The Safety Lab was established in 2012 with a mandate from Western Cape Government to identify, develop and test innovative safety and security solutions. This reflects a ‘whole of society’ philosophy: solving complex problems requires cross-sector insights and commitment.

The Lab was designed as an ‘innovation hub’: operationally independent to experiment rapidly, cheaply and responsibly; and to navigate across government, private sector and civil society. We seek to establish ourselves as a creative, evidence-based and methodologically agnostic agency driving tangible social innovation in the context of safety and security.

At our core we manage a pipeline of ideas and localized research inquiries, a subset of which develop into projects. Our primary focus is on poorer areas, typically facing higher levels of violence but less able to mobilise community and private sector responses. The output of such projects are tangible ‘models’: designed and street-tested approaches to be operated potentially by the Lab itself; government departments and agencies; or other development or private sector partners.