Asia 21 Action Lab

Initiated and led by Asia 21 alumni, the Asia 21 Action Lab seeks to fill the critical gap in the support ecosystem for social impact organizations in Asia by leveraging the Asia 21 network. The Action Lab is designed to leverage the skills of the network to enable access to new ideas and resources, foster deep and sustained collaboration and support fellow Asia 21 Young Leaders to scale their organizational impact and work toward meaningful change.  

Mission: Support organizations founded or led by Asia 21 Young Leaders, in order to rapidly accelerate their growth and scale the impact of their work in addressing Asia’s most pressing issues.

Vision: An Asia 21 alumni-led program that systematically mobilizes Asia 21 network in-kind resources for selected Asia 21 organizations, through on-site workshops that establish enduring and active connections between alumni in support of organizational development

Key Features

Annual organization selection process: Each year a group of up to 5 high potential organizations founded or led by Asia 21 alumni are selected to participate in the Action Lab program via an online application process that is overseen by the Action Lab Steering Committee. Organizations are selected based on their ability to benefit from the program as well as their potential to create impactful change in the region. Applying organizations are evaluated on the following criteria:

  • Founded or led by an Asia 21 Fellow/Alumni
  • Clear mission statement and focus
  • Organizational challenges and kind of assistance sought is clearly defined
  • CEO/leader is willing to take on board external advice and support
  • Has achieved some level of organizational maturity, demonstrated by positive impact as of the time of application
  • Conducts activities that are innovative and sustainable over the long-term
  • Conducts activities characterized by specific and measurable impact that can be tracked over time
  • Conducts activities that meet the needs of a specific underprivileged group or community
  • Operations and impact have the potential to scale up significantly

There is no prescribed thematic focus areas for eligibility, nor a minimum length of time for which an organization must have been operating.

 Annual On-site Retreat: To commence the Action Lab program, a 4-day Retreat takes place annually at an easily accessible location within Asia, with up to 20 alumni participating in each cohort as both organizational representatives and mentors. The program consists of several focused workshops to dissect the challenges faced by each organization and explore ways the participants can work together and support one another to address them.

Mentors: The Asia 21 Network, made up of almost 900 young leaders, includes experts with diverse skill sets that can be harnessed to help organizations achieve their goals. Annually, Asia 21 alumni are invited to self-nominate to join a pool of Action Lab mentors on an entirely voluntary basis. Individual mentors will relevant skill sets and backgrounds from this volunteer pool are invited to join the Action Lab Retreat and program by the Steering Committee, based on the needs and focus areas of the organizations selected for that year’s cohort.

Steering Committee: The Action Lab program is overseen by a Steering Committee comprising a group of Asia 21 alumni acting as volunteers.

The Asia 21 Action Lab was made possible by the generous support from Ek Disha Foundation.