What was the Loneliness Lab Sprint?

A design sprint is a way of finding good ideas by quickly building out your ideas and getting them out into the real world. 

The Loneliness Lab had 20 slots open for designers, web developers, government workers, planners, and people who experience loneliness to meet and reshape urban spaces to combat loneliness.


Sprints need all kinds of people to make them work.

Whether you're a designer, an urban planner, an architect, a creative, a developer, or just passionate about making neigbourhoods in London less lonely, we need you.


What was involved?

11-18th October

As a sprint participant you will be working intensively to design, build and test ideas through a rapid innovation process.

You’ll be working with other participants who share your passion for loneliness, these will be a mix of experts in design and innovation, creatives, community members and representatives from NGOs, property companies, urban design and local authorities.

It promises to be one of the most action packed and memorable weeks of work, making a difference but having a lot of fun in the process. You’ll be working off-site for the duration of the sprint on activities ranging from visiting social enterprises and community representatives and learning about how they tackle loneliness and building rapid prototypes and testing ideas out in the real world.

You’ll have an opportunity to share your progress and learnings with senior leaders on the final day. You’ll be supported through the whole process and trained in collaboration and innovation methods.

October 2018 - April 2019

The aim of the sprint is to generate 2-3 ideas to tackle loneliness that we can pilot over the next six - twelve months. We’ll be looking for a handful of the sprint participants to work on these pilots. There is no requirement that you stay involved long term, but this is an excellent opportunity to work on a collaborative project tackling loneliness in real communities in London.

Who are we looking for?

We have twenty places available for participants who are:

  • Passionate about tackling loneliness and want to make a real difference to the agenda

  • Available 11-18th October inclusive. You don’t have to be involved in the project after this time, but an interest in long term collaboration is a bonus

  • Looking for an opportunity to build your leadership, innovation and collaboration skills and to work with people from a diverse mix of organisations, sectors and backgrounds who also share your passion for tackling loneliness

  • Able to bring something unique and useful to our Sprint team. We understand everyone will have different skills to bring, so we only ask that one of the following applies to you:

    • Design, innovation and creative skills - e.g. you know what it takes to make ideas happen quickly and can bring tangible skills like graphic design, service design, filmaking, writing or idea generating to the table.

    • Expertise on loneliness and isolation - e.g. you work at a charity, community organisation, health organisation or social enterprise tackling loneliness, or you are a researcher with a special focus on this.

    • Expertise on placemaking and/or the built environment - e.g. you work in urban planning, development or architecture, or for a local authority, or NGO that specialises in place.

    • Lived experience of loneliness and/or isolation - e.g. you are currently lonely, or have previously experienced loneliness, and want to help others like you to be more connected

What are the key dates?

  • 17th August - Application deadline

  • 24th August - Successful participants notified

  • 11th - 18th October - Sprint dates - keep them free

  • 22nd October - Pitching - Lunch and an afternoon to pitch back your ideas.

NB: There will be an optional briefing session week commencing 24th September should you wish to meet other participants and hear more about the aims of the Sprint

Will I be paid?

If you are representing your organisation, for example you work for an NGO or local authority, then no. You will also need to get permission from your employer before applying.  

If you are not employed, or are self employed, we will pay an honorarium to cover your time and expenses. All participants will be given lunch and snacks for the duration of the Sprint.

Will I own my ideas?

The Lab will operate using open innovation principles, this means that all the content and ideas from the lab will be shared openly and will not be owned by any one participant or organisation.

If you are looking to launch your next business idea, this is not the process for you.

However, if you are looking to collaborate openly and are interested in getting funding and support for an idea, than this is. You will be invited to continue to collaborate on your idea beyond the sprint, should it be successful.


17th August
Application Deadline


24th August
Successful Participants Notified

11th-18th October

The Sprint