Endorsements

Social Labs Cover

“This book provides decision-makers with a practical guide to addressing complex challenges. It offers a clear-eyed, hopeful and realistic approach that is timely and much needed.”

- Mrs Cherie Blair, CBE, QC

“A powerful and practical book – read it.”

- Tim Harford, Author The Undercover Economist Strikes Back & Senior Columnist, The Financial Times

“We can solve complex systemic problems like violence, poverty, and climate change.  In his inspirational and empowering book, Hassan shares invaluable insights into today’s social challenges through a vision for effective action. This truly personal, analytical, and luminous work based on years of research, reflection, and experience, is essential reading for all those who aspire to affect deep and sustainable social change.”

- Gabriella Etmektsoglou, Director, New York University Berlin

“A profoundly important and timely book. Hassan has been at the center of the Social Labs Revolution since its beginning and explains this powerful new approach to tackling the world’s most pressing challenges in a clear, concise and compelling fashion.”

- Joseph Jaworski, author of the international best seller, Synchronicity, former Head of Scenario Planning, Royal Dutch Shell

“Increasingly we face complex social problems that we can solve only through working together, not only with friends and colleagues but also with strangers and opponents. Zaid’s book shows us a new way of doing so. It represents an important milestone in learning how to address our most profound challenges.”

- Adam Kahane, author of “Solving Tough Problems” and “Power and Love”

“The Social Labs Revolution takes the radical approach of putting planning on the backburner in favor of learn-by-doing methodology. We know that social, experimental, prototyping, and systemic approaches have worked in the Internet ecosystem and for entrepreneurs. Will they work in for complex social issues? Zaid Hassan shows us experiments that have worked — and how to try our own.”

- Howard Rheingold, author of best-sellers Virtual Reality, The Virtual Community, Smart Mobs, and Net Smart

“There are many reasons why anyone interested in doing something about the complex, multi-cultural, economico-politico-social problems that the planet is facing must read this book. Most important the social labs experiments use interventions that are as complex as the problems they are addressing; second, the use of large multi-cultural groups and managed social interaction is essential to this level of change; and third, the labs illustrate a level of innovation and courage that is essential to tackling the difficult global problems of today and tomorrow.”

- Edgar H. Schein Professor Emeritus, MIT Sloan School of Management Author of “Humble Inquiry: The gentle art of asking instead of telling”

“Democracy, society and civilisation are all undermined by those who seek only to profit from the future. The Social Labs Revolution opens up the space to see, seed and grow better future possibilities.”

- Dr Angela Wilkinson, Counselor for Strategic Foresight, Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

“Since the start of the sustainable development movement 20 years ago, civil society has been trying to use the same strategy and way of thinking to solve the same problems with less than satisfactory impact. Real transformational change requires a radical transformation in the way civil society creates strategy. The Social Labs Revolution offers a promising approach to achieving just that.”

- Wael Hmaidan, Director, Climate Action Network International

“The Social Labs Revolution is a manifesto for emergent and iterative change. Drawing from his own experiences, Zaid Hassan shows how to engage in with complexity in the real world and offers a compelling alternative to plans that can often be outdated by the time they are written. I came away wanting to know more.”

Danny Burns, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

“In this engaging account of work on tough social challenges, ranging from addressing malnutrition in India, to designing new electricity systems, Zaid reflects deeply on what we need to do differently to shift our stuck systems. Through stories and signposts, he inspires and guides aspirant and seasoned ‘agilistas’ to continue the quest for approaches that create tangible and enduring answers to our most pressing local and global dilemmas. Required reading for policy makers, practitioners, academics, and engaged citizens everywhere.”

- Milla McLachlan, Director of the Southern Africa Food Lab.

“Read this book if you seek wisdom and practical experience with solving tough problems. Hassan is a facilitative leader of systemic change, not merely an observer, and he writes well.”

- Hal Hamilton, The Sustainable Food Lab

“Zaid brings clarity to what the evidence tells us is true and what we we feel every day — the challenges we face as a global society in the coming decades are enormous, and Newtonian, technocratic efforts will not suffice. This book is at once a compelling problem definition, weaving theory, research and personal experience, and also a manifesto and “playbook” for systemic action using social labs. This is the type of book I will always have two copies of: One copy as an immediately useful narrative with insights on every page, and one copy to share with others.”

- George Roter, CEO and Co-Founder, Engineers Without Borders Canada

“In order to address social challenges we desperately need spaces for experimentation. This book explores this need through the idea of social labs. Through his hard won practical wisdom, Zaid bravely and honestly outlines a radical new approach to solving our toughest social challenges. Read this brilliant book.”

- Mustafa Suleyman, Co-founder and Chief Product Officer, DeepMind Technologies

“This book represents a new genre: the story of new practices as they are being developed, based on emerging new theory shaped by these practical experiences, told as the personal journey of the practitioner.  Zaid Hassan offers us a compelling, in-depth exploration of how to work with the increasing complexity of our most overwhelming social issues, and in that work, how to be a fully engaged learner courageously encountering complexity.  He has created a highly readable, provocative narrative, filled with insights, questions and, above all, a deep yearning to know how best to make a difference in this troubled time.”

- Margaret J. Wheatley,  Author of Leadership and the New Science and most recently, So Far From Home: Lost and Found in Our Brave New World

“We learn from reading The Social Labs Revolution that collective responses to many of the world’s seemingly intractable issues are often weighed down by lack of vision, hope, funding, collaboration, and compromise, or by greed and mismanagement, or by the weight of sheer inertia. Zaid Hassan’s extremely compelling and readable manifesto tells us philosophically and practically what social labs are doing to mobilize and effect small and large-scale change for real-world effects. His vision can be trusted because he is realistic and sober in his assessments of problems, he showcases practices that have been tested, and because he adheres to a model of long-term commitment rather than short-term band-aid solutions to complex issues. This is a book for people looking for effective solutions beyond packaged governmental or non-governmental development programs, and short-term or one-off social entrepreneurship projects. This is a work of information and insight that can be applied right now.”

- Melissa Finn, Department of Political Science, Wilfrid Laurier University