LibTech Event: Applying Design to Governance Challenges

Initial Findings:Applying Human Centered Design to Governance Challenges

November 7, 2013: 4:30 PM – 6:00 PM

Jenny Stefanoti – Fellow at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University:

We know poor governance when we see it, and we also have models of effective, responsive, and accountable governments across the globe. But the truth is that we know much less about how change happens. The limits of legal reforms and institutional forms imported from the outside are apparent, and additional resources are rarely a solution on their own. Scholars increasingly agree on the need to develop reforms with greater consideration of local context and capacity. New technologies create opportunities for institutional design, yet many widely touted interventions fail to attract government and citizen users.

Against this backdrop, Associate Professor of Political Science Jeremy Weinstein and I partnered over the 2012-2013 academic year to design the Governance Collaboratory. Our goal is to use the methods of human centered design to help civil society actors and government reformers develop innovations with the potential to disrupt the status quo. We conceived and tested five prototypes for our program, which involved applying the process of design thinking to various governance challenges around the world. I will discuss the key insights we uncovered relating to the substantive problems we addressed, as well as our findings on the utility of design thinking to support governance innovation.


Jenny Stefanoti is currently a fellow at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford, where she applies design thinking to her work at the intersection of technology and international development. She is co-founder of the Governance Collaboratory, a Stanford-based program which supports civil society activists and government reformers to develop innovations that make government more efficient, empower people to have a say in how they are governed, and hold those in power accountable for what they deliver.

Prior to her post at the, Jenny spent over ten years addressing strategic challenges across private, public, and non-profit sectors. She holds a Master’s in Public Administration and International Development from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.


Wallenberg Theater, Wallenberg Hall

450 Serra Mall, Building 160, Stanford, Ca 94305-2055

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