Mission Action Lab


The OECD Mission Action Lab is a joint initiative of the OECD Directorate for Science, Technology and Innovation, the Observatory of Public Sector Innovation (OPSI) of the OECD Directorate for Public Governance, and the OECD Development Co-Operation Directorate. Bringing diverse sets of international expertise and focus areas, we work with policymakers to establish and operationalise missions in real world contexts. 

The OECD Mission Action Lab takes an action research approach by collaborating directly with policymakers and public administrators to design, refine, implement, and govern mission-oriented policy. 

By working in close collaboration with policy teams to provide tailored, strategic and tactical advice, the Lab helps countries overcome challenges that prevent them from getting started or meaningfully staying on course with their missions. In turn, the Lab seeks to leverage this project work to build the broader evidence base and develop guidance on how governments can best implement mission-oriented approaches to public policy. 

The OECD Mission Action Lab works directly with policymakers and practitioners at any stage of their mission. We are especially interested in projects that fall into its three core research areas: the governance of missions, mission portfolio management, and the monitoring and evaluation of missions. Under these areas, the Lab investigates specific research questions through action research projects with partner countries and institutions. 

The Lab uses a variety of methods in various combinations in its provision of tailored strategic and tactical advice. Our various supports include: 

  • Analysis of framework conditions for mission-orientated approaches at inter- and intra-organisational levels 
  • System scanning to identify existing policies implicated in the implementation of mission-oriented policy 
  • Mission diagnostics, which combine surveys and focus group discussions to inform mission steering 
  • Subject matter and context-specific research in collaboration with academic and institutional partners 
  • Capacity-building for mission-oriented innovation, such as boot camps to convey core concepts for mission implementation 
  • Stakeholder engagement methods to gain commitment from relevant partners and leaders 
  • Legitimacy-building exercises, such as convening expert networks and peer learning forums with senior leaders, civil society organisations, and citizens 
  • Guidance for design of mission governance and coordination methods, project portfolio management, or monitoring and evaluation 
  • Learning sessions and peer exchanges to inspire and raise ambitions based on other mission-oriented policy examples 
  • Analysis of state capabilities, donor landscape and innovation ecosystems to assess mission readiness in low and middle-income countries 

We work with policymakers and teams across the world, in both OECD member and non-member countries, who are working with or intend to adopt mission-oriented approaches. This includes partners from national and local governments, development cooperation providers and non-governmental organisations involved in mission implementation. 

Collaborators may be at different stages in relation to their experience with mission-oriented policy: some may need assistance assessing its suitability for their identified challenge, whereas others may already be well underway and are seeking support with aspects of its governance, implementation, or scale. The Lab works with policymakers at all stages with a focus on those actively implementing missions.

The OECD Mission Community of Practice, supported by the European Commission, connects over 250 different policymakers and mission practitioners around missions and mission-oriented approaches to promote knowledge exchange, discuss tools and methods, and gain insights into the latest OECD work on missions. The themes explored in the Community range from core mission elements – such as mission governance, mission monitoring and evaluation, and mission portfolio management – to context-dependent applications like missions for climate mitigation and emerging mission practice in low- and middle-income countries. Monthly gatherings will explore these different facets of missions as well as allow Community members to share their own insights and expertise and contribute to shaping the research of the Mission Action Lab. 

To apply to join the OECD Mission Community of Practice, please fill out this short interest form.