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The Public Services Innovation Laboratory (The Lab)

The Lab was set up by NESTA in 2009. It is a much needed facility dedicated to testing radical new responses to some of the UK’s most pressing social and economic challenges.

The Lab provides the freedom, flexible capital and expertise to undertake radical experiments. It tests out new ways of finding and spreading the best ideas – this might be by running a challenge prize, building a social ventures incubator, or creating powerful new teams of users, front-line staff and decision-makers.

The Lab is not a physical space or an institution – it’s a series of practical projects, informed by research and delivered in partnership with those that run and use our public services. It shares lessons about what works – and what doesn’t – and creates opportunities for people to solve problems together.

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NESTA is the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts ‐ a unique and independent body with a mission to make the UK more innovative.

We invest in early‐stage companies, inform and shape policy, and deliver practical programmes that inspire others to solve the big challenges of the future.

Our independence and ability to work across different sectors allows us to bring together ideas from a wide range of perspectives. And because we can take a longer‐term view, we are able to assume a greater burden of risk than others.

NESTA does not work alone. Our success depends on the strength of the partnerships we form with innovators, policymakers, community organisations, educators and other investors. We bring the best ideas, new flows of capital and talented people together, and encourage others to develop them further.
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The Young Foundation

The Young Foundation is a centre for social innovation based in London, with a 50 year track record of success in creating new organizations ‐ public, private and non‐profit ‐ as well as influencing ideas and policies.

The Launchpad team creates innovative new organisations in health and education. The Local Innovation team works on practical projects involving neighbourhoods, wellbeing and the future of cities. The Research team studies the dynamics of social innovation and changing needs. We work locally around our base in east London, throughout the UK as well as internationally.

The Young Foundation was launched in 2005, but builds on a long history. Its predecessor organisations under Michael Young were responsible for far‐reaching innovations ranging from the creation of the Open University and Which? to the School for Social Entrepreneurs, as well as pioneering research on changing patterns of community and family life.

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Social Innovation eXchange (SIX)

SIX is a global community of over 700 individuals and organisations – including small NGOs and global firms, public agencies and academics - committed to promoting social innovation and growing the capacity of the field. Our aim is to improve the methods with which our societies find better solutions to challenges such as ageing, climate change, inequality and healthcare.

SIX was designed to fill a gap. There are some existing networks of social innovators – both groups and individuals – in particular sectors (e.g. health, environment, cities), particular fields (e.g. social entrepreneurship, policy, design), and particular countries and regions. SIX does not aim to compete with, or supplant, any of these initiatives, but rather intends to link them together to promote learning and collaboration across sectors, fields and countries.

SIX was instigated by the Young Foundation, where the secretariat is now based. SIX is chaired by Diogo Vssconcelos, Distinguished Fellow at Cisco and chair of Dialgue Cafe, and is governed by a global steering group, which includes the Young Foundation and NESTA