Dr. Alexandra Jayeun Lee, Creative Director, Civic Design Lab, City of Oakland
Alexandra is the Creative Director of the Civic Design Lab (CDL), the City of Oakland’s in-house design team that is dedicated to training government staff and making public services for low-income Oaklanders as effective and accessible as possible.
The CDL’s mission is to empower the City of Oakland staff to better meet the needs of Oaklanders through a new model of civic innovation. The CDL is the project of the Resilience Office and the Resilient Oakland playbook, and the lab’s core function is to serve as a human-centered innovation incubator that enhances civic engagement by training, facilitating, and working alongside those who use and deliver City’s critical social services. By putting people first in every project that we touch, we are committed to ensuring that our public servants, civic leaders, partners, and community alike have the right tools to respond to 21st century challenges.
By background, Alexandra is a full stack user experience design researcher and chatbot connoisseur, specializing in social impact and innovations. Alexandra spent her formative years as a humanitarian architect, founding New Zealand’s first non-profit service design agency whose primary mission was to make design accessible by connecting talented designers with community organizations. Since moving to the Bay Area in 2014 to complete her post-doc at UC Berkeley’s College of Environmental Design Research, Alexandra published her first book on design research methods called, “Resilience by Design” (Springer: 2016), which explores the application of design thinking strategies in the context of social crisis. Prior to CDL, Alexandra has worked with various startups and nonprofits to integrate chatbots into their product so that organizations can focus on their mission and improve user experience. Her goal for the next 30 years is to use her expertise to help connect people, and make the world a more accessible and friendly place for all.