• The DSIL Course

    Learning how to lead and keep becoming who you

    are in a world endlessly alive and evolving.

  • This Course matters more than ever.

    Globally Certified Executive Leadership Education that helps you un-learn.


    The highly acclaimed DSIL Course invites 20 maximum leaders from around the world to dive into un-learning the ways we have been taught to lead, strategise, build, and "be" in the world.


    In this course, you will be invited to dive into a dedicated practice of developing massive mindsets shifts in ourselves so our systems have a shot at no bullshit change. You will be invited into uncomfortable questions that are relevant and alive in our world about equity, power, privilege and all the ways it shows up in the sectors you dedicate your life to and live under— no matter what level of leadership you find yourself at. You will navigate that complexity with a group of humans unlike you, purposefully put together so the "classroom" mirrors the real world.


    You will build both a breadth of knowledge and depth of wisdom in this way; learning to pay attention to the nuance and context of every situation while leaning into 100-year strategy thinking that will shape the kind of ancestors it is our choice to become. The DSIL crew are expert emergent facilitators, experiential educational designers and accredited coaches that will challenge you and equally support you to evolve as the course progresses. 


    Your unique cohort will S T R E T C H your current perspectives of the world and the stories you tell about yourself, in hopes of showing the path to a very possible new frontier where every voice is heard, equity is at the center, people come before process and conflict is seen as a strength at every turn. To do this we need to re-learn to listen to what needs attention in each moment. By the end, you will have changed internally, becoming more aware of who you are now, and leave with the practical tools you can put to use after every session is over.


    "The DSIL Course to this day is still the most powerful program I have ever taken. Years after, I am still often reminded of my unique practice I uncovered of not just talking about new ways of being and doing that we learned, but embodying it so my teams and those that surround me might have an example of what possible future (and real leadership) can look like. My cohort is still there for personal and professional support and we grow together too because as the world change, that's what we also must do."

    -2014 Alumni

    Let's cut to the chase and use an analogy that our team has been embracing for a while now- a garden! Thanks, Biomimicry! The way we were taught to design/lead in our relationships to self, our personal lives, our work, our "management" of people, ideas, innovation, and our companies/organizations (the list is endless) was to have everything "under control". This is especially true if you are identified as a leader. Leaders are like gardeners so it's unnatural for things to look pristine like the illustration shows. It feels uncomfortable because it is not natural! We were taught to be gardeners looking over a garden and making decisions for it. We know that this type of approach restricts so many of the crucial elements of life necessary for a vibrant and healthy group of people to grow too! Many of which we can't see, but we can absolutely feel. Take communication or trust, for example.


    The truth is, if we want to move beyond surviving and into a thriving world we must learn to let go of control, realize we are a part of the garden (yes! even as a gardener), and that the more we let in, the more vibrant our lives, teams and solutions become. We realize, we no longer have to limit ourselves or others in ideas and our sense of a better direction for a world that is dying. DSIL doesn't have to yell this from the rooftops anymore- we can see it right in front of us. The time to make the shift into the garden is now.

    Where do we begin? This feels like a really big task! It is, and it's a lifelong commitment to learning. The answer to where we start is: with the smallest microelements! The atoms that make up YOU. We consciously begin with ourselves. Everyone who comes to the course is already up for that and has done work that helped them land here.



    Understanding and sense-making need to be constantly cultivated. Integrity is grown from the choices you make every day and those are crucial to every layer that moves outward. Who we are impacts those immediately surrounding us. That impact influences the systems we live in because we are the system. Self to Systems conversations are a key element you will see weaved throughout the course.


    We will all take radical responsibility as humans. We will uncover what we do that is getting in the way of generating a new world, as well as noticing the unique strengths we each have to get us there quicker. Some think of this as pulling unconscious and learned patterns to a more conscious place while others just need to know new ways of being and start from there. This course has room for all of that and for most of us, it's a mixture of both. You won't be alone. Growing a garden is challenging and we will be challenging for one another so we can grow. However, support is abundant in the DSIL Community.

