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Fredericton 1st Floor Meeting Room, NRC Building, UNB Campus 46 Dineen Drive Fredericton, NB Canada

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Complexity has invaded many different fields. We are now faced with rapidly changing circumstances almost wherever we look.

Social labs represent a powerful, innovative and strategic response to complex social challenges.

You are responsible for coming up with a strategic response to a challenge as complex as climate change, child poverty or any change where there needs to be a fundamental change of mind-set.

You may be working in the public, private or non-profit sector. You may be a civil servant or an entrepreneur or work in corporate social responsibility.

Over three days participants will deepen their understanding of both the strategic and the tactical aspects of setting up social labs. This will include framing the business case for labs, setting the challenge, the relationship of scale to the overall strategy of the lab, practical details on the design of social labs, what a “minimal viable social lab” looks like, and more.

At the end of three days, participants will leave with a clear idea of what it takes to design a social lab and how to go about this task. The course will consist of a combination of small group and plenary work, with many opportunities for peer learning. Participants will work in small groups to apply learning to their own challenges. This course is particularly suited to teams who are seeking a strategy for addressing a real-world problem that they are currently working on.

What will you learn?

  • An in-depth explanation of what social labs are
  • How to get a social lab off the ground
  • How to make the business case for social labs
  • How to put in place pre-conditions for success
  • How to correctly frame the challenge you want to address
  • How best to constitute a lab team
  • What core capacities or "muscles" are required to run a Lab
  • How to design a lab process
  • What a “minimum viable” social lab looks like
  • How to design labs for multiple scales (from mini-labs to mega-labs)
  • How to create the right structures to support your lab
  • An understanding of the top ten most common errors in setting up labs


Small org (1-10 Employees) registration - $1,149 per person
Large org (11+ Employees) - $1,649 per person

Room & Board NOT Included (this is not a residential course)

Please note, the course duration is 3 days, and price is per person.

Day 1 - 28th July: 0900 - 1730
Day 2 - 29th July: 0900 - 1730
Day 3 - TBD Delivered via webinar

Location: Fredericton, NB

Payment can be made via Credit/Debit card, PayPal, and via Invoice. If you require payment via Invoice then please click 'Show other payments options' below the PayPal button.

Facilitated by Zaid Hassan in collaboration with .commUNITY

Zaid is a strategist, writer and facilitator.

Zaid is the co-founder of Reos Partners, where he served as Managing Partner of the Oxford office from 2007-2014. Reos Partners is a social innovation consultancy that addresses complex, high-stakes challenges around the world. Reos helps teams of
stakeholders work together on their toughest challenges.

Zaid has over a decade of experience in developing strategic responses to complex social challenges, including community development, climate change, child malnutrition, employment, energy, financial systems, global food systems, and security issues. His clients have included organisations as diverse as The World Bank, The UN Foundation, various governments, as well as Oxfam, WWF and many more.

Over 2009-10 he was an Associate Fellow of The Institute of Science, Innovation and Society, at the Said Business School. He has guest lectured at The University of Oxford, The University of Bergen, Norway, The New School in New York and many more institutions. Zaid is a Visiting Professor at the California College of Arts (2015-16).

He is author of “The Social Labs Revolution: A New Approach to Solving Our Most Complex Challenges” (Berret-Koehler, 2014).

A native Londoner, Zaid grew up in Bombay, New Delhi, Abu Dhabi and London. He currently lives in Oxford.

.commUNITY Logo

.commUNITY is taking collaboration between organizations to the next level through the development of ekosystems, which are 'communities of projects' working together and sharing resources to accomplish their own as well as shared goals.

We are convening ekosystems around large systemic issues like food security and waste and are providing structure and support, aiming to align large numbers of projects towards the solution of these, and other large, complex, systemic problems.

Critical to this approach is to understand how to bring different stakeholders, with differing priorities and agendas, into deeper alignment. We see the Social Labs process technology as essential to establishing a shared context and shared priorities between projects in ekosystems, and are very excited to be working with Zaid Hassan and the Social Labs team to bring this technology and to apply it our local context.

What are people saying about the course?

"There is a third option: Do better!

Over and over, I have been struck by how much my non-profit clients invest in strategic planning, but rarely utilize plans to transform the problems they are tackling. I was on the hunt to grow my toolkit to provide clients with a more meaningful and actionable approach to the big challenges they deal with - youth homelessness, quality education, community violence, financial security, gender equity. The Social Labs Masterclass delivered!

This Masterclass raises the bar on the work we undertake in the social sector. We can mobilize the passion of social sector leaders with an approach to quit status quo efforts and start doing better. I have been able to implement the social labs methods immediately, and I see clients excited about this approach. Even calling out the fact that we live in the complex environment itself - obvious but often obscured in traditional planning efforts - has helped my clients act more intentionally in their work.

The creative and strategic thinking, open discussion, and jargon-free 3 days were the best I've had in a long time! One last note - as an independent consultant, I am mindful about how I invest my time and dollars into professional development. This was worth every dollar and minute away from my clients - without a doubt."

- Bina M Patel, President and Founder of Saathi Impact

"As a doctoral student interested in "making the world a better place," I'm often overwhelmed by the complexity and magnitude of social problems at any scale, local, regional, or global. There are too many moving parts and so many different players that are both part of the problem and the solution.

In just three days, this Masterclass gave me hope that even the most complex problems can be addressed with a straightforward, step-by-step approach. It is by no means easy, but then again it’s impossible to address complex challenges with minimal effort. The process of social labs is a completely different way to view social challenges. It allows a more thorough understanding of the problem, a closer alignment of the people required to address the challenge, and greater creativity in coming up with solutions, which are three crucial elements that are missed or quickly glossed over in traditional efforts.

What I valued the most was the practicality of the approach and of the workshop. Very down-to-earth and hands-on, and yet its impact went beyond the realm of social challenges and impacted the way I view and live my life. I would recommend this workshop to anyone who is even remotely worried about the current and future state of our world. We are all part of our world’s problems and can most definitely be part of the solutions."

- Ximena Vidal De Col

This training opportunity made possible by the collaboration of

Do you have questions about How To Design A Social Lab - New Brunswick? Contact NouLAB