Melissa Kline Lee cannot go to class.
The House and Senate have failed to agree on a measure to fund the federal government. It is now illegal for some federal workers to engage in any activity for which they would otherwise be compensated by Uncle Sam. Not all workers will be asked to stop working: The Washington Post's Brad Plumer has a breakdown of who can continue working (granted, without pay) and who can't. But some will.
Much of the discussion around the shutdown is happening in Washington D.C. In fact, take a seat at one of the coffee shops here in Palo Alto, and you're probably not going to hear a word about federal government closures. But that's not the case at the d.school.
Melissa is a strategist and project manager for the Office of Personnel Management. She is also a d.school fellow. She is working on re-designing talent management in an effort to build a culture of collaboration and innovation across government. We're in our second week of class and the fourth week of the program. But the government shutdown has hit the pause button on her fellowship, placing her behind her classmates and her cohort and effectively unplugging her from the source of knowledge she came here to access.
Granted, this sacrifice is not on par with federal employees who watch over the nation's nuclear stockpile. But it could have a ripple effect on determining how those people or their colleagues are hired in the future and the nature of their jobs. So, as the clock on the shutdown continues to tick, we wait. Perhaps it's not how government hires and manages its talent that's in need of some design thinking, but how it funds that work in the first place.