Lee-Sean Huang

Adjunct Assistant Professor or Public Service

Lee-Sean Huang is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Public Service at NYU’s Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service. He is also a designer and futurist who works at the intersection of design, democracy, and the future of work. He is the cofounder and creative director of Foossa, a consultancy that works for and with communities to tell stories, design services, and build new forms of shared value. He is also a lecturer at the Parsons School of Design and the School of Visual Arts. 

His work ranges from redesigning the experience of employee health and wellness at a Fortune 500 corporation to helping agencies of the United Nations better manage their institutional knowledge and refresh their public stories in changing times. He has taught senior organizers of the SEIU (Service Employees International Union) ways to rethink labor organizing in a networked age, advised a major social network on the multiple and shifting meanings of friendship, and conducted research supported by the European Union to build tools to scale online citizen debate and deliberation. In his recent work, he has collaborated with Rwandan genocide survivors to redesign the experience of the Kigali Genocide Memorial. He has also worked with local communities and service providers in New York City to redesign public services for financial empowerment. 

Lee-Sean earned a Bachelor of Arts in Government from Harvard and a Masters in Interactive Telecommunications from NYU.


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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