U.LAB at Impact Hub King's Cross

U.Lab is a programme from MITx that develops leadership skills, systemic thinking and collective action. 

Designed by the Presencing Institute, the U.Lab programme incorporates elements such as coaching circles, deep listening, mindfulness and other innovative tools with the aim of co-creating projects for societal change.

In 2016, Impact Hub King’s Cross offered a streamlined, local version of U.Lab: Leading From the Emerging Future to our members and community.

The idea was to understand how we can cultivate curiosity, compassion and courage in the face of prejudice, anger and fear, especially during periods of political instability. 

Reinventing democracy from the emerging future

We focused our U.Lab program on “Reinventing Democracy from the Emerging Future”.

We are living in unpredictable times. It is becoming clear that the established systems of Government and Democracy are struggling to adapt. And, with the rise of nationalistic politics, Brexit and social threats like terrorism and climate change, the ability to create dialogue is increasingly important.

Given these challenges numerous questions arose in these sessions such as:

  • How can democracy be reinvented so that everyone feels they have a stake in it and in society?
  • How can we create a (local, national, global) democracy in which people feel empowered, listened to and willing to participate?
  • How do we as changemakers make an impact on systems that feel outdated and stuck?

 U.Lab provides a framework for engaging with such questions through sensing and actualising emerging future possibilities rather than reacting to (and thereby perpetuating) the patterns of the past.

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52 members attended the program in 2015 and 2016

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67.2% of members came up with new ideas and initiatives

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49.3% found new opportunities through Impact Hub King’s Cross

Stories of the U.LAB in progress

The Alternative UK is a new political platform inviting everyone to start reimagining politics.

Launched in Spring 2017,  The Alternative UK was largely inspired by taking part in the global U.Lab Reinventing Democracy group hosted at Impact Hub King’s Cross.

We had been working on different related projects but everything came together when we took part in the real- time global U.Lab framed by the idea of new politics.

Having a solid framework and community who shared our views led us to launching the new platform.

We felt that Impact Hub King’s Cross was the perfect place to host our Alternative UK launch event o the back of U.Lab.

We wanted to create an event that felt radically different from the usual events surrounding politics, being fully participatory with art, music and food.

We worked with the Impact Hub King’s Cross team to push the boundaries of what had been done before, both at the beautiful venue and in terms of event itself.

Since the launch event we have been developing our network, finding partners and running lab sessions with community groups across London. We’ve now been drawn back to Impact Hub and King’s Cross because of the diverse communities both at the hub and in the area.

After starting at Impact Hub King’s Cross it feels natural to continue to work within the community, to develop a much better, more complex citizens culture by hosting labs, facilitating thought-provoking discussions and bringing together the hub’s community with the local communities.


You can find out more about the U.Lab programme here.

What's next?

The global U.Lab programme, reinventing democracy inspired the founding of a new political platform, The Alternative UK. Here is their story. 

Impact Hub King's Cross Events Illustration by Alaine Burns

110 attendees at the launch event for The Alternative UK

Impact Hub King's Cross Location Illustration by Alaine Burns

55% of members feel comfortable discussing ideas with other members

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54% of global members feel Impact Hub has helped them gain visibility and credibility 

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