About us


We are a Basque Social Innovation Lab that fosters community transformation processes through open, Social Innovation Platforms based on culture as a driver of change.

Our main goal is putting into practice the learnings from our research on systemic transformation, in order to address the most complex challenges that our society is facing today. The key differentiating element is the integration of culture, narratives and values from each community towards a holistic vision of Sustainable Human Development.

Our story

Agirre Lehendakaria Center (ALCk) is a Basque Social Innovation Lab established in 2013 by the University of the Basque Country (UPV/EHU) in partnership with AC4-Columbia University in New York. ALCk was created to better understand the Basque experience of socio-economic transformation from a multidisciplinary, systemic perspective.

Systemic Change: The K Factor

>>Our differential element is the K

K (Kultura in the Basque Language) = The system of beliefs and values that define us as a society —our origins, who we are, the way we think, what moves us and the reasons why. In short —it is our roots and all that has contributed to our world views.

Systemic Change

Our Theory of Change: Waves of Transformation

We work from deep immersion into each community —its behaviour and values— as the essential way to achieve better and more effective, integrated and viable pathways to the future. We design collaboratively, drawing from the collective intelligence of each cultural context while acting in a global and sustainable manner.

>>At first, the innovation waves are smaller. Then they begin to resonate deeper and higher through the listening process.

>>A transformation movement consists of many interconnected waves flowing in the same direction.

>>Shared narratives (the K factor) align the direction of transformation waves. Multi-layered portfolio that (1) works on 5 different layers for systemic change; (2) directly addresses the different levels of complexity of the K factor (3) interconnects all actions with each other.

—Community Actions

—Small and Mid Scale Initiatives

—Large Scale Initiatives

—New Public Services

—New Regulation Mechanisms

Collaborative Network

Social innovation requires new ways of working based on collaboration, co-creation and collective intelligence. For this reason, it is essential for ALCk to continuously develop a powerful global network with complimentary and diverse expertise. This constellation of partners forms a mutually beneficial learning engine as well as a platform for knowledge exchange.

Collaborative Network