    The mantra of "people before the process" has led our work and our own development inside the company. That is exactly what we will do when the course begins with the DSIL Virtual Loom. Practically, it gives us a chance to weave the relationships that are essential- between each unique cohort. We will see who we become together through self-discovery in groups, engaging in a variety of classrooms with diverse speakers from around the world. The plus side is that we can do all of this while showing you what is possible in making the 'virtual world' both more human and alive! So that's a bonus in this COVID world. Great programs do many things at one time, and that's true here.

  • Joher Khan- Senior Strategist

    SY Partners, New York City

    "I already had a strong background in corporate design and innovation when I joined the DSIL Course, but it is not only a high-value innovation training - it is something much more. The Course was a life-changing challenge that broadened my perspectives on self and systems transformation and provided lifelong relationships with peers."

  • What You'll Learn, Re-Learn and/or Un-Learn

    The path forward is ready for a re-design, we need to make it a future we are proud of.

    1. How to embody mindsets you will uniquely need that creates the conditions for voices to be heard and new paths to be forged no matter who is in the room. #noexuseinnovation
    2. Understand and build resilience with all that happening around us. Learn how to grow it in yourself and those around you.
    3. Un-learn any fear around conflict and learn to invite it in as a resource in incredibly powerful ways. 
    4. Get trauma-informed and learn how to embed this way into projects, companies and processes. 
    5. Be able to train forward the basics of innovation processes with equity based design. 
    6. Become a practitioner in facilitation anything with people who are different from you using riff's on practical Liberating Structures plus many more tools that humanize the virtual space or in-person. 
    7. Understand the vital need for emergence as a part of your practice and back it up with some complexity, biology and neuroscience! 
    8. Realistically check in on who you are NOW, where you are going, and develop higher emotional intelligence along the way. 

  • The Unique Course Design Teaches Too!

    It's nothing new that we don't know what's coming next. Let's be honest, the earth and the conditions in it have always been evolving beyond our control. This is how we know we are alive! Knowing this, our team can promise that we have designed the most relevant and powerful learning conditions without taking unrealistic shortcuts. We need time to create change and transformation.


    We are all teachers and learners in this garden and in the world! So, how we will learn really matters. The team integrates various ways of learning alongside different facilitators and speakers, with each bringing their own unique style. Our only bottom line is that it's 70% minimum interactive! This includes inviting in your voice and experiences, woven throughout the journey. Your real-life and your work will become a part of the curriculum at times and will plop you right in the conditions where you need to be to practice.


    So come with your sleeves rolled up!

  • 2022 Virtual or In-Person Immersion Course

    Dates + Costs

    What we know is that there is no way we are going to cancel what has been a "home" for our DSIL Community of over 300 from 70+ countries regardless of the global conditions! All of the years included virtual and relational aspects and that will continue. We ensure all spaces we are in together are both meaningful and human. The course format itself is a part of learning how to do authentic co-creation and will show participants just how many options there are for gathering in meaningful ways whatever comes.


    2022 Virtual Executive Course starts October!

    This 2022 Course will work as an intensive with a soft start and slow landing. This design allows for us to move at a human pace, with some intensity in the middle crucial for self-development and sense-making, and allow for some time to process before we end with a slow landing. At the DSIL Course, this is the beginning of a long and often lifetime journey with peers you will grow with, challenge, and step into new ways of being together.


