max Stearns

Design Strategist

Why Democratic Society

By caring with one-another to imagine, create, maintain, and repair democratic infrastructure, we can enable possibilities to collectively thrive.

Where I’m based:

Mulhouse, FR

Languages I speak:

English (and, increasingly, French)


max is a design-minded researcher, strategist, and creative lead with proven experience crafting participatory systems change. max’s approach combines action research, civic, liberatory, and skeptic design, and systems-based methods to social change. He is a non-linear thinker (and sketch-noter), avid philosophy and poetry reader (and writer), but–thanks, in large part, to an orientation in the field of law–he’s capable of radically deconstructing complex ideas and systems into clear and actionable next steps. Projects max has led have resulted in expansions in affordable housing, enhanced data self-determinacy, advancement in early education equity, and innovations in the city and municipal governance sector. max’s work has been showcased at the Paris Design Summit, NYCxDesign: Design Week, the Feedback Summit, and the Allied Media Conference, as well as featured in the Stanford Social Innovation Review and BloombergCities. He is currently on faculty at Parsons School of Design-The New School and periodically lectures at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Things I’m Learning:

French! But, recently, I’ve also become fascinated by all things fungi, the ethics of hope and care, and how to think like a geologist and design like a forest.

Authored Content:

Civic Fables: Developing New Language of Failure in Local Government Innovation

Contact details

We do not support Internet Explorer. Please use a modern browser for a better experience.