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Arantzazulab is a social innovation laboratory, and a Governance innovation reference centre.

Arantzazulab is a Governance Innovation reference centre and a social innovation catalyst. It primarily sets out to elaborate on and disseminate Collaborative Governance, and to this end, among other aspects, it undertakes responsibility for reflecting, researching and experimenting with new models for relations between public institutions and civil society. At Arantzazu's Gandiaga Topagunea centre, the main objective of the laboratory is to disseminate a collaborative culture in society, become a meeting point and an active learning outlet for citizens, and provide new tools and knowledge to boost the involvement and participation of citizens in the public agenda.



1.Social innovation laboratory.
2.Dissemination of Collaborative Governance.
3.Creation of local and international innovation networks, and boosting cooperation among agents.



How does ARANTZAZULAB work?

ARANTZAZULAB has three primary lines of work:



What has been achieved or what does it intend to achieve?

Arantzazulab has a clear mission: “to act as the major space in our country to implement knowledge in relation to Collaborative Governance, and be at the service of popular initiative, the institutional system and social agents”. Moreover, at a time of major changes, Arantzazulab is a social innovation laboratory to reflect and experiment in an innovative fashion on our future, our people, and the challenges of Basque society. It undertakes a role as catalyst of the innovation ecosystem to implement new knowledge, new values and new ways of doing things which serve to address complex challenges, building and fostering collaborative network with various local and international agents.

The laboratory comprises 4 strategic focuses:


1.Promotion of Collaboration Governance and implementation of knowledge in relation to this: facilitate spaces for deliberation, and table new instruments to boost the participation and empowerment of citizens.
2.Research, training and socialisation of new social contents and challenges, new values and new ways of doing things.
3.Activation of the ecosystem: create networks and boost collaboration.
4.Opening and internationalisation: learn and acquire knowledge of advanced models and take up a position in international networks.



More queries

Because in the changing and confusing context of deep transformation in which we are immersed today, we will only be able to respond to our challenges as a society by strengthening the system of relations and collaboration among institutions, citizens and organised society. In order to strengthen these systems it is important to explore and activate the institutions of the future and relations between institutions and agents, and the new governance models. In other words, it is necessary to boost social innovation and elaborate on the innovation of governance.


Why will Collaborative Governance and our sector be important in the future? In order to address social challenges, we need new spaces for encounters, and to integrate society in deliberation, with a focus on creativity, new spaces must be created for deliberation and shared courses of action, which, among other things, entail: designing, establishing and facilitating networks among different agents; using new tools and methodologies to activate and empower society; changing organisational models; exploring new funding mechanisms to secure efficient ecosystems; activating shared leadership and new roles ... research and experimentation must be conducted to this end. That is the innovation of governance, and that is what we are trying to do.

The laboratory's mission is to become the major centre in our country in terms of the innovation of governance, at the service of the institutional system and social agents.


It sets out to act as an innovative, transformative, decisive space for reflection, research, deliberation, co-creation and experimentation, working alongside a range of operators, seeking effective collaboration schemes and broad social consensus. It also seeks to gain recognition as a meeting point for the general public, so that both the institutional network and civil society will acknowledge Arantzazulab's contribution to get society involved in the innovation of governance and construction of the public agenda: and to link any research and projects carried out at Arantzazulab with the concerns and challenges of society, and it must arouse the interest of public institutions and also of social agents; in other words, the knowledge, the methods, tools or ways of doing things we will produce at the laboratories must be related to popular processes or be in the interest of any public policies implemented by institutions. This is the contribution the laboratory wishes to make. And all of this should be linked to Arantzazu's tradition and values.


Finally, the ultimate objective is to make Arantzazulab an innovation hub and a meeting point for citizens to produce a fairer, more cohesive, prosperous and human society.

The laboratory's 3 main lines of work to carry through the programme are: Research, Experimentation and Communication.

The laboratory has already rolled out a number of projects and initiatives, among which the most significant. Four main meeting or collaboration points have been established:

  • Research encounter point, alongside the territory's three universities.
  • Basque Country co-creation ecosystem, with 25 agents.
  • Governance innovation ecosystem, with local and international knowledge agents.
  • Fellowship Programme with international researchers, more than 40 international agents.
  • More than 15 experimentation projects were started up in the first two years, involving citizens and various agents and institutions in the territory, in a bid to foster collaborative governance and make citizens and society part of the deliberations. Namely: two "Citizen Assemblies" to foster deliberative democracy, an initiative to promote Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals in Basque society as part of the UN's Local Coalition 2030; Collaborative Governance Map; experiments in the co-creation ecosystem and an innovative initiative for experimentation with funding models for innovation ecosystems; work in relation to governance and technology.
  • At international level, we have established 10 collaborative schemes with international agents, we have contacted more than 80 agents, and have become members of a number of networks. The "alliance of small nations" has been established as a cooperation project with advanced innovative territories.
  • Organisation of seminars and creative sessions with a number of agents.
  • Inauguration of the Arantzazulab "Knowledge Portal·" to disseminate knowledge.
  • Documentary on Arantzazu's Non-material Assets.

See the major projects on the Arantzazulab website and follow on networks.

The current context necessarily requires knowledge and innovation: knowledge to elaborate on comprehension of social challenges and transformative factors, and to properly interpret how they will affect us, and innovation to come up with answers and establish new tools. Arantzazulab has the courage and the leadership needed to experiment with new tools. In short, it is a meeting point for innovative experimentation and free reflection, serving to implement this collective intelligence, working closely alongside public institutions, social agents and citizens.


Main contributions by Arantzazulab: research and experimentation on new relations and cooperation between governments and civil society, adding new instruments and mechanisms; knowledge of innovation ecosystems and structures, networks, capacities, essential leaderships and proposals for funding models which will make them efficient; learning in relation to the role of technology to transform relations between agents and governance; establishment of relations with international networks, in order to carry out cooperation projects with countries, experiences, governments and advanced laboratories in relation to governance innovation; advanced research on social challenges.



Promoters / Management Committee

Gipuzkoa Provincial Council / Basque Government / Corporación MONDRAGON / Kutxa Fundazioa / Franciscanos / Oñati Town Hall

Network of ecosystems and allies

Universities of Euskadi / Social innovation agents / International network / Social agents in the territory / Economic agents in the territory / Basque Country citizens