Social Innovation Generation (SiG) has an ongoing effort to collect and share resources to help support lab practitioners—such as MaRS Solutions Lab—that are working to create innovative solutions to big complex societal issues.

As we head into 2015, here are just five useful resources for lab practitioners and the lab-curious that crossed the desks of SiG.

1. Christian Bason: Design for the Public Good

This is a video of Christian Bason’s talk (formerly head of MindLab, now leading the Danish Design Center) from a Parsons DESIS Lab event—(New) Public Goods: Labs, Practices, and Publics—in New York in May. The event brought together lab practitioners from around the world, designers, social scientists, researchers and public servants to explore in-depth how lab approaches play out in reality, critically reflect on practice, and discuss next steps. Christian talks about some of MindLab’s projects and about what is at the ‘edge of thinking’ for this emerging field. Also see this post by Sarah Schulman about her reflections from the event.

2. How We Built 9 Social Innovation Labs in 3 days

This is a great blog featuring an overview of a three-day innovation jam workshop in Jakarta that spawned nine new innovation lab projects focused on areas of women’s empowerment. The workshop was led by Aditya Dev Sood and used a compressed version of the Bihar Innovation Lab model. Each of the nine pre-selected groups (out of 81 applicants) were also awarded grants and teamed up with a design student. The post is an inspiring account of the specifics of running innovation workshops that empower and enable non-specialists to create and innovate. The result of this workshop was the start of a lab network in Indonesia!

3. Dispatch from Montenegro: Step inside the MindLab

This is a interview with MindLab’s Kit Lykketoft while she was in Montenegro to give the keynote address at SHIFT| UNDP Week on Innovation Action. Questions explored included:

  • How would you describe what it is you and your team do?
  • We always hear about user-led innovation and design thinking. What does that actually mean, and how does it—or can it—impact our lives as we live them?
  • Why do you think that governments should adopt the innovation agenda?
  • Can you tell us a bit more about what collaborative policy-making is?
  • Do you have any reflections on what you’ve seen here so far, or perhaps more broadly in your work in Europe and Central Asia?

4. How Social Innovation Labs Contribute to Transformative Change

How Social Innovation Labs Contribute to Transformative Change is part of a blog series on the Rockefeller Foundation’s innovation labs program. This post reflects on a gathering in September with 20 leading lab practitioners from around the world (including Toronto’s own Joeri van den Steenhoven of the MaRS Solutions Lab). While the group was diverse, three themes emerged as being common lab features, which are described further in the post:

  1. Drawing on diverse perspectives from across and within the system;
  2. An innovation mindset of learning fast, trial and error, and co-creating solutions; and
  3. Unique process, approach and tools for problem solving.

5. Slides on UK Policy Lab and Nesta’s Innovation Lab

Two slide decks you have to check out: (1) Andrea Siodmok of UK’s Policy Lab shares an introduction to their lab; and (2) Philip Colligan of Nesta’s Innovation Lab shares his presentation from the Social iCon global lab gathering that took place in October in Singapore.

Interested in reading more? Head over to the SiG blog to read our full reading list.

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Satsuko VanAntwerp

Satsuko VanAntwerp is the manager of social innovation at Social Innovation Generation’s national office. She manages the SiG National Lab Strategy, a program that promotes lab processes and supports those engaged in lab-like activity in the greater Toronto area. See more…