Sitra Lab is a place for everyone who wants to solve wicked problems and participate in building societal change.



A laboratory is a place where previously unrelated elements are combined and methods are tested before spreading them to wider use. To solve wicked problems, we need both: new combinations and new methods.

There are builders of societal change everywhere in Finland, in different organisations and sectors and with a variety of job titles. Defining problems and developing services together does not only mean creating more diverse and better solutions, it is also a response to the call for new ways of democratic participation.

Sitra Lab is the future laboratory of Finland’s own fund for the future. It is a place for everyone who wants to solve wicked problems and participate in building societal change.

What do we do?

Sitra Lab aims to focus on one societal problem at a time. The frame of reference for these problems is the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and Sitra’s vision for sustainable well-being.

Tackling such ambitious goals requires extensive cross-sectoral co-operation, in-depth expertise in societal issues and solid methodological knowledge.

Sitra Lab brings different societal influencers together to form a shared understanding of the problems, to implement operating models aimed at solving them and to launch development programmes. To strengthen the societal impacts, Sitra Lab seeks active interaction between funding and community-led operators.

Sitra Lab will not try to find a single solution to a particular societal problem but to create opportunities for an increasing number of people to participate in building societal change. The aim is to create a new culture of solving wicked problems: if there are unsolved problems, the future is yet to be made, too.

The principles of Sitra Lab are as follows.

  1. Learning: Sitra Lab assists in the development of new skills and of formal and informal structures to support the implementation of societal change.
  2. A community-led approach: Sitra Lab creates a place where experts from different fields learn from each other, familiarise themselves with the best international examples and build practical solutions together.
  3. A practical approach: The topics addressed by Sitra Lab are timely and urgent societal problems that will have far-reaching consequences if left unsolved.

Sitra Lab is part of Sitra’s societal training

Sitra Lab continues Sitra’s long-standing work in implementing training that has a societal impact. It is a successor to the Vitality forums organised between 2011 and 2015, in which participants from all sectors of society gathered together to form an understanding of different challenges and launch practical trials to accelerate the discovery of solutions to them.

As well as building on the work of the Vitality forums, Sitra Lab takes advantage of Sitra’s experience as a developer of methods, gained in activities such as the Ratkaisu 100 challenge prize and the Timeout dialogues. Sitra Lab has taken on the task of spreading methodological knowledge widely for the benefit of the whole of society.


The first Sitra Lab, launched in spring 2019, focuses on one of the most fundamental challenges to well-being in society: social inequality.

The Nordic welfare state is built on the ideals of equality, fairness and democracy. These ideals have helped us to achieve many good things and they can also serve as values upon which the future can be built.

We can make the greatest impact on the future by focusing on children, their opportunities and the prerequisites for their well-being. This is what is being examined in the first Sitra Lab launched in April.

Where have we got to so far and how can you join?

Sitra Lab is for you if you:

  • are in charge of inclusive activities, co-creation and/or co-operation with stakeholders in your organisation;
  • want to influence the development of services and/or the direction of funding in your organisation;
  • represent any sector of society and want to solve wicked problems.

We expect you to have a desire to bring your point of view to a wider audience in the debate on social inequality among children and young people. We also hope that you want to explore and implement new ways of tackling societal problems and are committed to activating your own networks to take action.

The first meeting of Sitra Lab took place on 26 April 2019. 30 participants were selected to form a group combining different points of view and organisational backgrounds, diverse forms of expertise and mutually complementary implementation skills.


Sitra Lab 2019

Here is the schedule.
26 April
Orientation for the participants selected for the training.

Sitra Lab’s first meeting for the participants selected for the Lab. Participants will introduce their background, projects and viewpoints.


14-16 May
What should ours be?

What is urgent now? What can we tackle together? What is most important for me and for our organisation? Forming an understanding of the shared mission.

On May 14 we will start after 4 pm.

4 June
Taking a closer look.

What kind of shared picture do we get of the problem? What aspects should we address to achieve the greatest positive change? Sitra brings together the builders of societal change (that’s you!) and researchers, experts and sponsors whose work relates to the topic. We will also take a closer look at what social inequality among children and young people means.


11-14 June
What are others doing?

What kinds of methods and measures are being used to solve this problem in other countries? How can we help individuals and communities to solve the problem?


28-29 August

What kinds of development programmes or innovation processes will take on the challenge of the mission? What kinds of actions will be launched in the Lab and what help will they require in future? What wider discussions are the projects linked to?



What happens next? What will start to change and what will remain as it is? How will collaboration continue?



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