May 2017: Smart Cities, the Big Data Society, The Op Ed Project, and Summer School

What We Are Reading

BEING SMARTER WITH OUR CITIES — Foossa researcher-at-large Kris Hartley on Smart Cities

The rapid rollout of new technologies has led us to a fork in the road for urban planning and policy-making. Kris Hartley takes a look at whether the cities of tomorrow will reflect populist politics, or people’s real needs and concerns.

“Smart city technology need not be only a technocratic fetish, and planners have the opportunity to embrace technology’s inherently humanising and democratising potential at the early stage of the smart city revolution. The alternative is the coupling of the smart cities paradigm — and evidence-based policy more generally — with elite interests and the inevitable continuation of the pushback cycle.
As a new populism takes root, technological progress must weather the storm not by resistance but by asserting itself as a tool for positive change in urban residents’ everyday lives. Recognizing that technology should serve people is not surrendering to rightist populism. However, it can diffuse pushback against funding for technology initiatives that improve the urban experience for all citizens. In short, planning must be re-humanised.”

What We Are Up To

The Center for Global Policy Solutions launched its new, annual 2017 Future of Wealth Summit: Technology, Inclusion and Social Change in Washington DC last week. Foossa co-founder Lee-Sean moderated a panel on Big Data and how algorithms shape opportunity and disadvantage. Other speakers included actor/activist Jesse Williams and President & CEO of CPGS Maya Rockeymoore.

Lee-Sean was also recently accepted into the ARCHE Public Voices fellowship program with The Op-Ed Project and the Center for Global Policy Solutions. The program helps emerging voices from underrepresented communities develop their public voices in the form of writing and placing op-eds, but the training program is so much more than that. It’s also about leadership and building community.

The OpEd Project offers public courses in cities across the US. Learn more and sign up here.

Lee-Sean with the other ARCHE Op-Ed Fellows

Lee-Sean with the other ARCHE Op-Ed Fellows

Lee-Sean and David recently returned to their alma mater to teach a “Community Building for Entrepreneurs” workshop at Harvard’s innovation lab. They shared experiences and tools from their community-centered design and strategy practice.

We are currently gauging interest for an online version of the workshop to make the material accessible to a wider audience. If you would be interested, please drop us a line at

Lee-Sean and David had the honor and privilege to facilitate a workshop with West Point Military Academy cadets, along with Thicket Labs. See David in action below talking about storytelling, creative problem-solving, futures-thinking and service design.

Summer School with Foossa

Storytelling for Social Impact

Four Week Course at NYU School of Professional Studies
Begins in June 2017.

Storytelling is nearly as old as humankind, and it has recently come to the fore as one of the next hot business skills. The structures and principles behind good storytelling are simple to learn, but difficult to perfect. In this hands-on interactive class, you will learn by doing, while giving and getting plenty of feedback along the way. Become familiar with the basic structures of compelling stories, with an emphasis on social and cultural entrepreneurship, and work individually and in teams to craft verbal, visual, and written stories. Then, learn how to apply these storytelling skills to your work.

More details and registration here.

DoTank NYC: How might we design the future of storefronts & streetscapes?

Six Weekend Course from June 1 to July 19, 2017.

The Do Tank is a 6-week action-oriented design thinking course tied to a challenge to translate learnings into local impact. As a partnership by MILESFoossaNYU Design for America, and Hack Manhattan, the Do Tank cultivates a group of people with varied skill sets to work together on a real-world issue, from collaborative ideation to collaborative creation. This program for young professionals and graduate students is facilitated byexperts from Foossa, IDEO, Parsons School of Design, NYU Design for America, miLES and more.

More information and registration here.


Strategic Design Management

2 Week Course at Parsons (NYC) and Central Saint Martins (London) 
June 24 — July 7, 2017

Jointly taught by David and Lee-Sean, this course is suitable for entrepreneurs, designers, and other creative individuals who are interested in developing new or nascent business ideas and understanding how to build those ideas through the lens of design principles.

More information and registration here.

Work with Foossa!

Foossa facilitates innovation and storytelling workshops, builds brands and products, and helps organizations cultivate community. We’re always interested in new partnerships, projects, and conferences, so please get in touch if you or a colleague has an idea for collaboration.

Lee-Sean Huang