ProfDip Creativity, Innovation & Leadership

Graduate Taught (level 9 nfq, credits 20)

“The best way to predict the future is to create it” - Professor Peter Drucker

Leadership Excellence Through Creativity and Innovation 

To navigate disruptive challenges such as Brexit, the ‘War for Talent’ and digitisation, today's managers require the mindset and skill-set to adapt to change, seize opportunity and lead innovation in their business in order to stay competitive and resilient. 

The UCD Professional Diploma in Creativity, Innovation and Leadership is a hands-on learning experience that will contribute to a mindset change and equip current middle to senior managers and those returning to employment with the leadership skills to drive innovation within SMEs and large businesses. Participants will gain the practical tools to develop and execute ideas of value within the context of a business. Throughout the course-long project, participants will practice how to be entrepreneurial within an organisation and how to inspire others to innovate in a collaborative way. 

1 in 5 course participants from 2018 report being promoted within or beyond their current organisation within 3 months of completing the programme, while 81% reported achieving greater professional satisfaction and renewed motivation at work.

Careers & Employability

This course is designed to equip participants with the skills that will help them to become a recognised champion for innovation within their business.  It is expected that all participants will see a progression in their career.  

Participants returning to employment will enhance their CV, gain business acumen related to critical issues facing Irish businesses such as Brexit and digitisation (making them more attractive to prospective employers facing these issues in particular) and join a network of emerging innovation leaders.  

Participants in employment will take on new responsibilities (i.e. leading business-critical projects), and/or gain promotion within their existing business and increasingly work directly with senior management. 

Finally, for those experienced managers who are returning to Ireland, this course represents an opportunity to reintegrate quickly into the business ecosystem. 

Curricular information is subject to change

Part Time option suitable for:

Domestic(EEA) applicants: Yes
International (Non EEA) applicants currently residing outside of the EEA Region. Yes

This course is designed to equip participants with the skills that will help them to become a recognised champion for innovation within an SME or large business.  It is expected that all participants will see a progression in their career.  

“Our collaboration with UCD Innovation Academy is an important part of our wider innovation agenda and has been well received across the business. The quality of the ideas identified through this initiative was excellent, and a number have since been actioned."  - Ciaran Doran, Business Transformation Manager, ESB Generation and Wholesale Markets

Curriculum and Learning 

The UCD Professional Diploma in Creativity, Innovation and Leadership has been developed in collaboration with industry and leverages the significant experience of UCD Innovation Academy. It is designed in response to the perceived threats to the competitiveness of SMEs and large business. 

What will I Learn?

Participants on the UCD Professional Diploma in Creativity, Innovation and Leadership will:

  • Develop an Entrepreneurial Mindset 

  • By enhancing the creative confidence of participants and learning to think like an entrepreneur, participants will build their capacity to identify opportunities of value, to develop, share and iterate these ideas; and to engage the strengths of colleagues to execute these ideas for the benefit of their business. 

  • Acquire the Skills to Innovate

  • Participants on the UCD Professional Diploma in Creativity, Innovation and Leadership will learn to use proven approaches to strengthen their business acumen and to foster a culture of innovation within a business. Course participants will learn to:  

  • Identify and critically evaluate ideas of value from customer insights;

  • Collaborate in a way that plays to the strengths of others;

  • Communicate in an engaging way to engender support for new initiatives;

  • Prototype, test and iterate ideas based on customer experiences;

  • Quickly develop and adapt business models to incorporate new opportunities;

  • Appreciate the possibilities that new technologies can offer a business; 

  • Develop the influencing skills to embed a culture of innovation across the programme are.  

  • Practice Proven Tools and Methods 

  • Participants will practice step-by-step methods (e.g. Design Thinking, Value Proposition Design) to put their newly developed innovation skills to work quickly and start making an impact. 


How will I Learn?

Participants on the UCD Professional Diploma in Creativity, Innovation and Leadership will learn by doing from an international, cross-disciplinary team of entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs and academics at the O’Brien Centre for Science, a world-class learning facility in University College Dublin. 

Innovation Project - Deploy New Skills Quickly

Participants will be required to undertake an innovation project to apply their newly developed skills and utilise a toolkit of approaches to solve a problem relevant to their business. By embedding an innovation project as part of the formal learning of the course, not only will participants have the opportunity to practice their skills but they will have an opportunity to prove the viability of adopting these low-cost, rapid, design-led approaches to innovation to their peers and seniors. Participants will receive innovation coaching towards the implementation of this project from the UCD Innovation Academy Entrepreneurial Specialists.

Learn from a Highly Experienced Team, Embedded in the Innovation Ecosystem

UCD Innovation Academy has an extensive, deep network of relationships across the SME, Corporate, Not-for-Profit and Public sectors. Our team of Entrepreneurial Specialists are themselves practising entrepreneurs who are immersed in the ecosystem. They have also facilitated innovation modules for SME senior management teams on Enterprise Ireland’s prestigious Go Global for Growth Programme as well as New Frontiers, Science Foundation Ireland’s SPARK accelerator and the Social Innovation Funds ‘Animate’ and ‘Think Tech’ Accelerators. 

