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Crowdmapping, basic income, and when microfinance works

Lab Notes - March edition

The March edition of Lab Notes brings together inspiring news, publications and other resources for public sector and social innovators around the world, including how young leaders in Nigeria are crowdmappingg to solve an urban waste problem; two competiting perspectives on basic income; and more...

This month's key lab picks

1. A USAID-supported programme called YouthMappers shows how young leaders in Nigeria, and in turn thousands of others across the globe, are addressing a local urban waste problem through crowdmapping.

2. Two competing perspectives on basic income: an experiment in Ontario, Canada, is reporting positive results for health and wellbeing among recipients, while research into Finland’s pilot suggests that scaling up basic income would lead to more, not less, poverty.

3. This Policy Options article offers a brief survey of how experimentation is being used in government, illustrated through six steps of the policy-making lifecycle.

4. Although some critics have argued that microloans in developing countries have mixed results, this article from India Development Review brings together key evidence about when and how they can help some of the world’s poorest women.

5. The OECD’s new report - Embracing Innovation in Government: Global Trends 2018 - contains ten in-depth case studies of governments that are transforming their operations and improving people’s lives through innovation.

6. Why does innovation in government so often focus on failure and the risk aversion of the public service? Sam Hannah-Rankin highlights four potential problem with this narrative.

7. Over the course of 150 years, Finland has gone from widespread poverty to consistently topping international indices and rankings in areas from gender equality to governance. This Guardian piece explains why.

8. What innovation approaches can be applied in the public sector, and how are they related to each other? This Nesta blog offers a visual overview of the landscape.

9. Read about how local governments in the San Francisco Bay Area are using “Adopt a Drain” programmes, mobilising hundreds of volunteers to keep storm drains clear and protect cities from flooding.

10. In the context of tight public budgets and an urgent need for government reform, Eddie Copeland outlines eight variations of operating models for public services and the different ways in which they deploy people and resources

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Theo Bass

Theo Bass

Theo Bass

Researcher, Government Innovation

Theo is a Researcher in the Policy and Research team

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Matt Stokes

Matt Stokes

Matt Stokes


Matt is a Researcher working on the collaborative economy and digital social innovation. He's passionate about how the growth of new technologies and collaborative models can be harn...

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