Students and Clients from the 2017 Tech & Innovation in Government course. 

Students and Clients from the 2017 Tech & Innovation in Government course. 

This Harvard Kennedy School field class seeks to give students hands on experience to equip them with the tech and innovation skills to tackle real problems in government.

The last five years have seen the founding and growth of national digital services units (e.g. Government Digital Services in the U.K., and the U.S. Digital Services) and municipal tech and innovation units (e.g. Boston and Philadelphia's Offices of New Urban Mechanics). The scope and ambition of these efforts vary, but they center around making government better with a focus on understanding user needs, making iterative improvements, and using modern technology.

Separated into five teams, students will work closely with a government client to research an important user problem, develop user stories, rapidly design and build prototypes, user-test, and if relevant, develop a plan for the project to continue.  Student teams will also make actionable recommendations to their clients, based on what they have learned during the research and prototyping phases.  

Clients for Spring 2017 are the City of Boston, Commonwealth of Massachusetts, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, and U.S. Department of the Treasury.

Demo Day

You’re invited to see the final class presentations of the Harvard Kennedy School’s 2017 Technology and Innovation Class. 

  • When: Friday, April 28 at 2:00 pm 
  • Where: 1 Brattle Street, Room 402, Cambridge, MA
  • To attend, RSVP here

Teaching Team

Nick Sinai is an Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Nick came to Harvard from the White House, where he was U.S. Deputy CTO. Nick is a Venture Partner at Insight Venture Partners. Nick is the head instructor of DPI-663.

Angel Quicksey is a student at the Harvard Kennedy School and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Angel is the course assistant of DPI-663, and helped design the class.

Chante Lantos-Swett is a student at the Harvard Kennedy School. She took the inaugural DPI-663 course last Spring working with the City of Boston. She is now a course assistant.

Guest Lecturers

Mary Ann Brody is currently completing a tour of duty as a researcher for the United States Digital Service (USDS) at the White House. Mary Ann is a user research lead with the Vets.gov team where she has scaled an agile user research program from the ground up.  Before USDS, Mary Ann worked as a UX research manager to bridge the gap in public health and technology.

Dana Chisnell is co-director of the Center for Civic Design, an independent researcher at UsabilityWorks, and is co-author of Handbook of Usability Testing Second Edition focused on usability in the public sector, having completed work on ballot design and the social web.

Marina Martin served as the Chief Technology Officer of the Department of Veterans Affairs from July 2013 to January 2017, where she built the first agency United States Digital Service team. She was formerly Senior Advisor to US CTO Todd Park and as part of the inaugural class of 18 Presidential Innovation Fellows, Marina served as the first Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the US Department of Education.

Erie Meyer is a founding member of the U.S. Digital Service, a new team working to transform how federal government works for the American people. Previously, Erie worked on President Obama’s Open Data Initiatives in the White House, and served on the implementation team for the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), where she worked to create a system to collect consumer complaints about financial products and services.

Ryan Panchadsaram is an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at KPCB. Previously, he was U.S. Deputy Chief Technology Officer, where he helped launched the U.S. Digital Service, implement the Open Data Executive Order and re-launch Data.gov. Ryan was part the crisis response team that rescued HealthCare.gov. Previously, Ryan co-founded Pipette, (acquired by Ginger.io), and has worked in product roles at Microsoft and Salesforce.com.