You are invited to join U. Lab, a free, global, online course, or MOOC, looking to develop skills around collaboration, co-production and thriving in the emergent future.


What is U.Lab?

U.Lab is a free MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) run by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and made available globally.  It blends e-learning (watching videos online and streamed live sessions) with face to face discussions in small groups.  It helps people to delivers results more aligned with our sense of our emerging future.  A few colleagues  participated in the trial run of U.Lab earlier this year (along with 28,000 other participants around the world!) and found it to be one of the most effective learning experiences we’ve ever had.   U.Lab strongly supports our approach to Public Services in Scotland:

  • It builds skills we need in working collaboratively and co-producing outcomes with others including those who use public services;
  • It is a highly participative approach – anyone can take part free of charge;
  • It builds on people’s and communities’ assets and strengths; and
  • It champions the use of improvement science.

U.Lab builds the quality of our awareness of ourselves and of the context we are working within.  Given the priority which the First Minister has given in the Programme for Government to increasing participation it is well aligned with our operating context right now.    Scottish-specific content will be available to participants with an interest in Scotland.

The story so far

Following a discussion within Scottish Government in May 2015, 180 people from all over Scotland joined an open event in Edinburgh on 1 June; and a further 280 participated in an open event on 3 July 2105.  We had around 200 people attend a final preparatory event on 1 September 2015.  There is growing enthusiasm and energy for the programme, which will be organised and facilitated by the Scottish Government, helping to create the conditions for people in communities and networks to take action on issues that matter to them.   You can catch up on the conversations generated on Twitter at #ulabscot and join us on Facebook.

You might also want to watch this short video from the 1st June 2015 event.

[vimeo 132187411 w=800 h=450]

So far, people are talking about using U.Lab to develop ideas such as health & social care, climate change, rural issues, food, tackling inequality, dementia, social justice, energy generation, children and young people, leading organisational change, and encouraging socially responsible economic and business models.

The opportunity and registration

There are 3 ways in which you can use U.Lab to help you in your own personal and professional development and in delivering your objectives:

  • Participate yourself in U.Lab.   It will require at least 3 hours per week of your time – much of it done online at times that suit you and some of it done in small groups (once per week).  Sign up for the MOOC on the Ed-X website. There is also a short video on how to register for the Scottish content.

[vimeo 132957808 w=800 h=600]

  • You can suggest to your stakeholders and networks (public, private, third and community sectors) that they also participate and work with you on issues of common concern.  For example, organisations who support people with disabilities to live independently are planning on using this to support and mobilise action across their community of interest;
  • You might want to take a further step and host a hub – a meeting place for participants to engage together in the live sessions and collaborate as they bring their ideas into action.


If you have any questions about U.Lab please contact Angie.Meffan-Main@gov.scot or Keira.Oliver@gov.scot

You may also enjoy reading some blogs about U.Lab 2015 on the U.Lab Scotland website.

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