Social Lab

Social Lab logo

The Social Lab exists to:

  • Co-create and trial new ideas and solutions to address complex problems impacting our region.
  • Build trusted relationships by working and walking alongside our community and our partners.
  • Explore and test new models of collaboration, boldly designing and trying new ideas in the pursuit of positive change.

 We do this for those in the Geelong community who are most impacted by complex challenges and have been left behind in decision-making. We respect and use their insight, wisdom and creativity.


What is the Social Lab?

The Social Lab aims to address the root causes of inequality and inequity in our region by fostering collaboration, designing solutions, and testing new ideas.


The work of the Social Lab is underpinned and informed by three key approaches:

  • Systems Change – “Shifting the multiple conditions that hold problems in place, this can be changing policies, practices, resource flows, relationships, power dynamics and mental modes” The Water of Systems Change (Kania, Kramer, Senge, 2018)
  • Place-based – “A collaborative, long-term approach to build thriving communities delivered in a defined geographic location. This approach is ideally characterised by partnering and shared design, shared stewardship, and shared accountability for outcomes and impacts.” Place-based Evaluation Framework: A Guide for Evaluation of Place-based Approaches in Australia. (Dart, 2018)
  • Codesign – “designing with, not for. Co-design brings together lived experience, lived expertise and professional experience to learn from each other and make things better – by design.” Beyond Sticky Notes (McKercher, 2020)





Through the Social Lab, the Give Where You Live Foundation seeks to shift and change the conditions which hold complex and persistent challenges impacting our region. We seek to try something new, gain new or different insights into issues, and challenge the status quo.


We acknowledge that we all hold different perspectives and views of the world around us. We cannot truly understand an issue if we don’t actively seek to understand, listen and learn from diverse perspectives and views. Critical to this is valuing three fundamental perspectives – those of people with lived experience of the issue and community; those which can bring research and evidence of what is working and what is not; and the unique role that our First Nations people hold within our community. Through the Social Lab, we seek to partner with varied organisations and communities, with a commitment to learn together and seek a better-shared understanding and view of our world.

What we do?

Magnifying-glass-purple-outline  Re-discover… helping to explore what is holding a problem in place, better understanding the context or asking those most impacted what really matters.

Gwyl $20 Per Week Icon  Design… facilitating and assisting in the design and development of new ideas and prototypes that can be tried and refined.

People-boxes-purple-outline   Try, test & learn… learning through doing. A learning partner that can support you to try new ideas, and learn and refine through the process to understand what is working and       what is not.


Have an idea, or a problem, you would like to explore with the Social Lab team?
Please contact Kerry on or Hanna on