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Nick Sinai

Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy

DPI-663 is a field course with limited enrollment. Students must apply and be accepted by the instructor before their petition to enroll will be accepted. Accepted students will be notified by email and instructed to submit a Petition to Enroll.  2020 application link is  Deadline to apply is Friday, Jan 24 at 11:59pm. Accepted students will be notified by Sunday, Jan 26, by midnight.

In the last few years digital services units have emerged as key players in government reform in the U.S. and abroad. The scope and ambition of these efforts vary, but they all leverage methodologies common to private sector entrepreneurship -- an intense focus on understanding user needs, rapid prototyping and iteration, and the use of modern technologies.

Drawing on approaches pioneered by these units, this course seeks to equip students with a methodology and a mindset for driving change in 21st century government. Students will use lean startup principles and user-centered design methods to solve real problems for local and federal government clients.

These methods are best learned through practice. As such, this field class offers lectures on core concepts concurrently with client work. Students will be placed in teams of five and assigned a government client. Each team will scope their project; conduct user research in the field; rapidly design, build, and test lightweight prototypes; and, if relevant, create a plan to scale their product. Teams also offer policy, operations, and strategy recommendations at a final Demo Day, as well as in presentations at the client site.

For more information on the course, including past presentations, prototypes, and blog posts from student teams, please see

2020 Clients will be the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and the City of Boston.

Permission of the instructor required. The application link is: The deadline is Friday, Jan 24 at 11:59pm. Accepted students will be notified by Sunday, Jan 26, by midnight.