Abby Wilson


Abby has some bandwidth for new consulting projects. Most recently, she served as the inaugural director of The LAB @ OPM, a design-led innovation practice at the US Office of Personnel Management, where she worked with teams from the White House and over a dozen federal agencies to develop more usable and useful public sector policies and services. She previously led public and non-profit sector work at LUMA Institute, where she continues to teach.

Trained as a cultural anthropologist and international lawyer, Abby has lived, worked, and studied in Africa and Europe, and has observed the power of people and organizations to solve even the most complex problems. She believes that design literacy scaffolds our inherent inclination to solve problems by making it more resilient and creative, especially in the presence of material, financial, or cultural constraints.

She has contributed research to international criminal tribunals, built a policy network across the Rust Belt, and conducted community health field work in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. She is a practitioner of deliberative democracy, and has used this approach to shape discourse on polarizing civic issues including climate change, natural gas drilling, and municipal consolidation. She was a Press Secretary at the New York City Council, where she developed expertise in areas including public education, housing policy and women’s health. She was involved with the drafting of numerous pieces of legislation.

Abby holds a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from Columbia University, an LL.M. in Public International Law from Universiteit Utrecht, and a J.D. from the University of Pittsburgh.

She is a professionally trained alto and a seasoned theatrical improviser. Her work has been featured in The New York Times, Newsweek, PBS’ ‘News Hour with Jim Lehrer,’ The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, The Cleveland Plain-Dealer, and NPR affiliates in Buffalo, Cleveland, Detroit, & Pittsburgh.