Frequently Asked Questions


Is the work you do different from Design Thinking?

Yes. We have a process called System AcupunctureWhile we do make use of Design Thinking approaches in our work, our methodology acknowledges and integrates both system-level and human-level perspectives to design platforms for behavior change. Our methodology is best suited for looking at scaled interventions and development of "platform plays" and multiple "intervention pathways" that can be combined synergistically. 

What do you mean by platform?

We think of platforms as tools that transform and produce outcomes beyond the scope of a challenge. We look in integrated ways at the causal chains that drive system behavior, to spot leverage points, and the key driving dynamics of a system. Since we look simultaneously at governance, infrastructure, technology, human behavior, human choice architecture, as well as business models and situational constraints, this allows us to avoid taking siloed approaches. Our goal is to design platforms aimed at tackling large-scale challenges.

What types of projects do you work on?

ChangeLabs works with partners to infuse multi-disciplinary innovation methodologies into processes aiming to resolve wicked problems. Below are some of the types of projects that benefit from our approach: 

  • REAL, SCALED AND OPEN-ENDED: Global challenges are ill-served by siloed thinking. We combine disparate fields and transcend disciplinary boundaries. The result is a new type of thinking and conceptual frames that can adequately respond to so-called “wicked” problems.     
  • OPEN TO MULTI-OUTCOME IMPACT: Our methodology produces robust strategies that drive impact on multiple fronts simultaneously. From the onset, we strive for alignment between economic, social, environmental and resilience dimensions.     
  • HUMAN-CENTERED: We use a sophisticated set of tools that draw from human-centered design, behavioral economics, and social psychology principles in order to understand and influence human behavior patterns.
What types of organizations do you work with? Do you only work with large companies?

We work with industry, governments, research institutions, philanthropic foundations, and think-tanks to create platforms for scaled transformations. We also work with start-ups from time to time. In general, we are continuously looking for partners who seek a fresh approach to complex social and environmental challenges; work at scale or are seeking to scale their impact; have the resources to implement new strategies that emerge from our process; and partners who value collaborative work. 

What is ChangeLabs' relationship with the

We teach an 8-week-long Stanford graduate class at the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design ( Graduate students from across Stanford’s seven schools – Business, Earth, Energy and Environmental Sciences, Education, Engineering, Humanities and Sciences, Law – apply for admission in a competitive selection process. Once a small cohort is selected, these students are placed into small teams to work on a real-world challenge with an industry partner for a full quarter. Previous class sponsors have included government agencies, technology companies, NGO’s, and start-ups, such as: Google, Ericsson, The New Zealand Ministry of Primary Industries, USAID, CreditDo, Mayo Clinic, The City of Miami, E.ON, and Facebook, among others. Visit the Learn Systems page to learn more about our classes on Systems Transformation.

I want to work for ChangeLabs. What types of people do you hire and how do I apply?

Wonderful! We're continuously looking for talent with the passion and drive to make real change in scaled and complex challenges. If you’re dedicated to this mission, contact us. We are unable to respond individually to all messages, but we'll get back to you soon, if we see a potential fit!