We research how people across the world use the internet for good

Our thesis: the internet can be more than just chatting, shopping and porn!

Because across the world, people also use the internet to solve social problems. But because nobody quite knows how best to employ digital tools to improve the world, we travel there to take a look. Around the world with backpacks and notebooks, to look over the shoulders of aid organisations, activists and social entrepreneurs – from Japan to Turkey to Mexico.

In 2017 we will travel to five countries on four continents. We’d like to know, why relatively fewer women than men benefit from internet, digitization, and digital innovations.

In 2014 we set off for the first time and visited China, Indonesia, India, Israel, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Ghana, Senegal, Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica and the USA. In 2015, we complemented our results through research trips to Estonia, Turkey, Egypt, South Africa, Thailand, Indonesia and Mexico.


Combined impressions from the Lab around the World 2015


For our efforts, we were rewarded with some bizarre discoveries, such as: in Thailand children play out disaster scenarios on their mobile phones; in Egypt, citizens monitor government expenditure; and in Japan, a sensor keeps an eye on bladder levels.



Who was on the road

Dennis Buchmann
Dennis Buchmann
reported from Japan

Medje Prahm
Medje Prahm
reported from Estonia
Kathleen Ziemann
Kathleen Ziemann
reported from Tailand

Joana Breidenbach
Joana Breidenbach
reported from Egypt
and India

Franziska Kreische

Franziska Kreische
reported from South Africa


Moritz Eckert
reported from Turkey
and Ethiopia


Carolin Silbernagl
will report from Indonesia


Anja Adler
will report from Brazil


Manuella Cunha Brito
will report from Brazil

What we found out

There is a mood of optimism amongst many of the world-improvers we visited. Optimism about a time in which the internet is not just used for banal consumption, and mobile telecommunications not just for trivial chatter. But rather also to involve more people in democratic processes, for example, to bring aid supplies more efficiently from A to B, or to educate children via a cool smartphone app.

In our brochure, you can find a detailed country-by-country analysis and a handful of hypotheses on why digital-social innovation works better in some countries than in others:

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