Civic Futures Awards

Service Design Lab for working with residents to improve city services

Austin Office of Design & Delivery

Service Design Lab

The problem

City staff need support in improving how we deliver services to residents throughout our community.

Solution / Approach

Building on the success of the Service Design Studio in NYC’s Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, Austin’s Office of Design & Delivery developed a Service Design Lab in 2018 to scale the capacity for city employees to work across organizational silos and directly with community members to design new programs, processes, and policies based on community needs.

Core team
  • Taylor Cook
  • Sarah Rodriguez
  • Chris Luedtke
  • Mark Janchar
  • Kristin Taylor
  • Manlin Yao
  • Andrew Do
  • Stephanie Gates
Key advisors
  • Stephen Elkins
  • Marni Wilhite
  • Ben Guhin
  • Daniel Honker
  • Office of Equity
  • Office of Sustainability
  • Office of Design & Delivery
  • Many community organizations
What can make it sustainable?

Full-time employee positions to support the organization around management and operations, in addition to updates to payscales and job descriptions for the modern era.

Advice to others

When people ask for help but you don’t have time, write down the details. A lot of organizations don’t know how much help is being requested, because most requests never make it up to the top. The list of folks in need can be a compelling case for structural change.