    The Virtual DSIL Course allows 20 people maximum

    The In Person Immersion DSIL Course allows 12 people maximum
    2022 Virtual Course will start October 24th, 2022
    Time: 9am New Zealand, 2pm PST, 5pm EST
    Course Dates:
    Growing Starting Point: 3 days 6 hour sessions | October 24th, 25th, 26th
    Midway Weeding : 2 days 6 hour sessions | October 31st, November 1st
    Garden Bloom Ending: 2 days| November 7th and 8th
    For 2021 we are doing a Alumni Invite only model so that we can build more support around our alumni working to create change in the world.
    This year will be a lower cost.
    Pay what you can/want and we will pay after the Course is over.
    $2500 USD minimum- $8500 USD maximum (Normal price)
    Payment plans are easy for us to co-create, we will take that step when it comes.
    The DSIL Course cost runs on the principles of social economy (that there are many kinds of value we all bring besides simply money exchange) while offering a way for those who can to immediately step into redistributing wealth and sharing resources by creating truly equitable tables for the course. The way we see it is the world has two ways to operate in dismantling old systems, you can take up space and learn for yourself or you can put a bit more forward and bring someone along. Someone who otherwise couldn't come. We are constantly experimenting with models that put change in action while keeping our small feminist-led company alive and healthy enough to thrive. Moving virtual has helped to bring down our costs and up our game. 202o was a bigger success than we could have ever imagined! Read the open-source kit we built here about Humanizing the Virtual Space!
    It should be noted that supporters who bring on board those who otherwise could not afford the course will remain anonymous. This ensures that the vital diverse table we build will be one grown from a place of intentional moves towards equity and a rejection of subtle but real power differentials.
    This is the work of our time. We have tried and experimented through the years with many ways to go about this, and this one feels like it offers a sense of real possibility— through this the world can achieve more from each participants' perspective.

  • You can choose a certification that best fills what's missing from the toolbox you have been building your whole life!

    We have three executive certifications you can shoot for!


    1. Systems Change Leadership

    Learn how to lead highly diverse groups to meaningful solutions, strategies, through co-creating a culture that can do so. These techniques simultaneously work to transcend our current oppressive systems for the long-term.

    2. Equity-Centered Design

    Understand the basics and beginnings of design thinking and why it's been a long time coming to change the nature of design and move it into social and community elements of our world. Welcome to Design Justice!

    3. "Emergent Strategy' + Facilitation

    Learn how to lead a group through the process with all voices heard to align in one direction. Start to practice getting good enough that you can walk into a room and know what is needed next from asking great questions and widening your toolbox with tools conducive to allowing for emergence in the first place.

    After you finish the DSIL Innovation Leadership Course your Executive Academic Certification from the UN Established Center for Executive Education will help you move in new directions, to up your game on your own practice, or step into new careers needed for the future of work and radical collaboration. If you do the Full Executive Course - doing 2 more classes will get a full diploma from one of the most unique universities in the world. Yes! They do some of those courses online too in case you can't get to their amazing campus in Costa Rica!


    Find out more about the Centre for Executive Education at UPEACE here!

  • The Experience of the DSIL Team

    "The DSIL lead team is what separates this course from all others, the stories and well of knowledge they pour in makes me feel like I advanced my career 10 years in 8 days."

    - 2016 Alumni


    Great educators do the work to know and understand the individuals as much as the content.

    You'll be led by a team of diverse thought leaders with expertise in facilitation, progressive education, human-centered design and equity-based design, code-switching skills (being able to adapt to shifting cultures), business design, leadership, organizational culture change, executive coaching and systems strategy. Plus, we have the world in our cozy pocket. We have had more than 100 speakers on our interactive virtual classrooms for the past 6 years. 


    Our DSIL Alumni network is made up of powerful doers and movers as well and this trust built community will also support in the areas of learning that make the most sense for your cohort in 2020.

  • Katy Grennier

    Co-Founder, DSIL Course Lead, Executive Coach
    Katy Grennier is one of the most fierce and supportive humans you will meet and the one of the original designers of the course 8 years ago! This year will be her 13th cohort and for her this is her work home; where she invites participants, the team and her to come as we are and find our way with powerful questions our team is grappling with. As a leading practitioner in the field of design and leadership for the past 15 years; her foundations of curiosity and care are threaded throughout all of her work in emergent strategy and facilitation, executive coaching and interactive program design. A provocateur that challenges many outdated theories to evolve, Katy and the team are continuously experimenting with how to embed new tools and ways of being on ground where real impact is felt.

    As the CEO of Designing for Systems Innovation and Leadership that means ensuring groups learn to repair the harms that have been caused in our collective past and present while non-negotiably moving away from toxic systems that maintain the status quo and keeping culture and context in the center. Much of who Katy is comes from her own powerful story the beginning of her life has handed her. She has been invited to over 30 countries and works with the largest and smallest mighty organizations in the world from IDEO, Microsoft, The Gates Foundation and the United Nations to tackle some of our most complex challenges together.

