Ethics, Safety & Security

The Policy Lab is committed to ethical research practices and pays special attention to research ethics when working with children and people at risk in conflict zones. The Lab works to implement recognized standards and also cooperates with scholars and practitioners in building new and innovative solutions where best practices are found insufficient. The Policy Lab’s field researchers are certified in Basic and Advanced Security in the Field using courses from one of the world's recognized leaders in the area.

Models of Cooperation

The Policy Lab works with private and public sector actors, multinational firms and small NGOs. We use numerous models for cooperating with actors of different means and objectives. Contact us to learn more about how we can work together by embedding future cooperation in project budgets; drafting joint applications to funders for research and development; setting tailored pricing solutions; building results-based pricing models and other possibilities.


The Policy Lab (sm)

321 Columbus Avenue
Seventh Floor of the Electric
Carriage House
Boston, MA 02116
United States of America
Telephone: +1 617 440 4409


To be effective in local context we need local strategies.

To learn what is best in a given context, organizations need to adopt new ways of local learning and new techniques for applying that learning to policies and practices.

The Policy Lab helps private industry and public sector actors innovate and cooperate at the local-level through expert services in The Three Ds:

  • Diagnose: We generate local knowledge with an emphasis on rigor, cooperation and clarity
  • Design: We apply knowledge through innovative design processes
  • Deliver: We provide results that improve the performance of policies and practices for effective, sustainable and viable local action

The Policy Lab works across a number of thematic areas, including:

  • Peace and security: Special areas of attention include stability operations; community security, and corporate practice in complex environments.

  • Development: The Policy Lab works on both domestic and international issues, focusing primarily on advancing the Sustainable Development Goals, especially in complex operating contexts or areas where the goals are hindered by community security challenges or conflict. 

  • Humanitarian action and relief operations: The Policy Lab distinguishes humanitarian action from non-humanitarian relief activities. In both cases, services are directed towards designing and implementing appropriate strategies at local levels to better support beneficiaries through cooperative action.

… at three levels of activity:

  • Strategy: Strategy can enable or hinder desirable future action. The Policy Lab helps clients move from debate to design in the crafting of strategies and policies to establish more desirable directions in future conduct.

  • Organization: The Policy Lab helps translate policy into organizational practice by systematically supporting a “user-centered design” approach that brings the qualities and needs of the end-users into the implementation process, therefore closing the gap between between policy and practice.

  • FieldStrategic engagement with stakeholder communities is where success or failure originates and manifests. This is the center of gravity for The Policy Lab's activities.

… through three core functions:

  • Reducing barriers: Policy can never be as nuanced as daily life. The Policy Lab helps identify internal constraints to innovation and adaptation, thereby reducing the barriers to possible local action.

  • Creating conditions: The rush from "problem to planning" can often be a disservice in creating the conditions necessary for sustainable action. The Policy Lab works at the nexus between international and local communities to improve the odds of future action being viable and desirable to all stakeholders.

  • Design solutionsWhen debating, we face each other and not the problem. When deciding, we make choices alone. But when designing, we work cooperatively on the task of crafting solutions. The Policy Lab designs solutions with clients and other stakeholders and leads them through new approaches to building models, tabling options, prototyping possibilities, and co-designing with multiple stakeholders to achieve buy-in and legitimacy from the start.

Welcome to The Policy Lab.