Gaining deep leverage? Reflecting and shaping real-world lab impacts through leverage points

Research output: Journal contributionsScientific review articlesResearch


  • Niko Schäpke
  • Richard Beecroft
  • Matthias Wanner
  • Felix Wagner
  • Regina Rhodius
  • Pia Laborgne
  • Oliver Parodi

Real-world laboratories (RwLs) are gaining further traction as a means to achieve systemic impacts towards sustainability transformation. To guide the analysis of intended impacts, we introduce the concept of leverage points, discerning where, how, and to what end RwLs intervene in systems. Building on conceptual reasoning, we further develop our argument by exploring two RwL cases. Examining RwLs through the lens of the leverage points opens the way for a balanced and comprehensive approach to systemic experimentation. We invite RwL researchers and practitioners to further advance RwLs' transformative capacity by targeting the design and emerging direction of a system, contributing to a culture of sustainability.

Original languageEnglish
JournalGAIA - Ecological Perspectives for Science and Society
Issue numberSupplement 1
Pages (from-to)116-124
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 16.03.2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 by the authors.

    Research areas

  • impact assessment, real-world experiments, sustainability science, sustainability transformation, transdisciplinarity, urban transformation
  • Sustainability Governance