    Frieda Hoffman

    Course Co-Facilitator and Coach

    Frieda is a transformative coach and mediator, creative consultant, and serial entrepreneur with a passion for supporting women and dancing like nobody’s watching. Frieda helps visionaries, small-business owners, and intrapreneurs find clarity and fulfilment, while holding them accountable to their goals, no matter how big or small. As a passionate feminist and coach, she aspires to uplift humanity and break down the barriers that keep so many from stepping into their full potential – through tough love and accountability. As a narrative nonfiction writer, she aims to cultivate compassion, strength, and a greater sense of connection, particularly for and amongst women.

    Frieda brings her insane curiosity and a soothing calm to the Course. She holds an MA in social work and conflict management from Berlin’s Alice Salomon University, a dual BA in psychology and anthropology from Johns Hopkins University, and is a certified Executive Coach from the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business and a dual certified mediator from the Institute for the Study of Conflict Transformation and the Center for Dispute Resolution. Frieda lives in Oakland, California.

    Gareth Durrant

    Course Co-Facilitator and Coach
    Gareth is all about that sweet spot where design, meets leadership, meets global public health. Every immersion Gareth leads, starts with his stories of working in family planning and sexual health and how it shaped his worldview; and the importance of Voice, Choice, Safety and Fun. It doesn’t matter if Gareth is running a leadership program or a clinic – everyone should have a voice, a choice as to how much or how little they participate, they should always feel safe (noting that comfortable doesn’t equal safe) and we should be having fun (encouraging play).

    When he is not teaching on the course or coaching participants as part of their journey, you’ll find him designing age-friendly cities and communities with 79-year-olds in the Philippines or designing care pathways and service improvement innovations with young key populations affected by HIV. For Gareth, equity-centered design, emergent facilitation and leadership are intertwined yet discrete disciplines, and it’s an honour for him to have been able to forge a career where he can utilize, and teach forward all three.

    Melina Chan

    Course Co-Facilitator and Coach

    Melina is a global citizen, social entrepreneur and coach with a passion for facilitating groups and individuals to do great things. Named an ADC Future Leader by the Australian Davos Connection (ADC), Melina has 15 years experience working on the development of entrepreneurial networks and ecosystems to deliver social and environmental impact across the Asia Pacific region. She also has a passion for being deeply embedded and creating grassroots impact. In her Cambodia years, Melina co-founded two social enterprises, now locally owned and operated, and internationally recognised for their excellence in sustainable tourism and human development. Back in Melbourne, Melina took the helm of one of Australia’s original coworking spaces, Inspire9, supporting the growth and amplification of a lively community of startups, freelancers and creatives, birthplace of CultureAmp, Rome2Rio and landing pad for many international startups such as Eventbrite and Etsy.

    Mel currently serves as a coach, mentor, advisor and board member to a range of startups, social enterprises and organisations, and supports program development at SecondMuse, a global innovation and ecosystem building organisation. She enjoys a well-mixed cocktail, discovering new challenges and changemakers, and learning new languages.

  • Want to Nerd Out on the Underpinnings of the DSIL Course Design?

    The evolution or death of design thinking. Equity as a necessity. Levels of systems change leaders. Facilitating using complexity as an asset.

    Leadership Leaps!

    You will gain a vertical depth of understanding about what level of leadership you are operating at right now and how you impact others around you. There is no book for this stuff, only relentless practice- our coaches will be with you along the way. Only 15% of leaders ever reach the third tier. Are yo one of them? Want to learn a bit more about the original Vertical Development framework from which our work was inspired. We have evolved it to ensure we can also have social impact along the way.

    Design Thinking's Evolution.

    You'll learn a horizontal breadth of skills through a well-defined, robust, collaborative problem-solving processes often called "design thinking or sometimes called human-centred design. To the right are just some of the ways you can move through these process to come out with break-through or incremental innovation. Look overwhelming? Don't worry- there are some simple threads throughout all of these and understanding them differences will help you as leaders co-decide which one to use when in what context. Learning what on the next slide will ensure you understand your role and power that is yours to check in co-design processes and more.....

