Technology & Innovation Labs

We promote civic innovation – helping activists devise new approaches for their specific environments and promoting the uptake of new technology.

Our technology and innovation labs cover everything from cybersecurity and drone journalism to ad campaigns and investigative reporting. At a time when tried-and-tested methods of campaigning are losing relevance, we believe creativity is crucial to helping civil society reconnect with their communities.


We support creative ideas and experimentation. We want campaigners to test new ideas and devise original projects to spread their messages and connect with wider society.


We introduce activists to the most exciting ideas and creative minds from across the world and in any sector – business, politics, media, civil society. These unique cross-sector, cross-border partnerships often spur some of the most cutting-edge and visionary ideas as people with different backgrounds and areas of expertise meet, trade ideas and work together.


Tech activism can empower groups and help their work active real impact. Approaching a familiar topic with a new tool, such as using gamification to engage an audience or big data to explore trends, can bring fresh relevance and engage new audiences.

How does it work?

First, we identify a challenge or opportunity civic activists are facing across the region. Then, we search for new technologies or new campaigning methods which could help, and identify the leading experts and professionals to provide training and host workshops for the activists. This could mean taking approaches being used by campaigners in different parts of the world or ideas and initiatives from the private sector.

We bring the professionals and activists together for a multiday residential workshop, where the group will take a new tool, idea or technology and explore how it can be used for their particular field. In small teams, the participants will then work in partnership with professionals to design new project, product or campaign and pitch it to the group for feedback.

After the event, we provide support to all attendees and fund the most promising projects which have been devised as a result of the lab. We see the events as the first stage in forging a community of experts and practitioners, based in the region, who are experimenting with new campaigning techniques. As such, we help and encourage participants to spread their knowledge across civil society and with fellow organisations and individuals in their home countries.

Aerial investigation of Bishkek municipal dump

New aerial footage shows the scale of the 60 square kilometre site, the vast collection of waste, the people, vehicles and animals that prowl the land – and its proximity to central Bishkek.

Migrants’ rights online platforms

Activists and web designers from seven countries attended a media hackathon to explore how to design engaging multi-media stories on migrants’ rights and border towns.