Mit Gov Lab

Government leaders are the least trusted among 12 categories of societal leaders1

66% people believe their governments are purposely trying to mislead them2

People's trust in democratic governments has steadily declined for the past 20 years3

We are trying something different

We are building the KNOWLEDGECAPACITYTECHCOMMUNITY_ To design governance innovation solutions

Mit Gov Lab Logo
Mit Gov Lab Logo
Mit Gov Lab Logo
Mit Gov Lab Logo

Governance Innovation Initiative

The Governance Innovation Initiative is a sandbox for researching and testing innovative tools and processes to design innovative governance solutions. We aim to understand the future of governance through a series of case studies, engagements with thought leaders in governance and innovation, as well as the co-designing of governance innovation solutions through a Lean Governance Innovation Design (LGID) approach.

Good governments design for people.

Great governments design with people.

How We’re Doing It

Mit Gov Lab Logo


We’re interested in what motivates governance innovators, how they behave, how innovation ecosystems can spark governance innovation, and cross-disciplinary approaches to governance innovation design. We want to understand how governance innovation works beyond the traditional bureaucratic systems: in slum dwellings, in refugee camps, and other complex settings.

Through our Case Studies, we document and make more accessible the stories of governance innovation in the Global South. We provide insights into the challenges of governance, the different pathways to innovation in the public sector, and the drivers for and barriers to innovation.

Mit Gov Lab Logo

Sierra Leone’s Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation (DSTI): We are researching the role of user-centered design in the digitization of a whole-of-government payment processing system.

Mit Gov Lab Logo

Mexico City’s Agency for Digital Government (ADIP): We are researching the transformation of the “Mexico City Master Key,” which unifies the city’s services into one interoperable data key.

Mit Gov Lab Logo

Brazil’s La-BORA!Gov: We are researching the Free-LA program, which creates the enabling environment for civil servants to innovate.

Mit Gov Lab Logo

Cape Verde’s NOSi: We are researching the challenges and advantages of developing e-governance tools for election transparency in Cape Verde.

Mit Gov Lab Logo

Kenya’s Africa Center for Technology Studies: We are researching the ethics surrounding e-governance and the collection and use of citizen data, as related to revenue and citizen registry.

As we experiment with different approaches to governance with our partners we are drafting Learning Cases that build a cumulative body of learnings to iterate on our tools and frameworks. Click here to read our learning cases

Mit Gov Lab Logo

Directorate of Science Technology & Innovation: Building the runway for governance innovation to take off in Sierra Leone.

Mit Gov Lab Logo

Government of Ekiti State Nigeria: Who has the itch? Sparking governance innovations in the health sector in Nigeria.

Mit Gov Lab Logo

Freetown City Council & Enabling Business Environment Secretariat: The tradeoff between sparking and sustaining innovation.

Mit Gov Lab Logo


Bootcamps, accelerator, hackathons, designer-researchers

Bootcamps and accelerator programs enable partners to diverge and converge on co-identified challenges while Designer-Researchers have worked with our partners to collectively imagine better governance products, services, and processes through the Lean Governance Innovation Design approach.

Mit Gov Lab Logo

Thought Leadership

Power to the Who Podcast

What is the future of governance? How can we collectively imagine better futures where we design with citizens and government, not just for citizens? How can governments redesign how they deliver public services? Interviews with thought leaders in governance, reformers, public service leaders, technologists, designers will shine a light on topics in a fun and insightful environment where guests air their visions, challenges, anecdotal mistakes and eureka moments. Click here to listen

Mit Gov Lab Logo

Episode 1 Laughing their way to governance innovation: Mexico’s comedians hit the streets.
Guest: Arturo Hernandez, Founder of SuperCivicos, Mexico

Mit Gov Lab Logo

Episode 2 Is this a startup or a government agency? A different approach to public innovation in Chile.
Guest: Roman Yossif, Former Executive Director of the Laboratorio de Gobierno de Chile, Chile

Mit Gov Lab Logo

Episode 3 A psychologist walks into a public innovation lab: Creating spaces for civil servants to innovate
Guest: Luana Farias, Executive Director, LA-BORA Gov!, Brazil

Mit Gov Lab Logo

Episode 4 Because the Law said so: Innovation through legislation in Nigeria
Guest: Dr. Jumoke Oduwole, Special Advisor to the President of Nigeria on Ease of Doing Business, Nigeria

Mit Gov Lab Logo

Episode 5 From stopping truck driver riots to making the city a safe space: Can design change a democracy
Guest: Santiago Amador, Executive Director, Bogota Innovation Lab, Colombia

Mit Gov Lab Logo

Episode 6 What’s in it for me? The trials and tribulations of designing inside the bureaucracy
Guest Host: Mariama N’Diaye, Morningside Academy of Design Fellow

Guest: Nicolas Rebolledo, Head of Services Future Lab & Kahil Ali, Project Lead, Sierra Leone’s Directorate of Science, Technology, and Innovation (DSTI)

Governance Innovators

Our partners are at the heart of governance challenges, pushing for a different way of doing things to improve the relationship between government, citizens and civil society. Read our Q&As with Kahil and Kome.

Who We Are

MIT GOV/LAB Innovation Team

We’re a cross-disciplinary group of social scientists, design engineers, technologists, committed to improving the relationship between government and citizens.

Previous Team Members

Awab Elmesbah, Sheng-Hung Lee, Mariama N’Diaye, Cory Ventres-Pake, Gaby Reygadas, Susy Tort, Leonard Francis Vibbi

Governance Advisers

Governance Advisers provide valuable input and feedback into our methods and research, while also helping us building a high level community of champions of innovation.

Design Advisers

Design Advisers provide thought leadership in experimental areas of design to build better governance innovation.

Faculty Advisers

A select group of cross-disciplinary MIT Faculty provides insightful feedback to iterate on our experimental governance innovation methods.

Governance Innovation Research Fellows

Fellows are MIT graduate students with interdisciplinary backgrounds, embedded in public sector innovation labs, think tanks and government agencies, researching governance innovations.