World of Labs

NESTA: “Governments across the world are creating innovation teams and labs to help them find new ways of tackling the complex challenges of the 21st century. If you want to get a sense of the scale of this global trend then check out this searchable global map of innovation labs worldwide.

There are about 80 in total represented here – colour-coded for the level of government (blue for local, green for regional, red national and yellow international). In this map I’ve concentrated on labs inside government excluding the dozens of public and social innovation labs (#psilabs) like Nesta, MaRS Solutions Lab or The GovLab that work alongside the public sector though they themselves are outside it. I’ve probably left lots of government i-teams and labs out of this list – so please suggest more and I’ll add them in.

Public innovation labs can claim to be a global movement not just in sheer numbers of teams and labs worldwide but also because of the momentum behind the creation of new ones, at a current rate of least one a month. Though some of the most celebrated examples e.g. Denmark’s MindLab are well into their second decade about a third of the labs set out here have been born in the last two years.

The early wave of scenario-based creative “future centres” (like the Netherlands-based De Werf)  was soon followed by the kind of design-based lab that continues to dominate much of the thinking and practice in the field.  But lately this has been complemented by a new wave of teams using other tools (data and technology or behavioural economics) as well as the more hybrid approach often adopted by innovation delivery teams at a municipal level, particularly in the US. At a global level the shift to a lab-based approach in development policy has been particularly marked….(More)”