Guest Lectures, Fireside Chats and Co-Facilitators with Proven Real-world Experience

While our team of Entrepreneurial Specialists are all immersed in the ecosystem, the course will also integrate guests through panel discussions and one-to-one interviews offering a ‘warts and all’ insight into the challenges of leading innovation in business. 

Learn from Peers and Build a New Professional Network  

This course places an emphasis on teamwork, collaboration and fostering a strong community of learners enabling networking and peer-to-peer learning to take place. Through a combination of in-class activity and evening events, we hope to create an environment where new professional networks can flourish. 

Gain the ‘UCD Advantage’ 

UCD Innovation Academy is located in the O’Brien Centre for Science, a flagship facility at the heart of University College Dublin, Ireland’s largest university. Being part of UCD is of significant benefit to the participants of all of our courses and will offer participants on the Professional Diploma:

1) As Ireland’s ‘Global University’ UCD offers extensive international networks  

2) Access to world-class research expertise (facilitated by UCD Innovation Academy) and facilities in a highly collaborative environment; 

3) Access to a world-class library facility and study/workspace; 

4) Access to UCD Career Development Centre, including career guidance support and online resources for up to two years after graduation; 

5) Access to a wide range of talks and networking events outside of the course. 

Get ‘Hands-on’ with Emerging Technology at UCD Innovation Academy Labs: 

UCD Innovation Academy offers participants on the UCD Professional Diploma in Creativity, Innovation and Leadership access to a high-end prototyping space with equipment and expertise from an interdisciplinary team of 12 UCD Innovation Academy Creativity and Technology Fellows who regularly contribute to modules at UCD Innovation Academy. This facility offers participants an opportunity to get ‘hands-on’ with emerging technology and understand the value that it can offer a business. 


No Modules to display for this Course

All modules must be taken and passed to complete the course and attendance at all classes for Module 1 and 2 is required. 

Module 1 - Creative Thinking 
Wednesday 26th February 2020 to Tuesday 3rd March 2020 (No classes Saturday 29th February or Sunday 1st March)
Classes take place from 9.30am to 4.30pm each day

Module 2 - Leadership Development
Wednesday 15th April 2020 to Tuesday 21st April 2020 (No classes Saturday 18th April or Sunday 19th April)
Classes take place from 9.30am to 4.30pm each day

Module 3 - Professional Practice (Action Learning Project - Innovation in the Workplace)
Wednesday 22nd April 2020 to October 2020
There are no classes during this module. This module is a combination of external project work along with 3 mentoring sessions over the course of the module.
Final Action learning project presentations will take place over 2 days in October 2020. (Dates TBC)

Participants in this programme are required to attend all class sessions. 

The fees for the Professional Diploma in Creativity, innovation and Leadership are €2,600 (EU Citizens) and €5,200 (Non-EU Citizens). 


What our participants say:

During our first week we really saw how limited resources boosted our outcomes – the beginning of our challenges was quite messy but the closer we got to the deadline to more decisions we were able to make. We learnt how to practice “better done than perfect”. I am trying to do the same at work and go against this big bang approach that some of us would be used to that means that a lot of things get postponed endlessly.” 2018 Participant from non-indigenous MNC.

"It is a big undertaking to change the organisational structure of the department, and is a bigger project than that I initially aimed to take on. It is a project that has already provided benefits for the department and for myself. Providing the department with greater skills, knowledge through the introduction of senior scientist and increased control and flexibility. The challenge over the next few months is to help this new structure to bed in and to continue to grow and adapt to the ever-changing demands on the department.". 2018 Participant from non-indigenous MNC

"I have really enjoyed participating in the Diploma for Innovation, Creativity and Leadership with UCD and feel that I have gained invaluable skills and an invaluable network of support from the other course participants. Their support and encouragement really helped me to recognize the skills I have and to develop them further, along with the addition of new skills. Prior to this course I would have felt that I was too old to make changes in any organisation, but now I feel validated that I have the tools and skills to make change happen regardless of the environment". - 2018 Participant from a State Agency.]

What employers say:

The opportunity that students had to apply what they have learned in class to a real problem for their business is a notable feature of the course and the impact that this experience has had on our colleague and those around her is very positive. It is already offering a return to our business.” -  CEO 

The four managers who did the course applied this within their own departments and found that it had a very positive effect on innovation and opened the doors for new ideas to be brought to the table which resulted in faster solutions. Due to such positive results we decided to take it to another level of innovation processes and use this technique of Design Thinking across all the departments within our company. This allowed all levels of employees to bring their ideas forward and to contribute towards company success. This was a key element in us developing our customer strategy for the following year.” -  HR Manager


The following entry routes are available:

Prof Dip Creativity, Inno (F171)
Part Time

* Courses will remain open until such time as all places have been filled, therefore early application is advised

Applicants are required to apply with the following documentation -

1. Your up-to-date CV.

2. Your one-page Letter of Motivation. For this, you should consider why you want to do this course at this time, what you would like to achieve from the course and how the course fits with your future career aspirations. 

3. Your transcripts for a minimum of an Honours Bachelors Degree (NFQ Level 8 or equivalent). If you previously studied at UCD, please provide your UCD student number in lieu of transcripts. If you do not have an honours degree, we will look for 5+ years of relevant work experience on your CV and employer references as per RPL guidelines above. NB - your degree parchment/certificate does not satisfy UCD's requirement for transcripts.