In the face of complex and multifaceted challenges, the reflection necessary to formulate new questions has increased our desire to learn; and the licence we have as a laboratory to experiment with innovative solutions has given us courage and freedom. But above all, the broad consensus surrounding Arantzazulab, the support of public and private entities has granted us legitimacy and strong support in our formative steps.

Strategic framework

What do we do? Arantzazu serves as a catalyst for Social Innovation. We support and facilitate actions that promote the creation of new knowledge and new ways of doing things. The social innovation that we promote is centred on governance innovation.

Collaborative governance is based on building new types of relationships and collaboration between governments and civil society to tackle a new public agenda. Through this approach we promote the participation and empowerment of people in the public agenda. Understanding the needs of Basque society, we tackle social challenges through community involvement and collaboration between different stakeholders.

As such, our 4 strategic pillars are: Collaborative Governance; Activation of the ecosystem; Openness and internationalisation; Research, training and delivering new knowledge to society.

What is our end goal? To become a reference node in social innovation and a collaborative space for people to achieve a fairer, more cohesive, prosperous, and humane society.

How will we do this? Through these three main activities: Research, Experimentation, and Dissemination.



  • Connect and promote collaboration
  • Developmental Evaluation & Developmental Communication
  • Collaborative governance
  • New financial models
  • Manage the Arantzazu ecosystem and share heritage

Research & Learning

Research and reflection play an important role in Arantzazulab. Today more than ever, in these times of great upheaval and change, we must interpret the many events and challenges taking place in our society and the wider world, investigate their impact, and develop new insights into potential solutions.

Significant research projects:

1. Collaborative research space: another way of doing research

Arantzazulab offers universities and knowledge stakeholders in the region another approach to research. This is why we have created an innovative and collaborative research space to generate new knowledge. More than simply the sum of individual research from each of our partner universities, the added value of Arantzazulab lies in collaborative reflection and research to provide a collective response.

Priority Research Areas: (2021-22): Democracy and Collaborative Governance (Basic Research and Applied Research)

Universities: UPV/EHU, University of Deusto, Mondragon Unibertsitatea.

2. Thinkers in Residence

Arantzazulab is seeking international researchers and professionals who are experts in our field to help us further develop new knowledge. Programme participants develop research here, incorporate their knowledge into the region, and connect the laboratory with the global network of professionals. During our first year, the "Advanced Community Development and Transformative Governance Projects" project was launched, in which an international researcher is researching and gathering advanced experiences.

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3. Territory Map in Collaborative Governance

This project "draws a map of the institutions and projects that promote collaborative governance in Gipuzkoa. This will ensure an in-depth understanding of their trajectory and activity and establish the basis of their networking process". The end goal is to extend collaborative governance and build a learning ecosystem and a community of innovative practices. Interviews will be held with all public institutions in Gipuzkoa and with key members of our network of stakeholders. The Territory Mapping project is led by Arantzazulab and falls under the umbrella of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa’s Etorkizuna Eraikiz strategy.




Arantzazulab is a laboratory of social innovation, and as such experimentation plays an important role in our activity. We define experimentation as "promoting and facilitating actions to develop new knowledge and new ways of doing things". Here is a sample of some initiatives which showcase innovative experimentation and transformative vision:



1. Putting Collaborative Governance into Practice: Representative Deliberative Process in Tolosa

In collaboration with the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), Arantzazulab has implemented innovative processes of community participation using deliberative democracy as a tool. In Tolosa we have initiated a process of public deliberation with randomly selected members of the community (civic lottery, informed debate, recommendation/influence). We are experimenting on a small scale to learn, generate and disseminate knowledge, and to determine the conditions for institutionalising representative deliberative processes in our region.


2. Practice in Collaborative Governance: Gipuzkoa Citizens' Assembly

The Gipuzkoa Citizens' Assembly is a process of public deliberation which highlights the role of the rural sector in tackling climate change. Based on deliberative democracy, this is an innovative community participation process aimed at implementing new models of governance and involving people in the dialogue on Ecological Transition.

The main promoters of this project are Arantzazulab and TMeLab (member of the advisory board of Arantzazulab), with the support of the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa.

3. Activating the co-creation ecosystem of the Basque Country

What is the co-creation ecosystem promoted by Arantzazulab?

It is a space for learning, joint action, and experimentation with a double objective: (1) connect spaces for co-creation, knowledge, and stakeholders in the Basque Country, and (2) activate spaces for experimentation to encourage creativity and generate new knowledge.


4. Other Experimentation projects

  • Contributing to the Deep Demo project led by the Provincial Council of Gipuzkoa and participating in the Coordination Group.
  • Participating in the 4th commitment group of the Open Government Partnership (OGP) Euskadi.
  • Organising weekly challenges for university students.
  • Participating in the expert group Monitoring Evaluation Learning guidelines (EIT Climate-KIC).


The Dissemination activity aims to socialise the knowledge developed through Research and Experimentation, to deepen the understanding of social challenges, disseminate the new knowledge generated, and transfer it to society.


Key Dissemination Initiatives:

  • Training programmes in various bachelor and master's degrees; and working sessions.
  • Design and coordination of the Erasmus+ executive training programme in social innovation together with four European universities: VID in Oslo, the German universities of Heilderberg and Trier, and the Agirre Lehendakaria Center of the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU).
  • Presentations in different forums, conferences, and congresses.