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The Service Design Studio at the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity

What we do

Our goal is to enable the City of New York to better meet the needs of its most vulnerable residents through service design methods – emphasizing a holistic approach, partnering the people who use services with the public servants and nonprofit providers who deliver them.

“Service design” refers to the practice of creating, better understanding, and improving upon programs at any stage by focusing on the actual experiences of those involved. For a program, product, policy or service to be effective, many factors come into play: the context in which it operates; the value that potential clients perceive to their lives; daily processes and workflows; staff skills and perspectives; clarity of communications; and, physical environments, among them.

NYC Opportunity launched the Service Design Studio to help spread valuable methodologies that are often under-utilized inside government. Our aim is to serve as a resource, helping the City further engage with residents and those who deliver services so that their insights can shape new and existing programs.

The Studio team is versed in design tools, experienced in developing in-person and digital services, and focused on addressing poverty-related challenges. We look forward to working with you.

Book an Office Hour

Start Exploring Our Tools + Tactics

See Service Design Case Studies

Who we are

The Service Design Studio is an internal resource available to New York City government agencies. Our Studio is made up of designers with backgrounds in policy, planning, user experience and technology.

Sitting within NYC Opportunity, the Studio also draws on staff with expertise in other areas, such program development, performance management and evaluation. Our collective team has experience in working collaboratively with City agencies to help advance their policy and programmatic goals.

Learn more about the broader work of NYC Opportunity

How we can support you

Service design is sometimes associated with the earliest stages of creating something new, but the approach is applicable to any phase of a new or existing project. Feel free to be in touch about any project where planning or understanding the experience of clients is a core part of the challenge. Our services include:

Understanding + Documenting

See your service through the lens of the people who use and deliver it, and figure out what improvements will lead to the greatest impact.

  • Explore the landscape of similar services
  • Talk to users and stakeholders
  • Synthesize your new knowledge into actionable insights
  • Create and share documentation to help you move your project forward


Use your observations and insights to bring clarity and viability to your work.

  • Leverage insights about your users and stakeholders
  • Develop, refine, and prioritize hypotheses to clearly define how to achieve desired impacts for your users and stakeholders
  • Utilize structured design methodologies to facilitate meetings aimed at generating new solutions to enhance or improve programs, policies, technology, and communications


Leverage our expertise managing and building programs and digital products to help you test new ideas quickly

  • Explore flexible technologies that don’t require overhauling legacy systems or processes
  • Prototype and test solutions with real users
  • Navigate routes to implementation through internal teams and vendor contracts

Measuring + Evaluating

Plan and execute a strategy to track the impact of your service.

  • Generate metrics and indicators
  • Capture ongoing feedback
  • Build evidence around what’s working and how to improve

Empowering and Training

We publish resources and host events to help you draw on civic service design tools and tactics in your work.


Civic Service Design Tools + Tactics is an introduction to service design for public servants, and a set of practical ways to include design methods in your work.

Use this collection of tools and tactics to see your service in context, talk with people who use it, and try out ideas in low-risk ways.

Office Hours

We host open office hours at our Studio at 4 Metro Tech Center in Downtown Brooklyn. Come talk to us — get advice on a project, learn more about our tools and tactics, or explore how we can work together. Book an appointment with us.

Citywide Design Meetings

We host cross-agency design meetings to share and learn amongst the NYC government design community. Send us a note to be added to our mailing list and be notified of upcoming meetings.


We will be delivering a series of workshops for employees to learn how to apply service design tools and tactics to your products and services. Send us a note to be added to our mailing list.

Team Trainings

We can design and deliver a training specifically for your team or agency. Sign up for our office hours to so we can explore more about how we can empower your team to use service design tools and tactics.

Connect with Us

  • Send us a note
  • Follow us to keep up with our work
    Twitter | Instagram | Facebook | Medium

  • We thank our Founding Partner Citi Community Development for generous support. We are grateful for the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City’s partnership.