Our approach

Putting relationships first
We aim to influence public policy and change the ways in which it is developed.

The Sydney Policy Lab is a true policy ‘laboratory’ – a space that brings together diverse perspectives and experimental methodologies to formulate, test and apply our policy hypotheses to real-world situations. We relish the opportunity to try out new ideas and new ways of being together to create sustained forms of civic dialogue. We aim to stand out for the collaborative and community-led nature of our work and for being a place that welcomes those who tend to be excluded. 

We work collaboratively with First Nations peoples and our work is informed by the rich forms of knowledge that have governed this land for thousands of years. In this and other ways, our work will take into account the everyday and historically-derived power imbalances that exist within our society.

This work is aided by the wide range of skills of our team members, who possess deep experience in community organising and community development, public policy creation and government relations.

Dr Kate Harrison Brennan, Director, Sydney Policy Lab
"We are in a moment in which our relationships with one another, our institutions and the planet are incredibly malleable and fast changing. At first glance, this might suggest that our solutions should be global and fast-paced. Let me propose the opposite. What is most urgently needed is the ability to work together at a human pace that allows the proper consideration of practical knowledge and the participation of a diversity of voices."
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How we work

We enable collaboration between communities, academics and government. The Lab has established a unique social infrastructure that builds coalitions and creates bridges between them and governments. Importantly, we help such coalitions improve their advocacy and achieve results. 

We apply the insights from these relationships and collaborations to solve community-based problems.  

Our mission is to build deep and sustained connections and collaborations between policymakers and communities, because co-creating solutions is the best way to solve complex problems.  

We value relationships and diverse forms of expertise. We bring people from different backgrounds and places together to reflect on common challenges, build trust across lines of difference, foster understanding, create knowledge, and solve policy problems. 

We incubate new ideas for the social good and assist communities to turn them into reality.

We avoid policy ‘quick fixes’ as they seldom work and ultimately waste even more valuable time. The relationships and collaborations needed for success take time to develop and grow in strength. This is why are purposeful about the pace at which we work, taking the necessary time to understand the full complexity and practical implications of everything we do. 

What we offer