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At the GO Lab, we produce original research and thought leadership and share this through a global network. You can read about the challenge we aim to tackle, our response, and our story so far, in the About Us section. In this section, we explain our goals and the work we do towards meeting them. 

  • We help the implementers of projects to design and manage approaches that increase collaboration, prevention and innovation. 
  • We equip decision makers to use evidence to make decisions that maximise the likelihood of better outcomes for citizens, and to share learning. 
  • We encourage policy makers to select and promote policies which support collaboration, prevention and innovation.
  • We aim to build consensus amongst and within influencers around which approaches can improve outcomes for citizens and how these work
  • We seek to constantly enhance two-way learning between engaged researchers and practice.

Alongside our team of researchers and practice professionals, each year we appoint a small group of leading practitioners with a range of experience across sectors to support our work. These are our Fellows of Practice and they regularly contribute to our research, events and engagement work.

Research 

Our research agenda seeks to use a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods to analyse three things: the promise of new approaches, their impact compared to other approaches, and how they work. By publishing in prestigious academic journals as well as producing our own policy-facing reports and online guidance, the GO Lab is creating a new field of study that will leverage research assets in other universities worldwide and exponentially increase the evidence base.

An international outlook

We seek to learn from leading practice all over the world, and collaborate across borders to conduct research and share findings. Our annual international conference draws academics and practitioners from around the world to share insights, perspectives and the latest thinking on improving public sector outcomes. We are developing research into international outcomes funds, and we regularly work with associated organisations in Finland, Sweden, France, Italy, the US, Canada, South Africa and Japan.

Collaboration in communities

More broadly we are looking at the ways that governments and leaders are working to promote collaborative approaches at the local level. We are exploring how collaborative approaches can be pursued whilst maintaining accountability for tax payers’ money and delivering services that meet citizens' needs. Our report, Are we Rallying Together?, shares our early findings and case studies that have shown collaboration and innovation across the country.  

Outcomes based contracting 

We have published an evidence report that looks at the state of play of UK social impact bonds (SIBs). Building the tools for public services to secure better outcomes: collaboration, prevention, innovation looks beyond the question of whether SIBs work or not and asks ‘is there any magic dust in SIBs?’

We are involved in evaluating the Life Chances Fund projects. This is an £80 million fund designed to help people who face great challenges through SIB projects. We are evaluating the impact, process and value for money of the SIBs from this fund compared to other approaches - exploring ‘the SIB effect’.

Guidance

The GO Lab offer practical support and guidance to those designing, developing and implementing innovative approaches to tackling complex social problems. We host regular webinars, workshops and events across the country which discuss key topics and facilitate networking with sector experts. These include peer learning networks and executive education.

We regularly share short opinion-forming and thought-leadership pieces in our blog, which represents views from key players in the space, as well as interviews, summaries of panel debates we have hosted, and contributions from our own team and Fellows of Practice. We welcome proposals for submissions –read about writing for the GO Lab.

For more specific and personalised support we offer advice surgeries via phone or online.

Impact bonds

The GO Lab hosts the Global Platform for Impact Bonds and Outcome Based Approaches. The knowledge bank and toolkit draw from the latest thinking and practice, and form the backbone of a global collaboration seeking to gather and share learning on these topics. 

Within the platform, we publish introductory guidance on outcome based contracting and impact bonds, and detailed technical guidance on  setting and measuring outcomesevaluationprocurement and contracting,  and pricing outcomes. We regularly update and improve these guides and work on new ones in response to need. 

In collaboration with leading practitioners globally, we have developed the Impact Bond Lifecycle. This is an online tool that explores considerations to be made at each stage of developing an impact bond.  

We regularly update our publications library that shares the latest from across the sector, as well as the projects database which shares information about impact bonds that have been launched. We have a collection of case studies that offer in depth information about programmes.  

To help cultivate the global community, organisations can share their details on our directory, and in the UK, we host the Impact Bond Knowledge Clubs.