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Office of Open Data and Digital Transformation

BY DESIGN: Transforming public sector services I Event details

“We hope to see government transformation driven by multi-disciplinary collaboration, increased adoption and efficacy in using ethnographic and design-led approaches, and a broad commitment to ongoing research and iteration to ensure that public services reflect the public’s preferences and aspirations.”
— Chelsea Mauldin and Natalia Radywyl from Human-Centered Research in Policymaking 

March 30, 2017: Public lecture

Service delivery and policy-making for the people, by the people

The Public Policy Lab (PPL) is a mission-driven nonprofit organization, committed to using the best current innovation practices to address the challenges facing low-income and vulnerable Americans.

Successful companies test new products and services with consumers before launching them, but programs to assist our most vulnerable populations typically have limited end-user involvement during development. Many public programs launch without any meaningful design participation by the people who will use them.

The Public Policy Lab changes that. PPL applies the same human-centered design and research methods that drive innovation at top corporations to create better public services for at-risk communities.

Chelsea Mauldin, the executive director of the Public Policy Lab, will discuss several case studies—from improving New York City’s affordable housing application process; to exploring connections between opiate use and jail overcrowding in Louisville, Kentucky; to helping the US Department of Veteran Affairs reimagine VA’s service delivery to 21 million veterans—that show how PPL works at the intersection of policy and design to improve government services for the people, by the people.

Event details

This event is moderated by Natalie Nixon, PhD and is open to both City employees and the public.

April 24, 2017: Public lecture

Designing people-centered service transformation

Bob McDonald took the helm of Secretary of Veterans Affairs in the summer of 2014, following a period of great turmoil for the agency. His mandate: to make VA customer-centric, and further, to become “the #1 customer service agency in the federal government.

As part of that transformation effort, Secretary McDonald created a Veterans Experience Office, modeled after Customer Experience Offices in the private sector. With a Chief Experience Officer as their leader, Sarah Brooks and two other colleagues stood up the office in January 2015.

Sarah will share several of the building blocks the Veterans Experience Office used introducing a new office into an established organizational system, building a shared language around customer experience, understanding what is important to Veterans, and supporting employees on shifting their perceptions and practices to deliver improved service experiences.

Sarah Brooks recently completed two and half years of public service in the U.S. Federal Government at the Department of Veterans Affairs. She joined first as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow 2014-2015 with the V.A. Center for Innovation, and continued, finishing her tenure January 2017 as Chief Design Officer in the Veterans Experience Office leading the Insight & Design team of service designers, visual designers, storytellers, content strategists and project managers.

Event details

This panel is open to both City employees and the public.

June 2017: City-only panel

Creating accessible government digital services

Government services are used by diverse populations of people. Communication, content, design, and development professionals working with or inside government should design experiences that are accessible regardless of one’s literacy, level of digital access, background, language, and/or ability. Each speaker will tackle accessibility from their particular lens and provide helpful tips to participants. The panel will conclude with a question and answer period.

This panel is for City employees—only.

July 2017: City-only panel

Digital service standards: What are they and why are they valuable?

When residents navigate government digital services from one website or channel to the next, their experience can feel disjointed and impersonal. How can a resident be sure that the information they’re accessing is accurate and from a trusted source? Local and federal governments have been creating and implementing digital service standards to make government interactions more strategic, consistent, and accessible across channels and agencies. Each speaker will discuss the role of digital standards in their work. A question and answer period will conclude the session.

This panel is for City employees—only.

September 28, 2017: Public lecture

Driving organizational change through human-centered design

As part of the Federal Executive Institute within the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM), The Lab is both a practice and a space that fosters innovation through human-centered design. The lab’s goal is to teach human-centered design across the Federal Government and to help deliver creative and effective solutions that address complex public and cross-sector challenges. The Lab brings together a unique combination of private sector fellows, public servants, and students who work collaboratively on complex cross-sector challenges to design solutions based on the needs of those they serve. Leaders from the Lab at OPM will discuss their capacity-building efforts across the Federal Government.

Event details

This panel is open to both City employees and the public.

October 2017: City-only panel

Design innovation and complex service environments

What can government learn from healthcare’s design-driven innovation labs? Government and healthcare are the largest service providers in the area. These organizations are massive and complex, and they deliver critical care to diverse populations. To grapple with the complexity in purposeful ways, Independence Blue Cross, Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, and Penn Medicine have been creating design-driven innovation labs to improve healthcare delivery. The panel will highlight work from each speaker, discuss the opportunities and challenges of using design to innovate within complex service environments, and conclude with a question and answer period.

This panel is for City employees—only.

November 16, 2017: Public lecture

Designing for financial empowerment

The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs Office of Financial Empowerment and Citi Community Development brought together the Center for Economic Opportunity, the Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability (DESIS) Lab at the Parsons School of Design, and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City to launch Designing for Financial Empowerment (DFE).

DFE is a cross-sector initiative to explore how service design can be used to make public sector financial empowerment services more effective and accessible. This work seeks to challenge the cycle of poverty by holistically examining current public policy and service offerings; understanding the interrelated needs of the City’s disenfranchised populations; and enabling community members to participate in the co-design of the very services that they use, alongside policymakers, advocates and service providers. Hear from some of the team members and partners who worked on this landmark initiative.

Event details

This event is moderated by Natalie Nixon, PhD and is open to both City employees and the public.


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