Back to top

Lab Notes - July 2015 Edition

Published Date: 3 July 2015

Brought to you by Nesta, GovLab, MaRS, MindLab and SIX; Lab Notes is a loose network of labs, units and teams working to support public sector innovation. Through a combination of useful content and links, our monthly newsletter will bring together interesting tools and news from public sector innovators around the world. 

This month’s key lab picks: 

1. Myanmar has just carried out the country’s first census in over thirty years. The challenge now is ensuring this wealth of information is accessible and digestible for policymakers and the public. Learn how data scientists gathered for a civic tech hackathon to help make sense of the country’s data.

2. Can gaming be used for conflict resolution? In Sudan, Raik Shino - a gamified dialogue platform is being developed by the Joint Conflict Reduction Programme to encourage peacebuilding. Read more in the UNDP blog, Using Innovation and Human-Centred Design Approaches to Promote Civic Engagement in Sudan.

3. Ahead of LabWorks Global Labs Gathering, Lab Notes interviewed Juan Felipe López, Executive Director of Laboratorio de Gobierno, about his insights on setting up Chile’s first ever public innovation lab. Read the interview here.

4. The upcoming Social Innovation Exchange (SIX) Summer School 2015 will take place in Mumbai, India - a lively centre of urban, business and civic innovation. This year’s event will explore how new ways of connecting can make cities better for all. Read more about the event here.

5. Lab lessons: the past month has seen the publication of a number of useful lab practice guides that draw on the lessons, experiences and insights of different innovation labs. Check out The Rockefeller Foundation’s Social Innovation Lab Guide (the result of a partnership with MaRS Solutions Lab), The Finance Innovation Lab’s publication, A Strategy for Systems Change, and Kennisland’s Lab Practice: creating spaces for social change.

6. Nesta’s new smart cities report tells the stories of cities around the world - from Beijing to Amsterdam, and from London to Jakarta - that are investing in technologies that enable greater collaboration between urban communities and between citizens and city governments. Read ‘Rethinking smart cities from the ground up’ here.   A parallel toolkit - CITIE - to help cities support innovation and entrepreneurship has also been launched.

7. Dubai has just opened its first Roads and Transport Authority Government Innovation Lab. Read about the city’s new strategy to spur government innovation and collective happiness.

8. In Find the problem before you solve it, Marie Herborg Krogh of Mindlab considers how a closer look at user experiences contributes to better design of public sector solutions, drawing lessons from a recent case study of the Danish tax platform SKAT.

9. Collaborate and the United Nations Development Program Global Centre for Public Service Excellence (UNDP GCPSE) have published a new report,Collaborative Capacity in Public Services: a framework for practice which shows how to mobilise the collaborative capacity of citizens, state, business, and society.

10. Read the Medium article by Vivian Graubard of the U.S. Digital Service on how myUSCIS - a new government digital platform co-created and co-designed with users changed how the United States Citizenship and Immigration Service(USCIS) does business.

11. Find out how the Tanzanian government has been using multilateral partnerships with public and private agencies to get over 10,000 children into education and out of exploitative child labour in gold mines.

12. Read the World Bank report, Logged On: Smart Government Solutions from South Asia, to find out about Smart Proactive Government and other technology-led governance solutions which are at once improving public services and changing the relationship between government and citizens in the region.

Crowdsourcing Content
To capture the most relevant information and resources for you, this newsletter will serve as a platform for all those already working at public labs, units and teams. We are particularly keen to capture what's happening in non-Anglophone countries. If you have something to say about an approach you're using to tackle a particular challenge or if you'd simply like to get the word out on an event you're planning, please continue the discussion on Twitter#psilabs or reach out to us directly at