Andrew Cramer
Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service

Andrew first developed his long-standing interest in the intersection of policy and design while working as a design consultant for the IRS, where he designed a strategy for the systematic organization of taxpayer communications. After working with the IRS, he began designing digital products as the Interaction Design Lead for Barnes & Noble's eTextbook reader application, NookStudy. Andrew has combined his interest in policy and digital products in his current role as Senior User Experience Designer at Case Commons where he designs digital tools that help social workers leverage technology when managing their casework.

Andrew places a high value on the power of Design Thinking and research to inform and shape systems and services. This process was at the core of the design work he conducted while earning his Master of Design in Communication Planning and Information Design at Carnegie Mellon University.

At Case Commons, Andrew enjoys the unique challenge of designing digital products that navigate the complexities of public policy with a human-centered focus. He views improving the user experience for social workers as an opportunity to allow for more time and energy to be dedicated to the daily demands of their jobs by keeping their digital workspace intuitive and pain-free.

In addition to his design work, Andrew has experience in undergraduate and graduate level art and design education. What Andrew values most from this teaching experience is working with individuals and groups to help connect design concepts and methodologies to real world practice. He finds it rewarding to see the light bulb go off when people achieve understanding.

Semester Course
Summer 2014 PADM-GP.2145.001 Design Thinking: A Creative Approach to Problem Solving and Creating Impact

The word "design" has traditionally been used to describe the visual aesthetics of objects such as books, websites, products, interiors, architecture, and fashion. But increasingly, the definition of design has expanded to include not just artifacts but strategic services and systems. As the challenges and opportunities facing businesses, organizations, and society grow more complex, and as stakeholders grow more diverse; an approach known as "design thinking" is playing a greater role in finding meaningful paths forward. Design thinking is an iterative problem-solving process of discovery, ideation, and experimentation that employs various design-based techniques to gain insight and yield innovative solutions for virtually any type of organizational or business challenge, prominently including those within public service. At the heart of this approach is a deep sensitivity to the needs of people, whether they are consumers, clients, or everyday citizens. In "Design Thinking: A Creative Approach to Problem Solving and Creating Impact," we will unpack each step of the design thinking process and become familiar with the design thinker's toolkit. Students will develop skills as ethnographers, visual thinkers, strategists, service designers, and storytellers through a hybrid of seminar discussions and collaborative projects. Over the course of seven weeks, students will directly apply what they have learned to a public service issue that they are passionate about, by untangling the complexities of related policy and exploring innovative ways to create real impact.


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