FedLab: Human Centered Design

FedLab: Human Centered Design

FedLab: Human Centered Design
FedLab: Human Centered Design
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HCD use cases and success stories were discussed, and the principles and tactics of human-centered design and customer experience were explored in this virtual event. Customer journey mapping, CX measurement, and examples of how to implement these principles in your own design solutions — whether it's product, experience or systems - were also reviewed.

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Veterans Affairs Keynote & Customer Experience
Barbara Morton, Deputy Chief Veterans Experience Officer, Veterans Affairs

Human Centered Design Presentation
Erin Siminerio, Chief Design Officer, Veterans Experience Office, Veterans Affairs
Scott Weiss, Presidential Innovation Fellow, Veterans Experience Office, Veterans Affairs
Maura Newell, Presidential Innovation Fellow, Veterans Experience Office, Veterans Affairs

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Barbara C. Morton joined the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2006. A native of Rockport, Massachusetts, Barbara attended Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, NY, earning a degree in psychology and philosophy. After receiving her J.D. from Suffolk University Law School, Barbara completed two clerkships in the New England area and thereafter pursued an LL.M. in constitutional law at Georgetown University Law Center, which she completed in 2005.

While at VA, Barbara has served in a variety of capacities, to include at the Board of Veterans’ Appeals as a Staff Attorney in the Office of Veterans Law Judges, Special Counsel to the Appellate Group, Special Assistant to the Vice Chairman, Executive Assistant to the Chairman, and Director of Management, Planning & Analysis. She recently joined the Veterans Experience Office as Deputy Chief Veterans Experience Officer. She has published a variety of law review articles, including two pieces relating to posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Barbara dabbles in the arts, to include painting, photography, ceramics, stained glass, and jewellery making, and she loves following professional tennis and basketball. She also enjoys volunteering for various Veteran-centered causes, to include events at Arlington Cemetery and the annual Toys-for-Tots campaign. 

Deputy Chief Veterans Experience Officer, VA

Maura is a social impact designer, researcher, organizational strategist and facilitator. She is passionate about tackling some of society’s most complex human challenges. She has contributed research and designed solutions addressing urban challenges such as education, poverty, redlining, and mental illness. In recent years, Maura was one of the founding members of the City of Austin Innovation Office.

In this role, she started an innovation team to address homelessness after being awarded a multi-million dollar grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies. She has facilitated the co-design of community solutions such as an award-winning homelessness outreach team. At the beginning of 2019, Maura joined the Presidential Innovation Fellows to help the Veterans Experience Office continue to mature its capabilities in delivering Customer Experience. She believes that human-centered design and co-creation are powerful tools for creating equitable services and improving community outcomes.  

Presidential Innovation Fellow and Founding Member, Austin Innovation Office

Erin Siminerio has been leading VEO’s portfolio of enterprise design work since 2017.  In this role she established VEO’s Enterprise Design Office and spearheaded a capacity building program to expand VEO’s capacity to support the VA with human centered design services and to scale the use of more customer-centered approaches.  

Erin oversees all aspects of operating a design organization including managing innovative and creative design teams, developing design strategy, building design capacity and establishing and managing strategic partnerships. She is a design strategist and evangelist who advocates for the use of human centered design and innovative, creative approaches to solving complex problems. 

Prior to joining VA, she co-founded the Office of Consumer eHealth within the Department of Health and Human Services’ and played a key role in developing and executing a federal strategy for engaging and empowering individuals in their health through information and technology.  She helped develop and launch the Blue Button Initiative, a public-private partnership that recruited more than 650 organizations who committed to expanding individuals’ access to and use of their digital health information.  She advocated on behalf of consumers to integrate their perspectives into ONC and HHS programs and policies and led the creative development and design of a consumer campaign to drive greater consumer demand for their health data.  Prior to joining HHS, Erin led the marketing and communications strategy for the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions, a health services research think tank that is part of Deloitte LLP.   

Siminerio earned a master’s in Public Health, with a Health Policy concentration, from George Washington University and currently resides in Pittsburgh with her husband, three daughters and a black lab named Lincoln--a tribute to Washington D.C. where she lived and worked for most of her career.



Chief Design Officer, VEO, VA

Scott currently serves as a White House Presidential Innovation Fellow, where he's detailed to the Department of Veterans Affairs Office Veterans Experience Office (VA VEO). As an innovation specialist and organizational designer, he's been helping move the VA VEO towards a more veteran-focused infrastructure and experience with human-centered design practices.

Prior to joining PIF, he co-led a social innovation and design consulting agency based in New York called Community by Design, that delivered human-centric concepts at the intersection of design thinking, civic innovation practices, and community organizing. Some of these projects included co-creating a social impact institute at Harvard University focused on improving the public education system, devising a strategic plan with the City of New York that bridged the technology industry with underserved communities, and developing strategic programming within the United Nations on sustainable tourism practices.

Additionally, Scott worked at the award-winning design agency IDEO for 6 years as an organizational and systems designer. This work focused on helping organizations of all shapes, sizes, and industries transform themselves into more design-led and innovative organizations. 

In his spare time, Scott guest lectures at NYU and Parsons on topics such as: Design Thinking for Social Impact, Design Research, and Storytelling.

Presidential Innovation Fellow and former IDEO Designer



Welcome remarks

Michael Hoffman, President, GovernmentCIO Media & Research


Veterans Affairs Keynote & Customer Experience

Barbara Morton, Deputy Chief Veterans Experience Officer, Veterans Affairs


Human Centered Design Presentation

Erin Siminerio, Chief Design Officer, Veterans Experience Office, Veterans Affairs

Scott Weiss, Presidential Innovation Fellow, Veterans Experience Office, Veterans Affairs

Maura Newell, Presidential Innovation Fellow, Veterans Experience Office, Veterans Affairs


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