Social Lab

We understand Social Labs as a process inspired by Zaid Hassans understanding of Social Laboratories that follows the U-journey after MIT’s Theory U and integrates diverse methods, tools, practices along the way (check out our toolbox). It’s a format designed to address complex problems like those addressed in the Sustainable Development Goals. Solutions coming out of this process are meant to tackle the root causes of a challenge and have systemic impact, rather than fight symptoms.

Social Labs are platforms for addressing social challenges that are:

  • Social: bringing together stakeholders from all sectors to represent a diversity of perspectives is key

  • Experimental: working with prototyping and sustained efforts with the right to fail and try again distinguishes them from a project-based approach

  • Systemic: the solutions that come out of it are meant to tackle the root causes of the challenge and have systemic impact, rather than fight the symptoms.

A Social Lab is:

  • Is anchored in a quest (challenge), a topic of systemic relevance.

  • Brings together a diversity of people that are stakeholders from all sectors or in other ways have things to offer, around a shared intention or guiding question.

  • Is a space and time to create an in-depth, wholistic (body, mind, soul) understanding of the root-causes and hold space for realignment.

  • Opens room for individual (challenging beliefs, breaking habits, learn new ways of being) as well as collective transformation (becoming present together, surface collective knowledge).

  • Allows for experimentation, prototyping and fast learning cycles, opening space to fail and try again. Where we cultivate the ability of not knowing and hold the question, allowing things to emerge.

  • A space to train together how to become and be a conscious living system; a learning, sharing cycling organism.

  • Has prototype solutions as an outcome. These go through a continuous iteration of testing in the real world, collecting data for further refinement and testing again.

  • Social challenge related to the SDGs

  • Deep dialogue

  • Tested theories

  • Unlikely allies

  • new services, infrastructure, prototyped solutions

  • new knowledge & learning

  • trust & collaboration

  • new capacities & skills

Though the concrete results will remain uncertain - following the principle of emergence - Social Labs generate a minimum of four sets of outputs:

  • Physical: new services or infrastructure, such as the prototyped solutions

  • Human: new capacities and skills

  • Social: increased trust and collaboration

  • Intellectual: new knowledge and awareness

Inspired by Theory U, Presencing Institute:  (collective commons)

Inspired by Theory U, Presencing Institute: (collective commons)


Our social labs so far

Our Quest: how can we, as individuals & organisations committed to transforming society, fully practice and embody Gender Equality?

Intrigued? Here you find more information.

SDG 8.jpg

Our Quest: How can we create healthy relationships with work money and wellbeing (for the collective impact we want)?


Intrigued? Here you find more information.

Our Quest: How can we, as key actors of the Arc Lémanique ecosystem, transform the way we consume and produce to lead the transition to a sustainable future?

Intrigued? Here you find more information.