Bio

Ariel Kennan is a leader in service design, digital product development, and organizational strategy. She embeds equity and justice in her work and strives to create a world where everyone can prosper. As a Senior Fellow at the Beeck Center for Social Impact + Innovation at Georgetown University, she is researching and advising on best practices for using design, data and technology for improved social safety net program and policy outcomes and the equitable investment of recovery funding.

Ariel has worked in the private, nonprofit and public sectors to drive change and deliver impactful solutions. She served in the New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity as a Director of Design and Product to improve service delivery and advance equity and opportunity for all New Yorkers. While there, 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. 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.

Most recently, as the Director of Civic Innovation at Sidewalk Labs, she worked to improve quality of life in cities, leading the vision for civic life as part of the social infrastructure strategy and collaborated with government, organizations and communities to pilot programs and products.

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.


Experience

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

Sidewalk Labs
New York, NY
Sidewalk Labs is 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
Fellow

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

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
Intern
Assisted in research, design, and production of museum-based projects.

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

Education

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


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.

Awards

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


Writing & Publications

Sidewalk Talk, Collab: A new digital tool for community participation, May 2019

NYC Opportunity Blog, Dreams for Design and Digital in Government, April 2018

NYC Opportunity Blog, How We’re Building Great Digital Products Inside Government, March 2018

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