What is a Change Lab/Design Lab?

Frances Westley, Sean Geobey, Kirsten Robinson
February, 2012

In this paper we propose the creation of a Social Innovation Change Lab, what such a permanent process would entail and what it would aim to achieve. We discuss the multiple theoretical origins of Change or Design Labs, as the confluence of group dynamics and group psychology, complexity theory, design, and computer modelling and visual language. Change Labs provide a physical and intellectual space designed to encourage and facilitate cooperation and the co-creation of meaningful and innovative solutions to complex problems. We discuss the previous and current use of Change or Design Labs, and the possibilities contained in recent and ongoing advancement of visualizing and modelling technologies, with an eye to how a social innovation-oriented Change Lab would fit a genuine need to develop novel solutions to complex problems.