What is the Day One Institute?

Our mission is to equip civil servants with mindsets, capabilities and experience to foster and deliver programs that meet the needs of diverse customers—the American people. We envision a future of government services that offer seamless entry points into state and federal programs to support all Americans utilizing any social safety net program or government service.

Our Craft

Experiential training and development opportunities—with direct access to world class trainers who have grounded experience in building and delivering social services from positions within government.

Online training, resources, and toolkits—through an online platform that provides consistent access to resources and people to support civil servants on their journey to transform social services within their offices.

HCDX: Human Centered Design Experiential Training

The White House issued an Executive Order focused on customer experience across all agencies receiving federal funding, creating an imperative for government programs to be infused with customer engagement and feedback systems that include customers in the design of policies, programs and processes, yet agencies and civil servants lack the training, mindsets and access to resources to best support the execution of their mandate. 

This 7 day (remote) or 5 day (in person) class equips participants with the methods, processes and confidence to use Human Centered Design for both policy making and service design. Participants will:

  • Learn and practice methods and skills to do customer research to better understand customer needs.
  • Learn how to frame and reframe problems, so that they are focused on solving the right problems
  • Tackle real world problems to learn how to co-create solutions with customers
  • Develop and test a prototype that addresses a problem or opportunity for improving processes and/or policy making 
  • Learn ways in which ideas from everywhere have the chance to be implemented
  • Grow equity and innovation mindsets for improved customer outcomes.

This training is set up to be experiential—learning by doing. Participants will be actively iterating, learning, and practicing design thinking and other approaches to innovation.


A guild is a medieval association of craftsmen or merchants; or an association of people in pursuit of a common goal.

The Day One Institute designed GILD21 as a 21st Century guild (it’s also an acronym: Government Innovation, Leadership and Design). Our craftsmen are public servants. Our trade is improving policy and service delivery across the whole of government.

We know that most public servants at all levels of government care deeply about their mission, and often have great ideas to improve how their agency works. They see low uptake and high dropout rates in programs that could help people get jobs, get off of welfare, or learn new skills. They see inequity in outcomes that results from the disconnect between old government approaches and how the world has changed. GILD21 will teach leaders in state and local government the critical skills to focus on their customers in order to redesign policies, processes and operate more effectively.

As a result of the GILD21 program, participants will learn to:

  • Design with the customer in mind to strategize and solve problems;
  • Understand implementation models to improve program design and operations;
  • Understand how to use Behavioral Insights to change behavior
  • Diffuse and use innovation tools to do better and act faster;
  • Assume the role of a policy entrepreneur; and
  • Apply new mindsets and methodologies to your work to create a culture of learning that encourages enthusiasm.
  • Learn how to recognize psychological safety and how to encourage it
  • Learn how to facilitate effective meetings. Develop skills to facilitate productive meetings and create a culture of active participation and learning that encourages focus, energy and enthusiasm.
  • Increase the potential of getting ideas into action in bureaucracies, by understanding the innovation/adoption curve
  • Use storytelling for influence
  • Practice strategic foresight to help “future proof” government