The School for Social Design:

Can we make your project more successful, truer to your values, or to those of its users?

Only pay if you're impressed. We'll interview you, and make a proposal. Is our plan better than going it alone? That's when you pay.
Your personal guide is there to help. If you join, your guide keeps abreast of your design projects and life activities, weaves our course into them, and checks in often.
New skills while working on your current project. A custom curriculum just for you and your project, including values-based social design, population research, and more.
Focused time with experts. Meetings with experts from similar, values-based projects. Bring your design challenges, and work on them together.

Cost. $2300.
Full refund if unsatisfied in first 2 wks.

Time. 2-4h/wk for ~4 months.
On your own projects—but with our textbook, experts, and a personal guide.

Next batches. Early August, early September
Apply now, or visit one of our intro events.

A Design Approach in Three Quests

Quest 1.
Naming What's Important

Quest 2.
Broadening Your Design Approach

Quest 3.
A Values-Based Design Process

Quest 1 is about getting so precise about values that they can be used as design criteria. You'll learn to write your own values clearly and collect others' values in an interview technique called VETing.

In Quest 2, you’ll practice imagining better designs and anticipating problems with existing designs. You'll see why why social spaces become meaningless, and learn to predict when people's values wiill get crowded out by other concerns. You'll extend your design imagination, learning to imagine different relationships, novel settings and timings, new legitimation processes, and better incentives.

Quest 3 puts this all together. You’ll (re)design a social system to better support a set of values. By the end of quest 3, you should feel capable of applying Values-Based Social Design in many areas of your life and work.

" It's been fun to run some design sprints—inviting the whole product team to participate. We re-envisioned the whole product around giving people a sense of power, in a life where they feel disempowered in many ways. I had one of my favorite design critiques ever. Lots of compliments on the work we've done. "

— Wiley Webb,


This is the third major version of the Human Systems training. Earlier versions have trained 300+ well-positioned product people in our design methods and metrics. Our alumni have applied our methods at Facebook, Github and Apple; they’ve changed product direction at startups, and redesigned smaller systems like schools, co-living settlements, and families.

The 3-5 month training costs $2300, with a full refund available until 2 weeks in, and partial refunds if you're unhappy after that. All the materials are freely available, what you are paying for is the personal guidance, facilitated missions and design sessions with our network. We hope to make reduced prices available soon. If you’d like to sponsor scholarships, you can reach out at

The program is designed to offer a personalized learning journey. Because the materials are freely accesible, your team can read along, and you can help them practice. Everyone benefits!

Your flow through the class will unique, but here’s an overview:

Quest 1

  • In Chapters 2 and 3, you’ll look at which of your own values are relevant to what you’re working on, and you’ll learn to write them in a precise manner, so they can be used as design criteria and inform your design imagination.
  • In Chapter 4, you’ll collect values from other people you’re designing for.

Quest 2

  • In Chapter 5, you’ll learn a new way to prototype social designs, by making small games or rituals that test key aspects.
  • In Chapter 6, you’ll consider the kinds of relationships formed in your project, looking for relationship types that support the values you picked.
  • In Chapter 7, you’ll look at the settings and timings for social interaction in your design, and how they support or undermine your design criteria.
  • In Chapter 8, you look at information flow through the network of people in your design, and what information and relationships are reinforced by that flow.
  • In Chapter 9, you look who your design includes, and who it excludes, and whether the skills and abilities required to succeed in your design support the values you’re aiming for.
  • In Chapter 10, you’ll analyze whether the incentives and metrics surfaced by your design support or undermine the values you’ve picked.

Quest 3

  • In Chapters 11-13, we further scaffold your processes of user research, prototyping, iteration, and evaluation with values-based methods, so that you can spread values-driven processes through your org.

Visit our extended FAQ here.