What's a Lab?

The Auckland Co-design Lab is part of an emerging global movement. Central and local governments around the world are investing in labs and using them as a public policy tool to explore new ideas and responses to complex social issues.

These labs take a variety of forms, using different methods and focusing on a range of issues such as health, skills and employment, early years, etc. Despite their differences these labs share a number of common principles.

  • Take an alternative view of policy development – bottom up and top down, rather than purely top down
  • Place an emphasis on people not organisations – focus on people’s experiences and insights to generate new perspectives and new solutions
  • Learning by doing – prefer fast experimentation and prototyping rather than slow policy development and implementation
  • Focus on deep causes and system change – ally theory with action
  • Blending quantitative and qualitative approaches