Our democracy is strongest when participation is high and everyone is included. Too often, though, we know that’s not the reality. The Possibility Lab is incubating four large-scale initiatives designed to tackle this challenge head on. Through this work, we are:

  1. piloting new community-engaged models for assessing and solving social problems, 
  2. challenging the status quo to find policies that help produce more of the things people need to thrive,
  3. exploring new ways for government to partner with communities in public policy decision-making, and 
  4. fostering innovation in government through pilot projects that test and evaluate promising new ideas.

Firsthand Framework for Policy Innovation​

The people closest to social problems are also closest to their solutions, and the policy process works best when policymakers, researchers, and those with lived experience work hand-in-hand.

The Firsthand Framework for Policy Innovation provides a systematic way to understand and compile the rich and nuanced narratives that come from direct experience, while also translating residents’ unique expertise into quantitative measures. These ‘Firsthand Indicators’ can then be used to identify, pilot, and evaluate reforms, ensuring that outcomes authentically represent community perspectives and priorities.

Featured Firsthand Framework Projects

Reimagining Public Safety in the City of Oakland

Evaluating New Approaches to Behavioral Health Crisis Response

Understanding Conditions of Success in Permanent Supportive Housing

Abundance Accelerator

In many ways, modern-day California is a state characterized by great economic abundance. And yet, far too many Californians struggle with economic insecurity and a lack of access to basic goods and services: stable shelter, healthy food, clean water, and affordable energy.

The Abundance Accelerator is leveraging research, innovation, and collaboration to advance policy solutions that promote abundance in California and beyond. Together with a growing network of partners, we’re building an ecosystem to design, pilot, and scale a “Fundamentals-First Policy Agenda” for the state of California. 

California Inclusive Engagement Initiative

The California Inclusive Engagement Initiative is a framework and policy laboratory that connects informed and inclusive public deliberation to decisions at the highest levels of state and local government. Through projects that are co-designed with public officials, grassroots leaders, and community partners, we are building a toolkit for civic engagement that can help us tackle our most pressing policy problems.


California 100 Innovation

From 2021-2023, California 100’s Innovation Team at the Possibility Lab brought together state and local governments, native tribes, researchers, community organizations, and California residents to source and pilot new ways of solving long-standing problems. The Lab continues to build on the work of California 100, by tackling some of our state’s biggest challenges and helping build momentum towards a better future.

You have bold new ideas to make the world better.

We have a team that can help turn your vision into reality.