Innovation/ change/ design labs are being introduced by governments, think tanks and universities, mainly with the objective of engaging multiple stakeholders in understanding complex problems and designing new solutions. Some examples of design labs worldwide include the following:

MindLab (Copenhagen, Denmark) is a “Cross-ministerial innovation unit which involves citizens and businesses in creating new solutions for society. A platform for helping the ministry’s key decision-makers and employees view their efforts from the outside-in, to see them from a citizen’s perspective”.
The Centre for Excellence in Public Sector Design, (Canberra, Australia) was initiated in 2012 and was one of the ideas included in the Australian Public Service (APS) Innovation Action Plan released in 2011 was the establishment of an APS Design Centre that could assist in developing and testing new approaches to complex policy challenges and to enhance government program delivery.1.
The Social Innovation Lab (Kent, UK) also referred to as SILK “is a small team based within Kent County Council that was set up in 2007 to ‘do policy differently’. SILK has developed a Methodology and Toolkit to engage with people and approach projects, and enables a collective ownership and responsibility for project design, delivery and outcomes”.
The NASA Centre for Excellence for Collaborative Innovation (CoECI) (Washington/Houston, US) was established in 2011, and “serves to advance the use of open innovation methods across the federal government, in particular, the use of prizes and challenge”.
The Deloitte GovLab (Washington, US) is a think tank in the Deloitte Federal practice that focuses on innovation in the public sector.
The Helsinki Design Lab, Sitra (Helsinki, Finland)“aims to help decision-makers to view challenges from a big-picture perspective, and provide guidance toward more complete solutions that consider all aspects of a problem”. HDL was initiated in 2008 and ceases active operation in mid-2013.
The MaRS Solutions Lab (Toronto, Canada) aims at “creating collaborative opportunities for industries, governments and academia”. Has an online entrepreneur’s toolkit.
The Participle London (London, UK) aims to “design, develop and take to scale innovative solutions to the most pressing social challenges of our time, with the objective of transforming the way public services are designed and delivered”.
The la 27eRegion, (France) brings together designers, sociologists and researchers. Prototype site to be launched in 2013.
The Public Policy Lab (New York, US) is a think tank that engages in “research at the intersection of policy and user-centered design and examine how policy goals and public services can be assessed through the experience of their users”.
The OCAD sLab, (OCAD) Ontario College of Art & Design University, Canada “operates on a model that integrates academic research, professional engagement, education and skills development for participants in the private, public, not-for-profit, and for-benefit sectors”.
The Harvard innovation-Lab (Cambridge, US) is a new and innovative initiative that fosters team-based and entrepreneurial activities and deepens interactions among Harvard students, faculty, entrepreneurs, and members of the Allston and Greater Boston community.
The MIT AgeLab and MIT Media Lab (Cambridge, US)was created in 1999 to “invent new ideas and creatively translate technologies into practical solutions that improve people’s health”.
The LIAISE (Linking Impact Assessment Instruments to Sustainability Expertise), Berlin is developing a Shared Toolbox as a virtual platform for interaction between researchers and practitioners of Impact Assessment (IA). This toolbox will help practitioners to identify knowledge relevant for the assessment of ‘their’ policies. It includes a number of information databases, covering: IA experts, best practice examples of IA, background information on impact areas, methods for IA, computer models for IA, and information on how IA is conducted in European countries”.
The Design Decisions Lab- Carnegie Mellon University developed a Design Decisions Wiki in 2006, “In 2006, intended for researchers, educators, students and practitioners to serve as a central resource and community portal for sharing information about design and tools to analyze and support decision-making. Visitors are encouraged to contribute to adding and editing content, especially to share information about their research group and research topics about which they have expertise. DDWiki is actively used in graduate and undergraduate courses as well as by researchers in the general community”.

  1. Now known as Designgov aims to establish a MindLab style collaborative experimentation program []