Jason Baker is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service of NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He is also a writer at IDEO. For many years he worked as an editor and writer for the New York book industry, where he conceptualized the Barnes & Noble Classics series with three other editors. His projects at IDEO have spanned the private and public sectors, working with such clients as American Express, Brooklyn Public Library, City Harvest, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Everlane, National Geographic, Sony, and others. He holds an MFA in poetry from Hunter College, and has taught classes and workshops on design thinking at NYU Wagner, Parsons, and Stanford in New York.
PADM-GP.2145.: 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.