“The global lab is a societal challenge-based learning journey and to make more impact together”
Arnold Koning, LEF future center

How can we tackle society’s major challenges successfully

How can we create resilient societies?

What questions should we be asking about climate resilience?

We have many questions

Global Lab initiative has been emerging since late 2018 and although much thought has already gone into it, everything is still open and we have more questions than answers.

zoom_out How can we address climate resilience in ways we haven’t thought of before?
zoom_out_map What kind of transnational, transdisciplinary approaches can contribute to creating breakthroughs in complex and challenging issues?
lmerge_type How can we effectively orchestrate collaborative innovation among diverse ‘extraordinary innovation centers’, effectively involve dozens of experts, hundreds of innovators and thousands of citizens in orchestrated efforts?
lock_open How can we address these together for amplified impact?

The Global Lab initiative has been emerging since the early
Aalto Camps for Societal Innovation (ACSI ) in 2010.

“This action-oriented work process strives first to know what questions to ask, then for effective ways to answer them together."
(Hank Kune, Future Center Alliance)


Too many borders & boundaries

Many innovation projects – even ‘successful’ ones – do not create international impact because they take place in the confines of national, institutional or expertise silos – or ‘silos of responsibility’. Results do not spread easily to different locations, and are difficult scale from local to global, or global to local.

But major societal challenges don’t recognize borders of these kind.

The Global Lab initiative has been emerging since the early Aalto Camps for Societal Innovation (ACSI ) in 2010.

Just look at how one passionate young schoolgirl has ignited “Greta effect” all around the world.

This is why we aspire to establish a Global Lab for Societal Innovation, which can address major societal challenges as a collaborative innovation project, an orchestrated initiative which allows different organizations in different countries to work in a focused way, at the same time, on the diverse aspects of major societal challenges.


We intend to establish a Global Lab for Societal Innovation, which can address major societal challenges as a collaborative innovation project, an orchestrated initiative which allows many people and organizations in different countries to work in a focused way - at the same time - on the diverse aspects of major societal challenges.

The Global Lab is being developed to bring relevant people and organizations together and enhance their capacity to tackle any of the difficult issues society faces.

The focus of the first Global Lab is the diverse and complex challenges of ‘climate and societal resilience’.

The Global Lab initiative is driven by the collective desire to co-create breakthrough solutions to large and complex societal challenges, by focusing the energy, creativity and intelligence of diverse teams at different locations an intense process lasting 3 years.

A platform for prototyping new Societal Innovation approaches is an urgency in many ways.
( Leif Edvinson, Future Center Alliance)

Developing and running a
Global Lab on Climate Resilience


Working as a ‘league of extraordinary innovation centers’ – the ‘best’ future centers, living labs, corporate RDI centers, design labs, thinktanks, NGOs – these centers together will become a distributed laboratory for mission-driven innovation, with the possibility of creating real breakthroughs – moonshots – on the issues they address.

It invites teams from business, governments and NGOs, from Future Centers, corporate RDI centers and Living Labs, to join an orchestrated initiative to create/support breakthrough societal change.

And an infrastructure for collaborative innovation, for opportunity enrichment and co-learning, and a distributed network for tackling the major challenges facing society today.

Distributed working and learning through rapid prototyping

Each team will address the challenge of its ‘local agenda’ – this can be a set of interrelated issues and problems, which is important for a particular culture, city, country, or region – and at the same work on the challenges brought in by other teams.

This collaboration will ideally result in producing good ideas and promising solutions which fit both the local regions they are developed for, and the possibility that they will work in different places too – that they are possible generic solutions for moving forward in different cultures around the world.


Different projects are envisioned:

New initiatives, dealing with concrete questions about ‘climate resilience’, which are anchored in local communities and willing to co-create possible solutions with similar communities elsewhere in the world.

Existing projects in different countries that want to benefit from the synergetic effects of sharing insights and knowledge through the Global Lab, and commit to an orchestrated process of prototyping promising ideas, peer2peer coaching, and co-learning


We need cities, regions, organizations ready to bring their ‘challenge’ to the Global Lab, willing to ‘own’ the challenge, and willing to test and improve promising solutions in their streets, neighborhoods and offices.

We need excellent innovation labs, committed innovators, societal entrepreneurs and experts on climate and resilience, and citizens around the globe, ready to work together on these challenges.

To meet each other in action. To be seriously bold together.


To realize our aspirations, we need partners – people and organizations:

▪ who are willing to think and act together about how to set up and orchestrate the Global Lab processes

▪ who are able to take part in the 1st Global Lab in 2020

▪ who are ready to help navigate and coach the process when it is running

Mission ONE

Climate Resillience

Mission ONE – the focus of the first Global Lab – is Climate & Societal Resilience.

Resilience is the capacity to bounce back from a crisis, and bounce forward with an opportunity. Climate resilience is seen as the capacity of a system to anticipate, prepare for, and respond to trends, stresses, disturbances, crisis and disruptive events related to climate, both in the environment and in society. It is a key building block for societal renewal.

Climate resilience relates to many issues, all of which may be focus points for specific projects and practical prototypes :


▪ Sea levels rising
▪ Extreme weather 
▪ Desertification fresh water


▪ Technologies for breakthroughs and opportunities
▪ Technologies for making a difference in specific places and with specific issues
▪ Technologies and disruption, and unintended consequences

Climate in society

▪ Massive waves of climate refugees in the next decade 
▪ Climate of fear or hope, for accepting change, for working together 
▪ How we allocate and accept responsibility and resources for resilience

The climate in our heads

▪ Lifestyle 
▪ Identity and entitlement (freedom to consume, freedom to waste) 
▪ Habits, behavior and loss
▪ Moving from awareness to interest, from interest to desire, and from desire to action

The choice of specific challenges will be made by the innovation centers and the regions that represent, and reflect their importance to local agenda’s, and their relevance to the Global Lab as a whole.


▪ Sea levels rising
▪ Extreme weather
▪ Desertification and fresh water


▪ Breakthroughs and opportunities
▪ Disruption, and unintended consequences

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