Transformation Labs  are long-term multi-actor processes focused on social-ecological change. They have a particular emphasis on just and sustainable transformations, and human-nature connectedness. They typically address complex problems, where people share a sense of urgency but may disagree in their problem understanding. They are a very new tool and have been mostly applied in participatory research projects but could be relevant to any organisation interested in social innovation for environmental problems.

  • Encourage Reflexivity: Promote reflexivity on complex social-ecological problems and interconnected causes.

  • Generate Narrative Shifts: Can generate new meanings and shifts in mainstream narratives.

  • Foster Agency for Change: Seek to foster individual and collective agency to support participants in activating alternative pathways to change.

  • Process Quality: Focus on a high-quality process, rather than judging success on outcome alone.

  • Recruitment: May not be attractive to participants who expect a direct impact on policies (unless the Transformation Lab is intentionally targeted at doing so).

  • Engagement: Difficulties in achieving long-term engagement, with intermittent participation lessening the possibilities for transformation

  • Impact: The majority of Transition Labs to date have prioritised individual and collective transformations, meaning they may achieve low systemic and structural impacts


Pathways: The PATHWAYS network has developed and used Transition Labs in their work with civil society and policymakers in Argentina, China, Kenya, India, Mexico and the UK to address socio-ecological challenges.


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