Unique in the field of societal issues
An action-oriented think tank
The Swiss Society Lab is Switzerland’s think tank for societal issues. As an action-oriented think tank, it is network-based and promotes action. It analyzes issues of relevance to society, also from an economic perspective.
On a commission basis, the Swiss Society Lab supports associations and other stakeholders in civil society, politics and business in the interdisciplinary analysis of social issues where responsibilities overlap.
It leads the in-depth reflection that is necessary to understand complex issues, thereby remaining strictly independent and fact-based. To that end, it creates a network of ideas and expertise, takes into account the cultural diversity of our country, and benefits from international input.
Switzerland has little tradition of think tanks.
Switzerland has little experience with think tanks focusing on social issues, which could partly be explained by the typical Swiss political system of concordance
Under this system, efforts are made to include all important political currents in the decision-making process. In our system of government, it is therefore rare to see the back and forth between government and opposition that is common in most democracies. Instead, all major parties are represented in the government. Furthermore, there is a certain skepticism in Switzerland about the neutrality and independence of think tanks.
How the Swiss Society Lab is positioning itself
For the reasons outlined above, the Swiss Society Lab must and wants to fit into the system. This is why it takes a neutral position with respect to party politics and remains independent of any lobbying or interest groups.
The Swiss Society Lab will be supported by foundations that focus on civil society. Their support is needed to fund the launch of the Lab and its development phase, and subsequently to provide basic funding. In addition, commissions will make it possible to expand during the consolidation phase.
An advisory board, which is currently being assembled, will provide substantive and strategic support. Membership on the board will be strictly limited to individuals who support and promote the Lab’s neutrality, balance and independence: members of various parties, representatives of the three political levels, and foundations. Intellectuals and representatives of civil society will participate as well.
Our specialty: transversal thinking and process support from A (analysis) to P (policy)
Societal issues are almost always cross-sectoral in nature. They usually concern several different policy areas, such as social services, education, health care, integration, gender equality and tax systems. Responsibility for these issues is distributed among three political levels: the federal government and administration, the 26 cantons, and cities and communities. In our multicultural and multilingual country, it is also imperative to consider regional differences, which manifest themselves notably in societal issues.
Research and reflection at multiple levels
Societal issues call for inter- and multidisciplinary analyses. This means looking at a topic as a whole and analyzing its various components and possible interactions with a host of other topics.
It requires transversal thinking and access to a broad range of skills, including the ability to reflect on issues from a political and economic perspective.
Cooperation and dialogue with researchers, experts and representatives of the political and business communities are indispensable for identifying the neutral approaches that are necessary to pursue sound policies for overcoming social divisions.
The Swiss Society Lab acts as a facilitator and influencer. It encompasses the entire process of reflection, beginning with the formulation of a hypothesis and ending by offering a basis on which political decision makers can conduct their discussions.