Dreams for Design and Digital in Government

Reflections on hiring innovative teams, building capacity, and improving services

Ariel Kennan
Apr 27, 2018 · 13 min read
NYC Opportunity Design and Product Team Members

As I look back on nearly four years serving in the New York City Mayor’s Office, I want to share some of the major accomplishments and my hopes for where my unit, the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (NYC Opportunity), is headed.

Learning the Enterprise


NYC Opportunity team members participating in a design pin-up to give collaborative feedback on a prototype.
NYC Opportunity apprentices, team at the Studio launch, and hosting a cross-team workshop.
Build With NYC recruiting site hosted on Github Pages.

Delivering on Change

Delivery has been the strategy from the beginning and has also helped hone our process of what works.


The HOME-STAT journey map became a document of shared understanding of end-to-end service delivery.

Queensbridge Connected


NYC Opportunity designer testing an ACCESS NYC prototype with a resident.

Growing Up NYC and Generation NYC

Launch of Generation NYC at BAM

Benefits and Programs API and Rules Engine API

Benefits & Programs API categories
NYC Opportunity Product team shadowing the Public Engagement Unit.

Seeding and Scaling New Ways of Working

The past year has shown the institutionalization and potential of scale for utilizing service design and digital best practices inside NYC government. With proven work, a documented process, and seed support from key partners, the landscape for how to operate looks dramatically different.

Tactics from the Service Design Studio
Civic Service Design Tools + Tactics book
Project plan based on the design tactics
Office Hour attendees from government agencies and nonprofits.
Studio and ACS team members planning field research.

Dreams for the Future

I see the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, and its increasing focus on design and product, on a continued upward trajectory.

I hope to see a wider commitment to best in class digital services and the in-house talent needed for delivery.

I hope that the commitment to service design capacity and tools continues.

Next Chapter

It’s been an honor of a lifetime to serve the City of New York with my talented NYC Opportunity colleagues who passionately work to increase equity and opportunity for low-income New Yorkers.

Thank You

Design and Product team members wearing Growing Up NYC gear.

NYC Opportunity

News from the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity