age without being a ’traditional’ manager?”, “Do I need a coach or do I need to go back to school?” and so on and so forth.

We have put all the insights from the interviews and all the experience of our very experienced faculty team into the curriculum and I am super excited to get it started.

Please let me know if you would like to know more. I would be more than happy to have a call and walk you through the program.

Check out the program



Arne van Oosterom

Podcaster, Founder Blue Sky Republic, Creative Leadership Coach, Founder DesignThinkers Academy, DesignThinkers Group, Artis & Photographer