MIT Governance Lab (MIT GOV/LAB)
The MIT GOV/LAB is a research group of political scientists directed by Professor Lily Tsai, focusing on innovation in citizen engagement and government responsiveness. The group collaborates with social enterprises, funders, and governments on research that builds and tests theories about how innovative programs and technologies can make governments more accountable to citizens. In each of their projects, they aim to provide operationally useful information to practitioners as well as to contribute to theoretical knowledge.
Through the GOV/LAB's approach of iterated research and development, they help their organizational partners learn in real time and make mid-course corrections to their programs. Each collaborative project begins with an initial stage of open-ended exploratory field research to generate hypotheses and identify specific mechanisms connecting an intervention or technology to the outcomes our partners seek. Using rigorous social science methods, they then conduct a series of focused investigations and experiments to help practitioners learn which operational and design choices are most effective in particular contexts. The group does not believe in “one-size-fits-all” interventions; instead, GOV/LAB focuses on research and development of context-specific interventions.