Ariel Kennan

Ariel is the Director of Civic Innovation at Sidewalk Labs. She draws upon her experience in multidisciplinary design and technology to collaborate with community, corporate and government partners to design service experiences, craft strategy, create and source digital products, and build capacity.

Most recently, Ariel served the New York City Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity as Director of Design and Product. In that role, she led the design and development of a portfolio of digital products and founded the nation’s first municipal service design studio dedicated to making public services for low-income residents as effective and accessible as possible. Her time in government was inspired through fellowships with Code for America and the Center for Urban Pedagogy, where she discovered the potential for design in the public sector. Ariel previously designed and produced experiences for the built environment, ranging from intimate immersive media to expansive buildings. She holds a BFA in Integrated Design from Parsons School of Design.

Originally from Arizona, she lives in Brooklyn with her husband. She loves riding bikes and cooking delicious meals.


Sidewalk Labs
New York, NY · May 2018 - Present
Director of Civic Innovation
Enabling civic experiences to engage communities in decision making, relationship building, and interactions with local organizations and government.

New York City Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity
New York, NY · September 2014 - April 2018
Director, Design and Product
Led design and digital product development to improve service delivery and advance equity and opportunity for all New Yorkers.

Code for America
San Francisco, CA · January 2013 - November 2013
Paired with the governments of Kansas City, Kansas and Missouri to build new civic software applications and enhance technology policy, government innovation, and community organizing. Consulted city governments regarding digital innovation including open data policy and standards, data portals, and technology best practices which led to new legislation being passed, creation of innovation roles, and events within city hall.

Center for Urban Pedagogy
New York, NY · August 2012 - June 2013
Public Access Design Fellow
Year long series of conversations and mentorship with a group of designers focused on social and civic design.

ESI Design
New York, NY · January 2008 - December 2012
Interaction and Experience Designer, Design Lead
Promoted from intern to lead designer. Served on creative teams and provided production oversight on key projects within the studio.

Clients included: Barclays, Beacon Capital Partners, Comcast, Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the Senate, General Electric, Institute for War and Peace Reporting, News Corporation, Octave Living, Pfizer, Trust for the National Mall, Rodale

Local Projects
New York, NY · September - December 2007
Assisted in research, design, and production of museum-based projects.

Museo di Storia della Scienza
Florence, Italy · October - December 2006
Participated in museum education activities and created a visitor guidebook.


Parsons School of Design
New York, NY
Bachelor of Fine Arts in Integrated Design

Lorenzo de’Medici
Florence, Italy
Study Abroad


Fast Company, Innovation by Design Awards, 2018
Honorable Mention: General Excellence
Honorable Mention: Social Good
Honorable Mention: Spaces, Places + Cities

Adobe Government Creativity Awards, 2018
Best Employee-Facing Campaign; Best Public Facing Campaign

NYC Technology Forum, Best External Application, 2017

New York Digital Government Summit, Best Application Serving The Public, 2017

Tribeca Film Festival, BOMBAY SAPPHIRE® Award for Transmedia, 2013

Communicator Awards, Award of Distinction Winner - Interactive Multimedia, 2011

SXSW Interactive Awards, Kiosk and Installation Finalist, 2011

SXSW Interactive Web Awards, Educational Resource Finalist, 2009


Design Reader for the University of Texas at Austin, Building a Design Culture Inside Government, September 2017