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The Burnes Center undertakes its own global impact projects in collaboration with impact engine partners.

The Burnes Center enables institutions and individuals to work more effectively and legitimately, with a particular focus on new technologies and participatory approaches that can transform governance and strengthen democracy.


Burnes Center Projects

  • City Challenge – City of Oakland

    A City Challenge is a one-year public engagement project in which city officials work with residents to identify and implement resident-designed solutions to some of the city’s most pressing problems. The GovLab, and its partner project The Burnes Center for Social Change at Northeastern University, have run City Challenges in 13 cities. The Oakland City Challenge is a partnership between the City of Oakland, Mills College, the Oakland Fund for Public Innovation and the GovLab.

  • Smarter Crowdsourcing – Modernization of Congress

    Smarter Crowdsourcing is a method for running a policy design sprint that combines rigorous problem definition with crowdsourcing to attract diverse ideas from global experts and rapidly develop those ideas into actionable proposals. We have done Smarter Crowdsourcing with seven governments in Latin America to develop rapid COVID responses, with the Select Committee on the Modernization of Congress to develop strategies for more evidence-based lawmaking and many more.


The Equitable Engagement Lab @ Northeastern

Our Partner — The Equitable Engagement Lab @ Northeastern — works to improve Education Engagement and Equity

  • Equitable Engagement Lab Pilot

    With the support of the Walton Family Foundation, the Lab tests community engagement tools and practices with a cohort of 6 Walton grantees working in the K-12 education and youth engagement space. The pilot project involves working with this cohort to develop the value proposition for engagement and then design and execute their engagement strategies using open source platforms. The project will conclude by drawing insights and lessons learned for how to conduct equitable forms of insight generation at scale. The Equitable Education Engagement Lab will share the learnings from the pilot through a toolkit, a series of case studies and accompanying podcast episodes documenting the experiences of cohort members.

  • Equitable Education Lab Expansion

    After the conclusion of the pilot, the Burnes Center and the Equitable Education Engagement Lab plan to work with one or more philanthropic partners and K-12 cohorts to support ongoing use and expansion of equitable engagement tools and services to a larger ecosystem of institutions including and beyond education.

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