Dave Seliger

Redesigning how local government operates

Chief of Staff to the Executive Deputy Commissioner at the NYC Department of Housing Preservation and Development

Founder of Public School
Talent innovation for NYC Mayor's Office of Tech + Innovation
Co-founder of Designing for Financial Empowerment
Co-founder of Civic Service


Dave Seliger is a nationally recognized expert on using service design and process improvement strategies to solve governmental challenges. He most recently led Public School, a non-profit he founded to support public sector organizations in designing and delivering more effective, efficient, and easy-to-use public services. Public School recently created a government talent pipeline program that enables graduates of public universities to access civil service jobs.

Early on in his career in NYC government, Dave developed a reputation for being able to convene key organizational leaders and broker the development of new initiatives. He co-founded Civic Service to promote the use of human-centered design in government and then co-founded Designing for Financial Empowerment to demonstrate how design can improve public services for low-income individuals.

Dave's legacy in the NYC Mayor’s Office includes the redesign of the NYC Jobs website, the NYC Government X Design procurement vehicle for design services, and the creation of the Civic Service Design Studio in the NYC Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity.

Dave is passionate about all types of city-related issues, ranging from social services to the built environment. His work and thought leadership have been featured by Fast Company, Next City, RouteFifty, Google re:Work, Living Cities, the UK Design Council, and Core77.


NYC Jobs Website

New York City government's Jobs website promotes about 3,300 jobs on any given day. Although the website was given a temporary rebranding in 2013, there was no strategy behind how the City recruits talent. I worked with multiple City agencies to redesign the website from scratch, make it mobile responsive, and attractive to multiple user bases. The final design was built in Bootstrap and then rebuilt within the City's CMS.

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Designing for Financial Empowerment

A cross-sector initiative to explore how service design can be used to make public sector financial empowerment services more effective and accessible. The initiative is a partnership between the Parsons DESIS Lab, the City of New York, and Citi Community Development, and was a runner-up in the 2016 Core77 Design Awards.

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NYC Tech Jobs

A micro-site that helps City agencies recruit socially minded millennials who might otherwise join start-ups. Multiple agencies asked the Mayor's Office of Tech + Innovation to design a microsite that would market critical and hard-to-fill tech jobs in a more compelling way. I designed, developed, and open-sourced the website on GitHub—and other cities are using it!

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NYC Tech Jobs Videos

As part of the process of launching the NYC Tech Jobs micro-site, I had the opportunity to work with NYC Media and creative direct three videos featuring City employees talking about their jobs. The videos come across as raw—the subjects fumble words and laugh out of awkwardness—but also very human.

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A new platform for delivering digital services more effectively. Inspired by similar efforts in the UK, Boston, and Philadelphia, I initially catalogued New York City's digital presence—over 340 different websites!—and then proposed an alpha.nyc.gov that would integrate the most-used public services that accounted for over 50% of web traffic.

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City Hall Lightning Talks

A series of talks from dozens of different City agencies on a range of tech, design, data, community engagement, and other innovation topics. The Lightning Talks were only open to City employees and offered a chance to learn about other agencies, share innovative ideas, and build a network of interagency collaborators.

Civic Service

A bottom-up approach to embedding service design in government. Founded in 2013 at the Parsons DESIS Lab, Civic Service promoted design in government by hosting 34 events just for public servants, then collaborates with these internal champions to launch service design projects for their agencies.

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Futuring Workforce Development

A partnership between Civic Service, the NYC Department of Small Business Services, and Open Society Foundations to explore the future of workforce development in New York City in the year 2040. The project was a runner-up in the 2015 Core77 Design Awards.

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Civic Design Camp

A day-long "unconference" that brought together 75 public servants, designers and innovators to create connections, share knowledge, and strengthen the emerging movement dedicated to creating better citizen experiences. The event was co-sponsored by the Knight Foundation and Code for America.

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Route77 Roadtrip

Three days after graduating from college, I left on a roadtrip across the country—and ultimately visited 36 states in 38 days. The best part was that I got to interview designers for Core77 everywhere I went!

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Writing & Speaking