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Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

Lab Notes - May Edition

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 [email protected]

This month’s key lab picks:

#1. The programme for the LabWorks Conference London on Thursday 9th July is now published. Confirmed speakers include Christian Bason of the Danish Design Centre, Andrea Kershaw of IDEO Singapore, Cheryl Lim of Malaysia's PEMANDU, David Halpern of Behavioural Insights Team, Bill Eggers of Deloitte, Nick Lansley former Head of Tesco Labs, Nigel Jacob, co-chair of Boston's New Urban Mechanics' Office, and Stephanie Wade of the US Government's OPM Lab. Overall over 30 labs are represented on the programme for what promises to be the biggest gathering yet of public innovation labs worldwide. Please click here to purchase your ticket.

#2. Find out how increasing public dissatisfaction with environmental problems, an environmental innovator, and a government with the political will to start tackling rising industrial pollution can catalyse change in the article, 'Green data app compels pollution control in Chinese industries'.

#3. Joeri van den Steenhoven of MaRS Solutions Lab shares some great insights on building a successful innovation lab team in his blog ‘The people factor of innovation’

#4. Read this Pioneers Post article to learn more about how the Indian government has pledged to use partnerships with social entrepreneurs, impact investors, policymakers and other innovators to address some of India’s most persistent socio-economic challenges.

#5. Being able to inject creativity into the heart of public services and projects is precisely what sets public innovation labs apart from traditional bureaucracies. In this month’s issue of #Tech4Labs, 'Tech tools and tips to help your public innovation lab generate ideas', GovLab's CTO, Arnaud Sahuguet, introduces your lab to some great ideation tech tools and tips.

#6. What makes a city an innovation ‘hub ‘and how can cities in the developing world build supportive ecosystems? Hivos’ upcoming event in partnership with the Social Innovation Exchange and The Amani Institute will draw urban innovation lessons from Nairobi, a growing social innovation hub. Learn more about the event and register here.

#7. With contributions from leading designers, MPs and policymakers, 'Designing Democracy' – an inquiry led by the Design Commission, explores how design can address declining democratic participation, and improve democratic spaces and processes.

#8. Discover how a Spanish town’s civic communication is being powered by Twitter in the Huffington Post article, 'The incredible Jun: a town that runs on social media'

#9. The IBM Centre for the Business of Government conducted research on US cities with a proven track record of using technology to improve their services. The report, 'Using innovation and technology to improve city services', builds upon findings from a dozen case studies and offers practical actions for local officials looking to kick-start innovation initiatives for their own communities.

#10. Can FabLabs save lives? An unlikely partnership between the Irish charity Concern Worldwide, healthcare workers from the University of Nairobi, and a team of bioengineers is working to create high-quality, low-cost medical devices that could save lives. Read the BBC feature, 'Can supergeeks save Kenya's babies'.

#11. How can technology be used to help governments reach out to underserved communities? In this Big Shoulders interview Stephen Goldsmith, Harvard professor and co-author of 'The responsive city', considers the potential for civic technology to positively impact the democratic process.

#12. Bloomberg Philanthropy recently announced the launch of The What Works Cities initiative to help mid-size cities make more efficient use of data in policymaking. Read more about the initiative, in 'Bloomberg to give $42 million to help cities do more with data'.

#13. The city of Buenos Aires launched a successful education reform initiative, which shows that city-level and bottom-up initiatives could have a greater impact on education quality. Find out more about the initiative in 'Reforming education from the bottom-up in Buenos Aires'.


Sophie Reynolds

Sophie Reynolds

Sophie Reynolds

Former Senior Researcher - Public and Social Innovation

Sophie was a Senior Researcher in Nesta’s Policy and Research unit. She is now Director of Sophie Reynolds Research & Consultancy.

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