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Together, let’s design better public services.

The Service Design Studio at the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity (“NYC Opportunity”) is excited to present our first ever “open call” for partnership initiatives, called Designing for Opportunity.

Designing for Opportunity pairs the Studio’s designers with New York City government agencies and offices for 6-12 months to work together on addressing challenges faced by low-to-moderate income* New Yorkers.

New York City government agencies and offices that are interested in partnering with the Service Design Studio should submit a brief application, introducing us to your initiative and explaining how service design might help you enhance the way that you deliver public services to low-to-moderate income New Yorkers.

Download the application form and read about how to apply on our Application Page. Final responses are due by 6:00PM ET on February 1, 2018.

Key Materials

Information Packet

Application Form

Downloadable Application Questions

Information Session RSVP

Partnering with the Studio

The Studio will work hand-in-hand with selected teams to apply the tools and tactics of service design to enhance an existing initiative or design a new one. Throughout our collaboration, the Studio and partners will work together to identify the challenges that clients and service providers face and test new enhancements, all intended to improve holistic, end-to-end service delivery. Enhancements can be wide-ranging including but not limited to policy, communications materials, technology, physical space, or scripts for client interaction.

Over the 6–12 month engagement, the Service Design Studio will lead your initiative’s core team through the following service design process:

Your Initiative

The Service Design Studio will evaluate Designing for Opportunity proposals based on the following criteria. For more detail, see the Evaluation Rubric in the Information Packet.

Meet our logistical requirements

  • Be managed by or contracted through a New York City Government agency or office
  • Begin engagement with the Service Design Studio in early March, 2018
  • Engage with the Service Design Studio for 6–12 months
  • Involve multiple partners (City agencies, offices and/or nonprofits) in providing a service across a need or population
  • Have the ability to provide potential funding and support for implementation of improvements, which could include: agency staff, service enhancement(s), policy changes, communication materials, digital products, and change management

Have a clear focus and meet priorities

  • Focus on low-to-moderate income (LMI) New Yorkers and touch a variety of stakeholders (both internal and external): e.g. service providers, public servants, and city residents
  • Present opportunities to discover and implement new strategic enhancements to existing services or area of need
  • Align with the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity core mission and principles
  • Relate to core competencies and mission of the proposing City agency
  • Map to Mayoral priorities

Be outcome-driven

  • Demonstrate the potential for measurable positive outcomes for the lives of low-to-moderate income New Yorkers
  • Build on existing data, evidence and research related to relevant services, needs, and populations
  • Show commitment and capacity to assessing results (e.g., ability to compare to baseline data to gauge improvements)

*The Service Design Studio utilizes the following definition for low-to-moderate income (LMI): individuals earning $58,953 or below, which is less than 80% of the New York-Jersey City-White Plains, NY-NJ Metropolitan Statistical Area’s (MSA code 35614) Federal Financial Institutions Examination Council (FFIEC)-estimated 2017 Median Family Income of $73,700.

Key Dates and Application Process

January 9, 2018: Application window opens

January 11, 2018, 10 AM ET: Information Session 1 — Sign up!

January 16, 2018, 10 AM ET: Information Session 2 — Information Session Recording

You will have an opportunity to learn more and ask questions about the application process at the Information Sessions. If you are or your team are unable to attend in person, we’ll be recording the sessions and making them available online following the session.

February 1, 2018, 6 PM ET: Application window closes

Submit your completed application via email using our Application Page. The application consists of multiple choice and written response questions. Additionally, applicants are required to submit a letter of support from their Commissioner, Office Head, or Deputy Commissioner. Optionally, applicants can also submit additional information including presentations, research studies, data or other materials that may support their application. Please submit letter of support, supplemental materials, and the application via email to

Week of February 12, 2018: Semi-finalists announced

The Service Design Studio will score all proposals using the Evaluation Rubric included in the Information Packet.

February 12–20, 2018: Semi-finalist workshops

The four highest-scoring applicants will each be asked to participate in a three-hour workshop with the Service Design Studio team. The workshop will be a chance for the partner and Studio teams to roll up their sleeves together to do a more in-depth exploration of the initiative and its stakeholders. All semi-finalists will receive recommendations and documentation from their workshop.

The semi-finalist applications will be re-scored following the workshops. The Service Design Studio will present scored proposals, workshop findings, and recommendation for winning application to the leadership teams at NYC Opportunity, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, and Citi Community Development.

Late February 2018: Winning application announced

Early March 2018: Engagement begins


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

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Service Design Principles

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