We Are Hiring!

Job Title: Service Design Manager

Who We Are:

The Civic Design Lab (CDL) is a civic service innovation team within Oakland City Hall that grew out of the Resilient Oakland initiative. CDL has been brought together through public-private-partnership to convene, incubate, and solve civic resiliency challenges for Oaklanders. CDL applies human centered design and systems thinking to public sector problems, starting with the question: “who are we designing this policy or service for?” By deploying a systems-based, design thinking methodology, CDL can upend the current siloed approach towards urban governance by integrating different departments to support big picture city management. CDL is currently funded through philanthropic donations from foundations through a 501 (c)(3) fiscal sponsor.

Who We Want:

An experienced Service Design Manager who will lead the CDL’s human centered design process and service innovation with Oakland stakeholders, including: City of Oakland’s staff, community partners, local business and non-profit organizations, and members of the public. This person will be championing user needs, making measurable improvements to current bureaucratic processes from both policy and service standpoint. Successful candidates will have leadership experience on agile product teams.

The Service Designer will be part of a four-person team in the Civic Design Lab currently supported through the Mayor’s Office, working closely with two of our part-time design fellows, the Creative Director, and contracted consultants. CDL is within a portfolio of work jointly overseen by the Resilience Office within City Administration, and the Mayor’s Office.

Core Responsibilities:

  1. Discovering the underlying causes of how City of Oakland residents, staff, and users (past, current and future) experience current policies and service delivery across technological and non-technologies channels.

  2. Co-designing the public’s and City staff’s experiences with service delivery.

  3. Develop high fidelity prototypes to create, test and iterate service improvements across both analog and digital spaces of service delivery.

  4. Ensure that all work undertaken by CDL meets or exceeds City’s standards for equity.

  5. Facilitating project teams to scope and implement projects based on project’s work plan, including interim team check-ins, developing success metrics, timelines for implementation, resources required, and appropriate levels of stakeholder involvement.

  6. Monitor data and analyze to look for problems and opportunities, based on a detailed understanding of any legacy data from databases, surveys, evaluations, etc.

  7. Conducting usability testing of existing services and platforms, of both analog and digital products.

  8. Conducting qualitative research (interviews, focus groups, observational data, etc.).

  9. Championing a service design and learning culture in across City of Oakland Departments seeking to innovate their services as well.

  10. Performs other related duties as assigned.  

Who We Are Looking For:

  • A passion for public service.

  • Experience using design thinking to solve complex problems.

  • Experience conducting user/design research informed by both qualitative insights and quantitative data.

  • Experience managing a diverse product team towards a common goal.

  • Strong interpersonal skills, with a proven ability to influence and build consensus across a broad range of backgrounds, organizational levels and personalities.

  • Outstanding written and verbal communication that can adapt for different audiences.

  • A person with high level of emotional intelligence, self-awareness and maturity: demonstrates empathy, good listening skills, and genuinely cares about people.

  • A sense of humor, patience, and resilience when things get tough.

  • Autonomous self-starter who also works well in teams in a collaborative setting.

  • Resourceful and adaptable to changing circumstances and environments.

  • Able to translate problems into testable prototypes to gather quick feedback from internal teams as well as stakeholders at large.

  • Expertise in machine learning and AI.

  • Experience of working in the public sector.


Bachelor’s degree from an accredited university or college in computer science, engineering, design, social and behavioral sciences or a related field.


Three (3) or more years of verifiable experience doing service design across technological and non-technological channels.  Service design, for us, is defined as: discovering the needs of stakeholders, co-designing and incrementally testing low to high fidelity prototypes to address the identified problems, and iteratively implementing and scaling the resulting solutions.


This is a 6-month Contract to Hire position.

Hourly rate: $45-$60/hour DOE

Application Form:

Part 2

Instructions for Supplemental Materials

Please upload as a single PDF file, of your portfolio (3 or 4 recent projects most relevant to service design work that demonstrate your process, design skills, and impact) AND resume outlining the relevant skills in management, leadership, and design experiences in support of your candidacy.

Please rename all files to include your name and date before uploading to ensure your files can be reviewed correctly.

E.g. firstname_lastname_YYYYMMDD.pdf

Interested in design fellowship?