The Innovation Growth Lab is a global collaboration of governments, foundations and researchers, led by Nesta, that develops and tests different approaches to support innovation, entrepreneurship and growth.
We work with partners from the public and academic sectors. We work with policymakers to help them increase the impact of their innovation policies and programmes by making them more experimental and evidence-based. We also fund researchers to run randomised controlled trials in the field. Despite the importance of innovation and high-growth entrepreneurship for economic growth, there is still too little evidence on how best to support these policies.
€150 billion is spent every year on innovation, entrepreneurship and business growth support programmes in Europe alone, yet there is little credible evidence on what works, and what doesn't.
Despite the importance of innovation and high-growth entrepreneurship to spur economic development, there is still too little evidence on how best to support these policies.
The Innovation Growth Lab believes that a more experimental approach to innovation and growth policy is needed. We want to trial new instruments and evaluate them more rigorously. This involves making much more use of randomised controlled trials to find out what works and what doesn’t, an approach that has been successfully applied in other fields such as development economics, health and education.
The world has shifted, and so have the opportunities and tools that policymakers have at their disposal to improve their own countries’ innovation performance. We cannot assume that the same old instruments continue to be the best tools to support innovation and growth in these times of rapid change.
What are we doing?
IGL is a global collaboration that enables, supports, undertakes and disseminates high impact research that uses randomised controlled trials to improve the design of the programmes and institutions that help make our economies more innovative and entrepreneurial.
We undertake a range of activities to help us deliver our mission:
- Running trials: We work with our partners (other public and private organisations) and innovative companies to identify new opportunities for trials, and provide tailored support to develop and run these trials in collaboration with researchers in the IGL Research Network.
- Funding trials: We run the annual IGL Grants Programme funded by Nesta, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and Argidius Foundation, to provide grant funding for randomised controlled trials. Our competitive and bottom-up approach identifies and funds promising trials worldwide, encouraging more researchers and organisations to get into this space.
- Promoting wider adoption of trials: We advocate the need to improve the evidence base on innovation and growth policy, and showcase the value of randomised controlled trials to encourage wider adoption.
- Capacity building: We run workshops for policymakers and researchers at organisations across the globe.
- Building and connecting communities: We bring together researchers working on randomised controlled trials in this field through the IGL Research Network, and play a matching and brokerage role to help them connect with our growing network of partner organisations open to adopting randomisation in their programmes.
- Convening: we host an annual Global Conference, which brings together senior policymakers, practitioners and researchers from across the globe to explore future innovation and entrepreneurship policies. This year, we’re hosting IGL2019 in Berlin.
- Creating useful resources: We improve the knowledge base and develop best practice on how to run randomised controlled trials in this space. We learn when they work and when they don’t (and therefore when to use and not use them), and we create useful resources to reduce the challenges faced by organisations interested in running RCTs.
Disseminating lessons: We collate the evidence emerging from randomised controlled trials worldwide (see our trials database), and translate it into actionable insights that are useful for both policymakers and practitioners. We disseminate our findings through presentations, conferences, webinar series and publications.
If you would like to find out more about how we could collaborate, please visit our website.