A social lab's focus is on the deeper causes of a specific societal challenge. Lab is short for laboratory. In the same way that in the past physical labs were set up for tackling scientific and technical problems, right now social labs are needed to make new social and cultural discoveries.
In a social lab all stakeholders cooperate in finding solutions for a specific issue. Social labs are popular because they correspond to the wish among many to engage more on a system level.
Succesful social lab experiments lay the base for new policy, other ways of cooperating between stakeholders and follow-up experiments.