Ariel Kennan is a leader in service design, digital product development, and organizational strategy. As a Fellow at the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University, she researches and advises on best practices for using design, data, and technology for improved social safety net outcomes. Ariel leads the Digital Benefits Network to support public interest practitioners working on the social safety net through generating insights, fostering collaboration, and sparking advocacy to advance the delivery of benefits and increase economic opportunity.

Ariel has worked in the private, nonprofit, and public sectors to drive change and deliver impactful solutions. Previously, she served in the New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity where she founded the nation’s first municipal service design studio and managed a portfolio of best-in-class digital products to connect and deliver services. Most recently, she was the Director of Civic Innovation at Sidewalk Labs, where she led the strategy for inclusive participation in the social infrastructure of cities.

She holds a BFA in Integrated Design from Parsons School of Design. Originally from Arizona, she lives with her husband in Brooklyn, New York where she loves riding bikes, playing with her dog and cooking delicious meals.


Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University
New York, NY and Washington DC · February 2021 - Current
Senior Fellow and Research Faculty

Sidewalk Labs
New York, NY

Sidewalk Labs was an urban innovation company working to make cities more sustainable and affordable for all.

Design Director · July 2020 - February 2021

Director of Civic Innovation · May 2018 - June 2020

New York City Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity
New York, NY · September 2014 - April 2018
Director, Design and Product

Code for America
San Francisco, CA · January 2013 - November 2013

ESI Design
New York, NY · January 2008 - December 2012
Interaction and Experience Designer, Design Lead

Local Projects
New York, NY · September - December 2007

Museo di Storia della Scienza
Florence, Italy · October - December 2006


Parsons School of Design

New York, NY
Bachelor of Fine Arts in 

Lorenzo de’Medici

Florence, Italy
Study Abroad

Advising & Community Building

Civic Design by Rosenfeld Media

Lead Curator, Civic Design Community & Conference

Parsons School of Design

New York, NY
Advisory Council, Civic Service Design Graduate Minor

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.


Fast Company, Innovation by Design Awards

Honorable Mentions: General Excellence; Social Good; Spaces, Places + Cities, 2018

Adobe Government Creativity Awards

Best Employee-Facing Campaign; Best Public Facing Campaign, 2018

NYC Technology Forum

Best External Application, 2017

New York Digital Government Summit

Best Application Serving the Public, 2017/

Tribeca Film Festival

Award for Transmedia, 2013

SXSW Interactive Awards

Kiosk and Installation Finalist, 2011; Educational Resource Finalist, 2009