Governments have turned to public-sector innovation labs to develop new approaches to designing policies and public services. Worldwide, more than 100 government innovation units have sprung up to find solutions to pressing social challenges (Deloitte 2020). Among APO members, some of the notable ones include the Public Service Division’s Innovation Lab in Singapore, the Innovation Bureau in the Republic of Korea, and the Thailand Policy Lab that was launched in collaboration with the UNDP.  

Innovation labs provide platforms and protocols for engaging civil society, technologists, the private sector, and government to solve social and public challenges with experimental methods. They can take various forms from small, distributed teams to a physical office, and employ diverse methodologies. These include design thinking, behavioral insights, randomized controlled trials, and advanced data analytics. The labs share some common features. First, they are focused on people-centered policymaking. This means that innovation labs involve co-designing proposals with citizens and bringing in diverse stakeholders to develop empathy and ensure successful design and implementation. Second, they employ design-thinking approaches, i.e., processes of iterative, user-centric problem solving originating from tech and product design. Third, they promote cross-departmental collaboration, enabling different government agencies to work together and share learning. 

Course Objectives

The main objectives of this course are:

  • Explain the principles and practices of public-sector innovation labs.
  • Learn about the different kinds of public-sector innovation labs and how their structure and relation to government affect their performance.
  • Understand the rationale behind the use of innovation labs and the types of public and social problems they can help address.

Course Modules

This e-learning course will cover the following modules:
Module 1: Introduction to innovation labs
Module 2: Setting up the team and conditions
Module 3: Prototypes and pilot projects
Module 4: Tools and techniques
Module 5: Sustaining a lab

Important Notes:

  1. Participants who register to take this course and pass the final examination with a score of 70% or higher will be eligible to receive the APO certificate. Please note that the final examination can be taken only once. Therefore, the most appropriate time to take the examination should be chosen carefully. The self-assessment quizzes are for personal evaluation only and are not related to the final examination results.
  2. Participants who perform well in this course and receive the APO certificate will be given preference, on a merit basis, for selection to attend follow-up face-to-face multicountry APO projects on similar topics, when nominated by their NPOs and if slots are available.
  3. Notes 1 and 2 are applicable only to participants from APO member countries. Participants from nonmember countries are welcome to take the course for self-improvement, although they will not have an opportunity to attend the follow-up face-to-face multicountry APO projects.
  4. Each module is in a prerecorded video format in which the expert delivers presentations by explaining each slide. Participants can access the video by clicking on the link provided under the title of each module.

Course Duration in Hours: 10 hours
Skill Level: Beginner
Upcoming Course: No
New Course: Yes