    Equity is a non-negotiable in innovation.

    From the basics of innovation we will move into harder conversations around the task to be good ancestors and build regenerative and equity- centred design that needs us to put a lot more intention in why and how we co-design things, not just what process we robotically follow. Our team will share lessons, epic failures and lots successes stories we have been gifted to be apart of because when chose the path of inclusion and not just for the sake of being nice or politically correct. In the center of our beautiful differences and dismantling the meaning of "expert" is where the future and meaningful innovations lie. When you bring learning to your context innovation may be break-through or incremental innovations, but they will help you step up to becoming more confident especially when there is tensions around.

    Facilitating is leading through the complexity.

    Facilitation Tools you can use online or off?

    Liberating Structures are practical innovation techniques that quickly foster lively participation in groups of any size, making it possible to truly include and unleash everyone. LS can be used in many ways and were created to guide more meaningful conversations and strategy where we work. They are LIBERATING because they replace controlling or constraining approaches to the way we meet, plan and work. It's based around complexity Theory so you will learn about this too and how it weaves into WHY more voices is important.

  • ""It has been an unforgettable experience with so many moments that will stay with me. I look forward to continuing to be a part of the DSIL Garden in my cohort and beyond. Thank you and the entire DSIL team!"


    Jane Chun

    Specialized Programs Director at the Compassion Institute

  • DSIL Quick Videos

    Scroll and take a peek at the course and the impact it has in these short videos. From them, we hope you get a feel for the dynamic learning environment the course creates and the tone of the people who commit to this learning dive.

    The #dsilstory series will tell you how the course created impact for 3 specific alumni.

    Sawako, Japan + USA

    Sawako came to learn about creating innovative solutions using co-creation. She learned how to integrate this into her own classrooms and how to change the lecturing style itself with tools she learned about facilitation.

    Mansi, India

    An Intrapreneur and problem solver already in the field of innovation, Mansi came to focus her learning on building her self-awareness, emotional intelligence, and connection to her authentic self.

    Chris, Austria

    As an Entrepreneur and Creative working at

    NYU, Chris came to DSIL to learn about the practice of Human-Centred Design in the real world.

  • DSIL Course Alumni

    A trust filled community of leaders from 70 countries


    Our 270+ alumni from 70+ countries include CEOs, successful entrepreneurs, organisational leads, shakers, and makers from all sectors. Companies they hail from include Salesforce, United Nations, IBM, Deloitte, PwC, and the Asian Development Bank, to name a few. People come who work in governments and join powerful activists dedicated locally. They are not afraid to unlearn what they have been taught and honor learning as a life-long practice for all ages.


    Our alumni stay powerfully connected after the course. Some start companies. All of us show up for beers and coffee dates to offer support for years to come.

  • Get a taste of HOW we teach!

    We spend 100's of hours designing free, open-sourced resources, available to everyone inspired by the course design. We all learn in different ways, and we wanted a toolkit that allowed for it all.


    Learn more about design thinking, human-centred design, building cultures of co-creation, conscious leadership, business innovation and more through our selected DSIL Virtual Classrooms and DSIL Open-Source Curriculum. Get the learning party started!

    Interactive and Open Source Virtual Classrooms since 2014!!

    A series of live, interactive, 60 minute online sessions

    Hosted by thought leaders, practitioners and innovative problem solvers from every hemisphere, speakers have been carefully selected to expedite high-level understanding by exploring critical issues, recent experiences in the field and emerging learnings. Past speakers include disrupters from around the world including leaders from the Stanford d.school, MIT D-Lab, IDEO, IBM and THNK School of Creative Leadership. DSIL releases classrooms to the public each year after the course closes to encourage the world to learn!

    DSIL Open Source Curriculum

    An open-source curriculum by progressive educators

    Pushing the boundaries of how we learn and bring in different opinions on topics, you'll find a variety of engaging ways to learn and hands-on challenges to spark thinking and practice skills in the DSIL Curriculum. The curriculum was designed to let you start learning where and how you want. It pulls in hundreds of voices so you can expand your perspective while learning to listen to other views.


    This is a free resource and we invite you to share it with everyone!

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