Smart City Lab: Accelerating smart, safe, low-carbon cities

This is a dynamically evolving concept: everything is open to change. The intent of this Loomio is to convene online input to shape this idea.

The basic idea is for a 'Smart City Lab' drawing on open source/Lean/agile/social lab practice (a whole bunch of action-focused organisational and project DNA), that will work with the pioneers and early adopters (from across government, academia, community and private sectors) to position them as leaders in the transition to smart, low-carbon cities.

"We have scientific and technical labs for solving our most difficult scientific and technical challenges. We need social labs to solve our most pressing social challenges." Zaid Hassan, author, The Social Labs Revolution.

A Social Lab runs a diverse programme of social and systemic experiments or tactics, to gain experience and information to inform responses to complex societal challenges. Experience and information gained is used toward rolling out, scaling, and designing new tactics. Key ingredients are real world action to generate new information, and key steps in the recipe are prototyping, evaluation and iteration.

This Smart City Lab will open source learning from its tactics, and draw on work shared by others. Local (Wellington NZ) influences include the rapidly evolving work of the Enspiral ecosystem, including Loomio and the Smart Energy Challenge, and LifeHack's work explicitly applying social lab practices within this mix.

The core question for this lab might be how to unleash latent human potential, in order to create a safer, cleaner, wiser and more just future. Many past societies have fallen because they failed to change when their world changed.

Scientific and technical labs can inform us about our big challenges, and tell us what we should do, but we need a social lab to show us how.

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