Effective and inspirational labs exist in many highly developed countries. In Western Europe, MindLab (Denmark) and The Behavioural Insights Team (UK) push their governments to re-imagine public services. In Asia, the Innovation Bureau in Seoul, South Korea, co-designs better services with citizens.
However, this guide is aimed towards those working in the development context. The authors believe their collective experience of running labs in Eurasia, Asia and the Middle East is directly transferrable to other regions who face similar challenges, for example, moving from poverty to inequality, or from a recent history of democratisation towards more open government.
This report does not offer a 'how-to' of innovation techniques - there are plenty of guides out there. Instead, we give the real story of how government innovation labs develop in regions like ours: organic and people-driven, often operating under the radar until safe to emerge. We share a truthful examination of the twists and turns of seeding, starting up and scaling labs, covering the challenges we faced and our failures, as much as our successes.