Policy Innovation Lab

Convening students and community stakeholders to address pressing issues in the Washington, D.C. area

  • About the Lab
  • Human Centered Design
  • Our Partners
  • Lab Leadership
  • The Policy Innovation Lab was created in February of 2015 so that McCourt students are able to more deeply and meaningfully engage with members of the D.C. community. A joint Baker Center and McCourt School initiative, its mission is to develop and advance equitable, inclusive, and innovative policy solutions that address community-specific challenges in Wards 7 and 8. With both educational and experiential learning opportunities for students, the Lab works closely with members of the D.C. community to learn about local issues firsthand. At the same time, students use human-centered design thinking to create original policy solutions that put community voices at their center. Through the unique perspectives of students, professors, researchers and community members, the Lab aims to tackle pressing social issues in D.C. using innovation and empathy.

    A Snapshot of the Policy Innovation Lab

    Who are we and what do we do?
    We are future policy leaders at the McCourt School engaging with community partners to tackle tough urban issues and policy challenges.

    What are our guiding principles?
    We are working to advance social and economic justice through a racial equity lens.

    Where do we work?
    Our focus is on communities based in D.C.’s East End (Wards 7 & 8).

    How do we shape our policy ideas?
    The Lab uses traditional (qualitative and quantitative) and experiential (community engagement and listening) research methods.

    What are our methods?
    In order to innovate effective ideas and policy recommendations, we use human-centered design thinking to inform our work with community partners.

    What makes us different?
    Community engagement and listening as well as human-centered design thinking allow us to lead with empathy and put people at the center of policy.

    The Lab in Our Community

    Check out the recent testimony from members of the Policy Innovation Lab before DC Council member Anita Bonds’ Committee on Housing and Neighborhood Revitalization.

    Testimony_McCourt Policy Innovation Lab