HSC1: Building social systems with integrity

Learn to design social environments around human values

This is an online course/workshop, and a community around it. We are…

Designers in charge of social systems, policies, or online environments. In HSC1, we’ve found practical techniques for preventing social problems (like widespread depression, isolation, and the breakdown of democracy) that arise from bad social systems design.

“This marks one of the most important shifts in my design career and I believe in our industry.” — Kate Pincott, Designer at Facebook

Working together to re-imagine online and offline social systems. Facing the challenges of the 21st century will take a network of designers with a common vocabulary. Our graduates work together across many organizations, with alumni in Google, Khan Academy, Mission U, Adobe, Buzzfeed, Facebook, Github, The Sorbonne, and Amazon.

“This curriculum is the best way for designers of social systems to do their jobs responsibly. My hope is that this can lead more people to articulate and confront how their company’s tool or platform is letting people down — and inspire them to do better.” — Katherine McConachie, MIT Media Lab

Advocating in our organizations, fighting to get better policies and systems adopted and shipped. With the HSC1 method, social solutions are described in terms of the values of our users, and then linked to success metrics for our organizations and products.

I found the “hard to dos” concept really helpful. Translating from values to specific difficult actions seems to reliably generate insights. — Andy Matuschak, Khan Academy

We are designers of social systems and spaces

We all know that sinking feeling, when something we’ve made causes social problems. HSC1 helps us to redesign the social systems we’re responsible for, and avoid these problems in future designs.

One key concept in the course is human values: e.g., open-mindedness, agency, protecting one another, and belonging. Most people talk about values using vague terms that aren’t specific enough to name what’s really important for a user. We practice naming user values as concretely and specifically as we name user goals and feelings. We uncover values through in-person interviews, surveys, and usage metrics.

And we learn to design systems around values, as well as to measure the connection between systems and values—whether a system supports or blocks the user in living by their values.

We are a network

We are a community (over slack) of well-positioned people in Silicon Valley and beyond, who work to reinvent social systems to address social problems and support users in living by their values.

We work together across many organizations, with alumni in Google, Khan Academy, Mission U, Adobe, Buzzfeed, Facebook, Github, The Sorbonne, and Amazon. Previous and current students collaborate, and practice the design methods together. We share stories of how HSC1 is being applied in various companies.

We are advocates

We advocate for values-based group processes, social systems, and designs. We have developed tactics to get buy-in—both inside and outside of organizations — for the systems that humanity needs to face global challenges.

The HSC1 class provides a variety of conceptual tools for proposing measurable changes and fighting for what’s right. Part of this is a powerful vocabulary: we can discuss the emergent norms in our systems, we can name the values of our users, and we can suggest which specific features will align those norms and values.

Join us, and be one of the good guys

Take HSC1 as a six-session online class or a two-day workshop.

Want more information?
Come to a demo event, in which trainers use the HSC1 method in real time.
Check our FAQ.
Ask a question in our Facebook group.

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Fill out this form to apply for the class.


Six-session online course

  • $1,200 per student
  • Scholarships are available based on individual need

Two day workshop

  • $7,000 + travel expenses, per trainer
  • One trainer is required for each group of up to five students

HSC1 Facilitators