Joan Kelly

Adjunct Associate Professor of Public Service

Joan Kelly

Joan Kelly is an Adjunct Associate Professor of Public Service at the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.  

Joan Kelly, Chief Patient Experience Officer at NYU Langone Medical Center, leads the patient-centered care work, which encompasses patient satisfaction, advocacy, complaint and complement management, volunteer services, pastoral care, international patients, and hospitality services. Joan is the architect of the “Perfect Experience. Every Patient. Every Time” strategy and guiding vision, built through a human-centered design lens. This model is designed to improve patients’ and families’ total experience with the NYU Langone Medical Center both inpatient and outpatient and drive the institution toward the highest level of “patient centeredness” and satisfaction.

Joan is known for driving innovation and engagement across large, multi-faceted organizations, and bringing great consumer experience ideas to fruition through the alignment of ideas, people and processes. Most recently, she led Consumer Experience, Well-Being and Innovation for Humana, Inc., a $42 billion Fortune 79 healthcare company with 15 million members. Joan developed the Corporate Consumer Experience Strategy and the 10-year Medicare Consumer Experience plan, launching a navigation program to help members manage the healthcare system.  She also established the first consumer experience teams and in so doing, designed models for consumer co-creation and patient-centered care development.  Prior to Humana, Joan helped the Virgin brand develop a program that incentivized individuals to get and stay healthy.  She has also advanced innovation across a variety of multi-national organizations, including the Dana Farber Cancer Center, Harvard University, NASA, the Department of Defense, and the Walt Disney Company.  Joan is currently on the advisory board for the joint Kellogg MBA and Engineering degree program at Northwestern University and board member of Creative Visions.

Joan received her MBA from Simmons School of Management in Boston.

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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