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Lab Notes - May 2016 Edition

Published Date: 3 May 2016

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 digest will bring together interesting tools and news from public sector innovators around the world.

Crowdsourced content: To capture the most relevant information and resources for you,  Lab Notes 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  

This month’s key lab picks: 

#1. The Innovation Growth Lab (IGL) is a unique partnership of national governments and foundations jointly funding experiments around the world to find out what works in supporting entrepreneurship and business innovation. IGL will be hosting its first annual conference and learning lab, Making Innovation and Growth Policy Work, in London on 25-26 May.

#2. An international hackathon to find effective responses to the Zika virus has resulted in prize-winning ideas including mosquito repellent clothing; a ‘never will bite’ soap; and surveillance systems that map and inform citizens of mosquito hotspots. More here.

#3. GovInsider interviewed Jun Hyo Gwan, Director-General of Seoul’s Innovation Bureau, to find out how the city is leading the way on the smart city agenda to optimise public services

#4. A free online book from Nesta offers a useful introduction to innovation in development.Innovation for International Development is a collection of insights and practical advice from 20 leading practitioners, drawing on examples from multilateral organisations, bilateral donors, NGOs, companies and foundations.

#5. Social innovation labs exist in many forms, and work on topics as diverse as environment, civic participation or urban challenges. This blog by Christian Kreutz, provides a quick summary of over 20 inspiring labs from around the world.

#6. In New York, an app representing co-operatives of carers and cleaners could give workers a competitive platform and stronger voice in the collaborative economy. Read more about Coopify here.

#7. The GovLab, mySociety and the World Bank Digital Engagement Evaluation Team have partnered to create the Open Governance Research Exchange (OGRX). OGRX provides a one stop place to access and share research on open and innovative governance methods, including research on and conducted by public sector innovation labs.

#8. Amid the increasing coverage and debate around universal basic income, GiveDirectlyhas announced it is raising money for a decade-long trial, to be delivered to 6,000 residents in Kenya. Read more from The Slate here.

#9. These articles on SIX and Devex show how human-centred design is helping to make inroads on a range of development topics in countries as diverse as Tanzania, Cambodia and India.

#10. Problem-based procurement opens up ways for entrepreneurs to solve city problems.Here’s a useful article that draws lessons from Philadelphia’s FastFWD initiative, a business accelerator which gave rise to improved educational opportunities for prison inmates, among other examples.

#11. Speculative design - a tool that blends design with futurology - is being explored as a means of supporting governments to think about longer-term impact. This blog asks whether it’s a niche design tool or a useful addition to the government innovator's toolkit.

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