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Collaborators working at a whiteboard

Do you have a complex challenge?

Our services

The Lab is a team of designers with diverse backgrounds that helps our partners address complex challenges. Across all of our services, we strive to build human-centered design capacity across the federal government.

We combine forces.

We partner with federal agencies and other organizations to take on complex public sector challenges. Working with us can unleash new perspectives and fresh approaches to help solve pressing challenges. Learn more about partnering with us

We teach.

We develop and offer design education classes informed by our experience practicing human-centered design in the federal space to help federal employees respond to and manage the complex challenges they face. Learn more about our educational offerings

We coach.

Creators and change-makers often need support and expertise beyond their team. The Lab works one-on-one with individuals and teams who want guidance, coaching, and feedback. Learn more about coaching

What makes the Lab at OPM different?

We not only help find solutions, we teach people the skills needed to sustain changes. We do this through an integrated blend of classroom-based learning and project-based, hands-on experiences. Individuals can simply attend classes to learn specific skills and the application of design concepts. We also develop long-term partnerships that include a diverse portfolio of projects to advance specific objectives while also developing the capacity at the individual, team, program and organizational levels.

A broad array of opportunities exists for government organizations to work with the Lab. We focus on building problem solving approaches that are effective, scalable and sustainable over the long term. Our partners become advocates, teachers and practitioners of human-centered design. Our return on investment is not only quantified by the measurable positive effects of our work, but by how our partners value and sustain it.

About human-centered design

Human-centered design (HCD) is a creative and strategic approach to solving challenging problems. The method puts people at the center of the process. It takes into account behaviors, ways of thinking, and peoples’ needs and aspirations. HCD integrates academic disciplines including anthropology, psychology, economics, and other practical and theoretical design disciplines. It is a qualitative, participatory and iterative approach. This technique for creative problem-solving rapidly generates new ideas and innovative approaches to better understand and address people’s real needs.

As designers, we have no hidden agenda. We simply want to help our partners solve their problems and improve the way things work. Design methods help us better understand what is going on in the world. The human-centered design approach can provide a sense of why people are struggling with a specific challenge or process and offer insights about how to innovate or intervene to bring about positive change.