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New Course: Designing in the Civic Space

New Course: Designing in the Civic Space

Civic design addresses the most significant challenges our cities and governments face today, from social inequality to environmental crises and political gridlock.

ID Academy’s Designing in the Civic Space course will prepare you to tackle these challenges effectively. You will learn how to co-create equitable solutions alongside communities by applying design principles and best practices. You’ll leave the course equipped with the tools to overcome barriers, build awareness and buy-in, and foster long-term support for design-based approaches within government organizations.

Enroll in the course.

At ID, we believe that anyone can learn to step back, shine a light on a problem, and inspire action by showing—with possibility, but also reason and practicality—what an alternative future could look like.
—Angelo Frigo, 2020 Presidential Innovation Fellow and ID Alum

This course is designed for professionals—from early career to director-level—who have some design experience and want to begin or advance their work in civic design to transform communities.

Specifically, it will benefit:

  • Guardians, administrators, and planners
  • Analysts, advisors, and strategists
  • Organizers and advocates

And others who work in:

  • Government and public administration
  • Community development and engagement
  • Public health and social services
  • Policy analysis and advocacy
  • Civic technology

Civic Design Fundamentals

  • Core definitions and concepts of civic design
  • The role of a civic designer

Applying Design in Civic Environments

  • Contextualizing design for civic contexts
  • Foundational principles and philosophies
  • Building design mindsets in teams

Addressing Challenges and Designing Solutions

  • Addressing bureaucratic barriers to innovation in government
  • Creating equity through civic design
  • Integrating qualitative and quantitative data and measuring impact

Week 1: What is Civic Design? Learn about the role of civic design and how to apply design in civic contexts.

Week 2: Principles of Civic Design & Design Mindsets. Understand the key principles and philosophies and how they change over time, as well as how to build design mindsets in teams.

Week 3: Best Practices for Project Work. Gain an understanding of successful project techniques through case study analysis.

Week 4: Understanding Barriers & Measuring Impact. Develop strategies to overcome bureaucratic obstacles to innovation in government.

Week 5: Building Equity Using Civic Design. Learn how to promote equity through civic design.

Week 6: The Future of Civic Design. Explore what works in civic design,  how it can be improved, and where civic design is heading next.

Recognized for pioneering human-centered design and systems design, ID is home to the only design school in the US devoted completely to graduate students.

ID’s Executive Academy extends our 85 years of design innovation to professionals from various backgrounds, equipping both designers and non-designers with critical tools to transform communities, systems, and services.

Through this first-of-its-kind civic design course, you’ll acquire tangible, work-ready knowledge that can be readily applied in your professional context, equipping you with vital tools and methods tailored to civic contexts.

Any of the following fulfill the prerequisites for this class:

  • Bachelor’s degree or higher with a focus on Human-Centered Design or a related field such as Experience Design, Design Innovation, Design Research, or Design Strategy.
  • 1+ years of work experience in service design, UX design, product design, design research, design strategy, or civic design.
  • Completion of Design Thinking and/or Human-Centered Design courses such as ID Academy courses; Stanford Design Thinking Bootcamp; IDEO U: Design Thinking Courses; eCornell: Design Thinking Certificate; HBS: Design Thinking and Innovation; MIT Executive Course: Mastering Design Thinking; Acumen Academy: Introduction to Human-Centered Design; Bloomberg Harvard Innovation Track, Bloomberg Innovation Training.
  • Other. Please email to explain why other coursework or experience qualifies you to waive the requirement.



• Thursdays, 2–5pm CT
• February 15–March 21, 2024 (6 weeks)

FormatSessions meet live online and include lectures, group work, and networking

Commitment: 4 hours/week (3 hours of instruction and 1 hour of independent study)


• $1,600 when you enroll by October 31

• $2,000 after October 31

Stephanie Wade

Stephanie Wade

Founder and CEO, Ascendant

A world leader in civic innovation.

Join the Class
Register now
Contact Peter Zapf

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