Dana Chisnell

Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy


You’ve actually been making design decisions your entire life. In this course, you’ll gain skills and learn techniques for using design consciously to define problem spaces and to carry out your intent. This highly interactive course presents processes and practices for applying design to digital government. We will also discuss the obstacles government faces in delivering digital experiences to constituents that are efficient, effective, and pleasant, and we’ll look at some relatively successful examples from federal, state, and city government. The activities and assignments in this course will give you tools to understand the lived experience people have with government and how to deliver better outcomes for them.

This module is a deep dive on understanding user needs through the lens of government policymaking, using design thinking methods and techniques. The methods are best learned through practice. Lecture will be light. Class time will be workshops and activities. Homework will be substantial, with at least 2 hours of reading/videos plus 5-10 hours each week of working with your team to complete the course challenge. The goal of the course challenge is for your team to reach and communicate a deep understanding of a social problem to identify opportunities to improve government service.

For additional information about technology courses at HKS please visit https://medium.com/digitalhks/roadmap/home.