Rebooting Government with Design Thinking

Using Radical Collaboration to Improve Institutions

Tue/Thu 1:15p – 3:05p, Thu 5:00p – 7:00p
Studio 1
3 – 4 Units
Letter Grade or C/NC
Launching This Year

Join a passionate group of faculty and students inspired by the potential for human-centered design, alongside new technologies, to transform the public sector. Together, we’ll explore citizens’ needs and governments’ capabilities to spur creative ideas about how to make government more efficient, empower people to have a say in how they are governed, and hold those in power accountable for what they deliver.

In this project-based course, student teams will work intensively on concrete design challenges with two unique partners: a groundbreaking civil society activist in Sierra Leone and the City Manager of East Palo Alto. By working with government reformers on the inside and a civil society activist on the outside, the course will explore the challenges of fostering innovations in governance from both sides of the formal institutional divide. Before embarking on their design challenges, students will also examine governance from a theoretical and empirical perspective, enabling them to see how design thinking complements the analytical and policy approaches already being employed. Need-finding work in the local communities will be essential and students have the opportunity to travel to Sierra Leone over spring break. We are looking for students with a diverse set of disciplinary backgrounds who are willing to think outside of the box, work across disciplinary boundaries, and get their hands dirty. Exceptional undergraduates will be be considered.

In addition to regular class meetings, students will need to attend an evening introductory session on March 12 and a day-long design workshop on Saturday, April 13th.

Enrollment limited to 16.
Application closed

Teaching Team
Liz Ogbu, and California College of Arts
Jenny Stefanotti, fellow
Jeremy Weinstein, Associate Professor of Political Science


Rebooting Government with Design Thinking