The first Politics for Tomorrow Lab in Berlin

The 21st century requires new approaches to thinking and acting. Increasing complexity and accelerated change dynamics pose challenges that are no longer effectively addressed by traditional strategies and models. The need for innovative solutions is apparent on many levels. The coexistence of people in a complex and globalized world also requires fundamentally new approaches to policy-making. In recent years, innovation laboratories have emerged in political contexts worldwide, which operate on the basis of creative processes, address issues across sectors and make people the central focus of policy.

Under the motto “Be inspired, understand, get involved!” around 100 participants gathered in Berlin on the 15th and 16th of October 2015 for the first Governance Lab hosted by the non-profit organization nextlearning e. V. in order to get to know these methods and be inspired. High-ranking representatives of international innovation labs and other initiatives presented their work to interested parties from politics, administration, foundations, research institutions, social enterprises, civil society organizations and design agencies.

The speakers gave insights on how participatory, experimental and design-based impulses are changing classical policy-making. Based on selected projects, they explained how political decision-making that is based on innovation methods can be successfully implemented. These introductory presentations were complemented by workshops in which participants had the opportunity to experience the methods of the experts firsthand while working on tangible issues. The intention was to make theory comprehensible through practical application.

The range of speakers varied from representatives of established innovation laboratories who work directly with governments, to non-profit initiatives, to political consultants, to hacker communities that cooperate with international organizations such as the UN. The event addressed design as a tool for policy-making, the interplay between creativity and politics as the basis for the redesign of democratic processes, the inclusion of citizens’ perspectives in political decision-making processes, the possibilities for new technologies in public administration, and the development of public services in cooperation with their users.

The clear interest in the event proves that these topics have now also arrived in Germany and showed the need for further information, exchange and networking, as well as the potential for implementation of similar projects in Germany. Politics for Tomorrow has thus made a contribution to a new culture in policy-making and will continue provide a framework for this in future.

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