Technology & Innovation

GILD: Government Innovation, Leadership, and Design 

10.13.22 | 5 min read

What is GILD?

Drawing on inspiration from the origins of traditional guilds consisting of groups of craftsmen in pursuit of a common goal, the Federation of American Scientists’ (FAS) Government Innovation, Leadership and Design (GILD) offers a suite of innovation trainings aimed at radically improving policy design and service delivery across government.

Our mission is to activate government and policy change makers through training, community, and tools. We envision a future where innovation is embedded into the culture of government and public policy to radically improve services and build public trust. 


Are you a public servant who has good ideas that never seem to see the light of day? Do you lead a team of great public servants who want to improve programs but don’t know where to start? If this sounds like you—a passionate public servant with a burning desire to make a difference—you’ve come to the right place. 

We offer open classes several times a year, tailored classes for agencies or teams who want to learn by tackling their organization’s issues, and other solutions right for you. Join our vibrant community of government change makers and be a part of a dynamic network of individuals who are driving innovation, improving services, and transforming the public sector. 

GILD’s Virginia Hamilton leading a Innovation and Design in the Public Sector workshop.

Our Craft

Our team of experts bring over five decades of experience designing, building and executing programs in and with the government. GILD trainings center on building capacities across innovation, leadership and design to support and build a connected network of change makers in government. 

Experiential training delivering best practices grounded in the public sector — we deliver impactful experiential workshops aimed at diverse civil servants spanning concepts across innovation, design and leadership grounded in the practice of delivering work in government.

Access to interactive online training, resources, and toolkits — through an online platform that provides consistent access to resources and people that support change makers on their journey to transform services within government. 

Knitting together a network of public sector change makers what makes the entire suite of GILD trainings truly unique among other innovation training is that it is designed with government to teach within the context of the constraints, regulations, and cultures of federal, state, and local government.

Course Offerings

Innovation and Design in the Public Sector

State government is full of civil servants at all levels who care deeply about their mission and implementing changes—big and small—that make a difference in policies, programs, and services for Americans. The key is having a toolkit of innovative approaches to address challenges, respond to opportunities, and take people on the change journey in an inclusive manner. 

The foundational GILD course, “Innovation and Design in the Public Sector,” is experiential, engaging, and extremely practical for participants to immediately apply the learning to their jobs. It is also accessible and tailor-made to meet the needs of each audience, whether they need the full curriculum or just specific components in either live, hybrid, or online formats. 

The 6 day in-person class (which is typically divided into separate 2 or 3 day sessions over 6 to 8 weeks) equips participants with foundational skills and tools, including problem framing, design thinking, stakeholder and empathy interviews, personas, and journey mapping. Programmatic elements of the course include:

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. 

At its core, Human Centered Design (HCD), also known as Design Thinking, is a method to solve problems that puts people at the center and aims to design solutions that address the needs of those end users. It creates a better chance of designing solutions in innovative, unexpected, and creative ways. Since the public is at the core of what government does, especially in local and state agencies, considering customer needs is crucial to delivering good government services. 

The Human Centered Design Exchange (HCDX) is an immersive program with training and coaching to create customer-focused services to meet the needs of government customers. This 7 day (remote) or 5 day (in-person) class, which is delivered in 2 or 3 day sessions over 6 to 10 weeks, allows participants to master HCD by tackling real world problems. This can entail a change your agency would like to make in its interactions with customers (e.g., improve take up rates in government programs), or an internal project that forwards an agency agenda (e.g., increase collaboration between siloed departments). Divided into smaller teams, participants learn to frame problems, do customer research, reframe problems based on insights from real customers, and develop ideas to prototype and test.

Participants in HCDX will:

Other programmatic elements of the course include:


Government change makers who have participated in the full suite of GILD training offerings will be able to:

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.