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Towards an inclusive, trustworthy and holistic experimental governance framework in technology – what can it look like?


How can we make experimentation the norm when building policy in emerging tech?

Open Loop and Demos Helsinki reflect on past experimental governance initiatives, assess the ones being currently used, and imagine what a holistic, inclusive experimental governance framework for the regulation of emerging technologies could look like.


Reflect to reimagine

The nature and scope of changes and the impact emanating from emerging technologies, like AI and machine learning, can be difficult to shape, anticipate and identify.

And the same thing can be said about the downstream effects of laws and regulations governing those technologies. References to experimentation are already being made in national AI strategies and in calls for regulatory sandbox approaches to the deployment of emerging technologies.

Yet how can we more systematically harness the potential of experimentation – to test and assess impacts in the development and deployment of technology and regulation, but also to foster openness and mutual trust through an inclusive, holistic governance framework?

Reflection #1

What would it take for testing and experimenting to become a go-to regulatory approach in tech governance, embedded in the different stages of policy and lawmaking processes?

Reflection #2

How can governments, technology companies, academia and civil society start engaging collaboratively in experimenting with regulation in tech?

Reflection #3

How can experiments in building policy and regulation foster open, trustworthy and evidence-based policies for emerging technologies?

Together, we set out to explore what a more holistic approach to experimental governance in emerging technologies can look like. By learning from past and present experimental policy making initiatives and methodologies, we will also explore how such a framework can foster openness and trust.



Open Loop is a global strategic program that connects policymakers and technology companies to develop evidence-based governance frameworks based on policy experimentation.
Demos Helsinki is an independent think tank focused on governance innovation, and participatory and experimentalist policy-making. 

What we aim to achieve

The goal is to extrapolate actionable insights about the future of experimentalist policymaking for technology, and what roles and activities of different actors in it could look like. By drawing on key insights from past experimental legislation and policy initiatives, public sector innovation and
policy design; and by studying the current landscape of regulatory sandboxes and policy prototyping activities in the field of emerging technologies, our aim is to co-design a novel and holistic framework for experimental governance that bridges the gap and strengthens both policy and technology design.

The past, present and future of experimental governance in technology – a 3-part event series

We want to create a platform for joint reflection and open conversation about the past experiences, present applications and future use of policy and legal experimentation in the governance of emerging technologies.

The Past

Past experiences and historical context

What can we learn from historical examples of decision-making and governance around technology and socio-technical transitions?

How have experimental governance initiatives worked in the past, what can we learn from them, and how have they been used to foster openness and trust?

The Present

Insights from ongoing best practices

Where are we now and what are current experimental initiatives shaping the governance of emerging technologies?

What are the roles and responsibilities of different actors in experimental governance processes?

The Future

Imagining paths forward

How can we co-create a holistic experimental governance framework for emerging technologies that is embedded in the different stages of policy and lawmaking processes?

How can we reimagine the relationship between tech companies, governments, academia and civil society to enable and scale a more consistent and trustworthy experimental approach in the new and emerging tech realm?

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group-2 C E R T I F I C A T E 2
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How we are co-creating a holistic experimental governance framework

Our project consists of background research, a 3-part event series with accompanying pre-publications, and a final report, which will include a practice-led starter kit. All will be made available and be continuously developed through an interactive tool that we are calling the ‘living prototype’.
We hope that this effort will gather and grow a nascent community of public, private and societal stakeholders committed to studying and advancing the field of experimental policy-making.

The Living Prototype


Uncovering issue areas, starting learning to ask the right questions.

Background Research


The Past - Learning from history

Event & Pre-Publication


The Present – Current practices and needs

Event & Pre-Publication


The Future - Ideating holistic experimentalist governance and main opportunities

Event & Pre-Publication


Final Report

Practice-led starter toolkit, community roadmap and path forward

How it started

Exploratory desk and interview research with academics and practitioners in the domain of law, policy and technology.

The Living Prototype

Collaborative and interactive tool through which we will draft, iterate and publish the various project outputs.

Take me to the living prototype

Reach out to us directly

We acknowledge that we face many unanswered questions on how tech, law and policy interact and should be made to interact.
There are many ways to join this initiative and be an active part of it: as a partner, a panelist, an expert, a facilitator, as an attendant, or an observer – get in touch with us and join in.
This partnership, event series and resulting publications is a chance to address some of these questions, learn together to develop new points of view, and to reflect where we stand. To learn together from the past, discuss the present, and plant the seeds for a future governance framework that, based on experimental approaches, can produce more robust, trustworthy  and evidence-based regulatory solutions.
Our project consists of background research, including desk research and user-research-driven interview conversations, a 3-part event series throughout which we want to co-create and work collaboratively on our proposal and build community, including a number of resulting publications, including a practice-led starter kit. All will be made available and be continuously developed throughout the initiative as a ‘living prototype’.