Over the last decades, a growing impetus has been given to more experimental approach to address complex challenges of time. They don’t ask donors to invest in a plan. They ask for investments in a diverse team, which then manages a portfolio of ideas. It is the talent that matters, and the process of iteration, trial and error, not a fixed plan that has little chance of success.
At the heart of this action based concept is a phenomenon known as a social laboratory. Social labs focus on innovating practical actions to address complex social challenges. They have three characteristics:
1. Social labs involve diverse stakeholders, including the people impacted.
2. They are experimental, relying on trial and error to create and manage a portfolio that guides investment decisions. A planning approach can put all its eggs in one basket.
3. They take a systems-based approach that addresses challenges at a root-cause level.