The CityLAB is Berlin’s public innovation laboratory. At the interface of urban society, administration and science, we tap into the potential of digitalization to promote urban development geared towards the common good – we are practice and impact-oriented.
Our lab is designed as an open space and a point of contact for citizens and administrative employees interested in digitalization. It offers wide-ranging opportunities for developing ideas, prototyping and knowledge transfer. The CityLAB combines elements of a digital workshop, coworking, exhibition and event space to create a place where participation and innovation are conceptually combined.
The CityLAB is run by Technologiestiftung Berlin and funded by the Berlin Senate Chancellery.
What we do
Innovation in administration
We support employees of the Berlin administration as they pursue structured innovation processes, helping them to develop digital processes and products that focus on benefits for citizens. For example, we work with Berlin residents to test and improve online forms at our Digital Administration Workshop, teach methodological skills through our Service Agent Training Program, and support Berlin’s administration in renewing specialized IT processes through our Prototype Workshop. For an overview of our projects, see our project page. If you have an idea or request for a project you’d like us to get involved in, feel free to fill out our request form.
At the CityLAB, we develop digital applications and tools to shape the digitalization of Berlin in a way that benefits the community. Our best-known projects include the Gieß den Kiez app, the open source offering Digital Vereint, and the open IoT platform Stadtpuls. We strongly believe that the opportunities offered by digitalization can only be truly understood from a practical perspective. That’s why we regard all our digital projects as experiments that are primarily designed to enable learning. We describe the idea behind this approach in the article “Something to do with digitalization”.
Events and workshops
We run more than 100 public formats a year – ranging from small-scale, intense hands-on workshops to large-scale events involving several hundred participants (online, offline, and hybrid). The digitalization of Berlin concerns us all, which is why we invite everyone in the city to join in. Check our Events page to keep up to date.
Networking and dialog
As a platform and meeting space, we bring together actors from civil society, business, administration and academia. Our coworking space can be used for project work free of charge on request. We bring communities together in various networking formats – such as our meet-ups and our LabCamp. See our Join in page for details.
Our free exhibition features our own projects along with alternating projects from our partner network. See our Exhibition page to find out about current exhibits and opening hours – then come over and take a look at the CityLAB for yourself. If you’re interested in exhibiting your projects with us, get in touch with us at .
We also conduct externally funded research projects as part of interdisciplinary consortia. For example, the QTrees project is dedicated to developing an AI-powered forecasting system that identifies urban trees at risk from drought. The research project Freemove looks into the possibilities of using anonymized mobility data for the purpose of sustainable urban planning. On behalf of the Senate Chancellery, we’re also supporting the process for the participatory development of a new smart city strategy up until the end of 2022.
How we operate
We develop most of our projects by means of a structured process divided up into several phases. One project phase usually lasts no longer than three months and always ends up with a concrete outcome. In development, we’re guided by the principles of service design and we attach great importance to incorporating user perspectives of users at an early stage. We also draw on a wide range of agile, co-creative and user-centric methods. Our freely available manual “Public Design” describes our approach in detail.
One of the main goals of our projects is to teach the skills required for the development of good digital products to our partners in administration and urban society. This is why we attach great importance to open, collaborative work, always publishing source codes and documentation under an open license, for example.
What is important to us
We work for the common good: all our projects focus on added value for our city and its residents
For us, technology is not an end in itself: it is a means to creating a sustainable city that is worth living in
We aim to use the digital transformation to break down barriers and create new forms of social participation
We strongly believe that openness in innovation processes is not only good for our community, it also produces better results
We think cities should shape the digital transformation competently and responsibly, and we support public administration in doing this
We seek to include as many perspectives as possible in shaping the digital transformation, and as a team we pride ourselves on our diversity
What we don’t do
There’s an enormous demand for digitalization in Berlin, but unfortunately our capacities are limited. As a non-profit innovation lab, we focus on contributing our skills to the sustainable digitalization of the city in a way that is oriented towards the common good. The following services are explicitly not offered by the CityLAB – we hope you appreciate this.
- Services in the field of IT, software development and media production
- Standard market consulting services
- Financial support for external projects
- Organization of external events or conferences
- Provision of our premises for closed working meetings or meetings unrelated to our projects
- Regulatory activities on behalf of public administration
- Product presentations or other events with a promotional character