The Governance Lab

Founded in 2012, with funding from the MacArthur and Knight Foundations, the Governance Lab (the GovLab) brings together thinkers and doers who design, implement, and study technology enabled solutions that advance a collaborative, networked approach to reinvent institutions of governance. The GovLab aims to improve people’s lives by changing how we govern.

The GovLab is an action-research center seeking new ways to solve public problems using advances in technology and science. Our goal is to advance our understanding of how 21st century citizen engagement can make governance more effective and legitimate.

The GovLab’s work is predicated on the following hypotheses: (a) institutions that govern themselves more collaboratively solve problems faster and with greater success; and (b) greater engagement leads to more legitimate democratic governance and also to better solutions for citizens.

Rather than working like a traditional academic research organization, the GovLab resembles a technology start-up, rapidly evolving in response to research results, individual project needs or emergent trends. In all of its initiatives, the GovLab employs an “action research” approach. The GovLab develops practical designs for processes, technologies, and institutional arrangements to support collaborative democracy; puts these designs into practice; studies the outcomes to advance our understanding; and uses that understanding to design the next projects. The organization produces scholarly research and maps real-world developments to create a robust understanding of how scientific and technological advances can improve 21st century governance. A focus on real-world impacts and evidence-based decision-making defines the GovLab approach and ensures that its actions are legitimate and credible.

Go to the CGCS Media Wire to check out the GovLab’s weekly Selected Curation of Articles on Net-Governance (SCAN).