Social Lab

Social Labs bring together a diverse group of stakeholders to develop a portfolio of prototype solutions, test those solutions in the real world, use the data to further refine them, and test them again. Social Labs are systemic in nature, designed to address social issues at their root cause.

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An experimental approach for lasting social change

Social Labs are platforms for addressing complex social challenges that have three core characteristics:

They are:

1. Social – They bring together a diverse team to work and act collectively. Participants are drawn from different sectors of society, such as government, civil society and business. Its highly participatory nature (as supposed to consultation of experts) makes it social. 

2. Experimental – Experimental in nature, through an iterative approach with prototyping interventions (trial, error, observation and reflection). Not a one-off event, but ongoing and sustained efforts. 

3. Systemic – Ideas and initiatives that are developed in a social lab aspire to be systemic in nature to address social issues at the root cause of why things are not working and aiming for lasting social change.

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Social Lab Debt Relief Amsterdam

Social Lab Debt Relief Amsterdam

"Can you facilitate a lab for improving debt relief services in Amsterdam? We already have a framework with ambitions and themes. Now we want to bring policy makers and practitioners together to design a development program including concrete first steps." This was...

Stakeholder dialogue: Safe swimming in open water Amsterdam

Stakeholder dialogue: Safe swimming in open water Amsterdam

More and more people are swimming in Amsterdam's open water, but not always safely! The municipality, water board and province want to enable more possibilities to have a safe swim in Amsterdam's open water. In February 2016, more than 40 stakeholders from various...

Participation Works Lab in Amsterdam

Participation Works Lab in Amsterdam

"How can we make it possible that more Amsterdammers participate sustainably?"  This is one of the top priorities of the Amsterdam municipality, since the Participation Act and the new Social Support Act came into force on January 1st, 2015. A complex issue that...

Our toolbox

In our work, we use a broad range of methodologies and approaches that lean on decades of experimental research. We gratefully build on the theories and concepts developed by our teachers and colleagues. To achieve sustainable results, we determine which method fits every project best.

Methods we frequently use: