HKS Idea Fellowship

Since launching the HKS Idea Fellowship in August 2015, the three teams have made great strides toward answering their research questions. They have been passionately developing surveys, workflows and analysis tools as they push toward the ultimate goal of improving our knowledge base and design processes. Each team has taken on a tremendous task to develop a deeper understanding of what it means to conduct research and how the information gathered from that research can be integrated into practice. Here is what they have been up to:

The Future of Workplace. This international team, spanning three continents and four offices, has conducted an extensive literature review, delving into the studies done to date on Generation Z and the workplace. The team is in the process of piloting a survey that will be sent to 450 Generation Z respondents. The survey results will provide our design teams with data to inform the workplace of the future.

Holistic Design Workflow. Based in Washington, D.C., this team is utilizing a vast network of designers, manufacturers, engineers and software developers to create an optimal workflow between multiple digital platforms. The team is testing this workflow process through a case study and a partnership with local engineers and fabricators. By integrating these key entities throughout the design process, the team is able to anticipate and adapt its design to optimize the efficiency of the project performance across a wide variety of parameters.

Rethinking the Clinic – Optimizing the Outpatient Standard. The Detroit- and Chicago-based team is investigating the impact of standardization and spatial optimization on patient throughput in the clinic setting. Well into the data gathering phase, the team has completed four design diagnostics of existing clinic environments, conducting interviews, environmental analysis, spatial analysis, shadowing and behavior mapping. This data has been used to inform the design of new clinic facilities, which the team will evaluate after the clinics have been open and operational to understand the impact of the design.

We hope that you will dive into the Idea Fellowship teams’ blog posts and latest presentations to better understand the great progress that they are making as they come down the final stretch before sharing their findings in August 2016.


HKS launched the Idea Fellowship in 2015 to give teams an opportunity to explore new ideas that will shape the future of HKS and the industry.

Selected Projects:

Rethinking the Clinic: Optimizing the Outpatient Standard
Tyler Schwede (Chicago), Steve Jacobson (Chicago), Camilla Moretti (Detroit), Lisa Adams (Chicago), Anne Rezac (Chicago)

Holistic Design Workflow
Kevin Vandeman (D.C.), Daniel Inocente (D.C.)

The Future of ‘Work Culture’ on a Global Scale
Elise LaPaglia (Dallas), Angela Ramer (Dallas), Josh Tooill (Shanghai), Donna Sharpe (D.C.), Lisa Adams (Chicago)

Each team will have 365 days and 800 hours to find the answer to its question.

The Idea Fellowship Committee
Kate Renner, Mason Couvillion and Elise LaPaglia

The Oversight Committee
Upali Nanda, Tom Harvey, Heath May, Rand Ekman, Jason Schroer, Jeff Stouffer, Mark Buskuhl, Trish Martineck, Kate Davis