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Get your hands dirty with human-centered design

Interested innovators can join us for a number of different courses to learn more about human-centered design, its elements, and how it can be applied in the public sector. Below are a list of the courses that we deliver. You can join a class through open enrollment at the dates listed in the links below or you can have one of our classes customized for your office. If you are interested in talking through the best option for your office or team, feel free to reach out to us at LAB@OPM.gov

Fundamentals of Human-Centered Design Workshop

This workshop provides an understanding of how you can use human-centered design practices in your daily work. It focuses on:

  • Breaking down complex problems to understand their root causes
  • How root causes impact the people we serve
  • Why human behavior might inform potential solutions
  • The use of rapid prototyping to learn about and develop potential solutions to complex challenges

This monthly workshop is a fast-paced, project-based learning experience that focuses on critical thinking, problem solving, and data analysis.

Register for Fundamentals of Human-Centered Design

Design School

Our Design School is delivered quarterly and is a week-long work/learn/engage event for government participants eager to experience new ways to understand and apply human-centered design methods in government. The goal of Design School is to support government employees in navigating uncertainty through the use of structured and unstructured learning formats. While our Fundamentals of Human-Centered Design Workshop walks through the design process in a certain way using a specific challenge, Design School participants bring their own challenge to the week and the activities provide a holistic view of design to show the various ways it can be applied in government. 

Register for Fall Design School 2018 October 15-19, 2018

**Save the date for Spring Design School 2019 March 25-29, 2019!**

Modules

Our design modules are day-long workshops focusing on different aspects of the design process as it applies to government innovation. 

Constructive Critique

As a participant, you will be introduced to and practice techniques for discussing and evaluating ideas, plans, pitches, stories and presentations in order to identify future action and designs. Participants will also use insight gained from facilitated conversations to iterate on their personal approach to providing feedback.

Register for Constructive Critique

Design for Government

This module will explore the historical design of this country’s democracy and how it has led to the current state of its political institutions, with a focus on the federal bureaucracy. Combining this historical grounding with the tenets of human-centered design will reveal levers for change and possibility to the perceived limits to public sector innovation.

Mapping Systems and Processes

Mapping Systems and Processes explores a key practice in human-centered design and public sector innovation. Mapping, like design, is both a verb and a noun. The verb suggests the idea of discovery; the noun alludes to the representation of a territory, one that is often geographic but may also be conceptual. Discovering and visualizing conceptual territories is at the core of this course.

Register for Mapping Systems and Processes

Participatory Design Methods

Participatory design is designing with users, and not just for them. In this course, we explore the theory and methods of participatory design, as well as strategies for how and when to deploy them. 

Register for Participatory Design Methods

Problem-Framing for Solution-Finding

 In this one-day course, we will explore problem framing in the arts, sciences, industry, diplomacy, and humor (among other fields). We will experiment with various applications of and approaches to this powerful practice in design. 

Register for Problem-Framing for Solution-Finding

Visual Communication for Everyone

Participants will leave this course able to recognize fundamental visual design principles and use them to create work that visually aligns with their intentions. This will result in better collaborations with designers and improve the visual communications they produce every day.

Visual Eloquence

Visual Eloquence introduces sketching, drawing, and diagramming as core competencies for creative problem-making and collaborative problem-solving. By honing in on the premise that drawing in innovation is about clarity and communication, not aesthetic judgement, this class demonstrates the full potential of simple pictures to develop insights, share ideas, and communicate outcomes to better frame, explore, and solve complex problems in government.

Register for Visual Eloquence

Visualizing Systems

This course is focused on using visual language to understand systems. Participants will examine different types of systems and how they are represented. Activities will include breaking down every day systems into their basic parts and practicing drawing their flows and behaviors. By the end of class, participants will understand how visualizing systems can be a diagnostic tool for identifying problems, possibilities, and potential impacts and how these practices can be applied to their own working environment.

Register for Visualizing Systems