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How (not) to embrace complexity

Lab Notes - April edition

The April edition of Lab Notes brings together inspiring news, publications and other resources for public sector and social innovators around the world, including how (not) to embrace complexity in international development; human-centred design in education policy; Sri Lanka's first social innovation lab; and more...

This month's key lab picks

1. In this video, Yuen Yuen Ang highlights three common fallacies of embracing complexity in international development, and what the alternative actions should be.

2. Design in policy: A report from Bellwether Education Partners gives a practitioner-focused overview of human-centred design and its potential for education policy, while another useful paper provides a clear definition of ‘co-design’ in relation to other participatory policymaking methods.

3. Citra - a joint partnership between the Ministry of Science, Technology and Research and the UNDP - claims to be Sri Lanka’s first social innovation lab. Check out their introductory video outlining the lab’s purpose and method.

4. Nesta has prepared a summary of free resources available for anyone involved in trying to help government work more successfully. These cover everything from finance and data to experiments, democracy and evidence.

5. The #MakingSense project has condensed a range of best practices in empowering communities through citizen sensing in a free online book, which draws from their experience running campaigns in Amsterdam, Priština and Barcelona.

6. The Democracy Lab’s new ‘Anthology on Democratic Innovation’ aims to provide policymakers, academics and activists with a broad overview of the vast array of ideas helping to make liberal democracies fit for the 21st century.

7. This project write-up describes how experiential futures and foresight methods helped to raise fresh new questions about the purpose and role of development organisations.

8. Bloomberg’s 2018 Mayor’s Challenge brought together 35 US cities to prototype solutions for some of the most pressing issues facing urban areas across the country today.Read about the event and explore the long-list of ideas.

9. A new policy brief from the International Growth Center draws on African examples to demonstrate how urban policymakers can dramatically shape the future of cities by making the right choices on land use.

10. The Overseas Development Institute lists 10 things you need to know about using research evidence to influence policy in this infographic. Meanwhile, New Zealand’s Social Policy Evaluation and Research Unit has written a more in-depth handbook on the topic.

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Theo Bass

Theo Bass

Theo Bass

Senior Researcher, Government Innovation

Theo is a Senior Researcher in Nesta's Research, Analysis and Policy Team

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Matt Stokes

Matt Stokes

Matt Stokes

Senior Researcher, Government Innovation

Matt was a senior researcher working on the collaborative economy and digital social innovation.

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