Latest Research
Home > Research > Latest Research
The Role of Policy Labs in Policy Experiment and Knowledge Transfer: A Comparison across the UK, Denmark, and Singapore


Author: Qiaobing Li, Liang Ma

Abstract: Policy labs have been increasingly used to generate scientific evidence and political momentum to boost policy experiments, but our understanding of the conditions for knowledge creation and transfer through policy experiments in the labs is scarce. This paper compares the UK’s Cabinet Office’s Behavioral Insights Team (BIT), Denmark’s the Danish MindLab, and Singapore’s the Human Experience Lab (THE Lab) to identify their similarities and differences in fostering policy experiment and knowledge transfer. It is found that BIT as the “Nudge Unit” is keen on bringing in rigorous scientific evidence to advocate effective albeit controversial policies, critical to its survival and influence in an adversarial political circumstance. MindLab takes more initiative to co-create and run projects together with agencies and organizations. THE Lab is dedicated to gleaning ethnographic insights from various stakeholders to support design thinking in policy implementation. These discernable differences can be attributed to their different political regimes and policy environments, which suggest workable avenues for policy labs in other countries.