La 27e Région

La 27e Région
Case Study

“Transforming administrations requires not only new methods, but also new kinds of alliances able to generate radical reflexivity from within. That is what we call Friendly Hacking.” 

Stéphane Vincent, Director, La 27e Région

  • Leadership
  • Team
Location in government

Regional government

Where it is based

Paris, France

Mission statement

“La 27e Région explores new ways to improve the design and implementation of public policies. In partnership with the Regions, it implements programmes of action research, which mobilises methods from the humanities, design services and social innovation.”

Annual spend

£0.6 million (2013)1

Size of team


Example of impact

La 27e Région has helped to design more than 20 social innovation pilots across 9 French Regional Governments.

La 27e Région works with French Regional Governments to increase their capacity to innovate, helping them to tap into the potential of social innovation through working with citizens on the design and delivery of public services. To date, the team has launched 20 projects in nine different regions across France, and since 2003 has started to work with Central Government, counties and metropolitan areas.

What it does

The core aim of La 27e Région is to create a culture in French Regional Government that supports social innovation and enables civil servants to develop user-driven models. At the heart of the La 27e Région model is their Friendly Hacker methodology, designed to help challenge civil servants’ existing understandings of public services.

La 27e Région runs two programmes, Territoires en Résidences (The Residencies) and La Transfo (TheTransformation). In each Residency, La 27e Région deploys service designers, social researchers and urban planners to work with regional civil servants. Together they find new ways of developing projects through using ethnographic, co-design and prototyping methods. One Residency explored how to repurpose a disused railway station. It involved researchers and civil servants camping in the station for a week to get a better sense of the local community and to engage with how they were using and thinking about the site.

The Transformation programme, which is being piloted in four regions, builds on the insights and lessons generated from Residencies to create sustainable solutions and to explore the feasibility of the regional government creating its own social innovation lab.

Interesting features
  • Leadership: La 27e Région has developed strong ties with regional government. It receives £41,000 2 annually from the Association of French Regions (AFR), which ensures that La 27e Région’s work is aligned with government priorities and helps to foster buy-in from senior stakeholders. This provides useful leverage in overcoming regional barriers and difficulties.
  • Team: La 27e Région has a core team of seven employees with an additional 40 associates spread across France who are contracted to contribute specific expertise, including sociology, urban planning, design and social research. This networked staffing model helps the team adapt to shifting demand and maintains La 27e Région’s distinctiveness from other typical administrative bodies.


  1. Confirmed in email correspondence with Nesta, November 2013, conversion: (€) 0.822143 to £1, as exchange rate on 21/01/2013, taken from:
  2. Confirmed in email correspondence with Nesta, November 2013, conversion: (€) 0.822143 to £1, as exchange rate on 21/01/2013, taken from:

Photo credit: A group of civil servants working on the future implementation of their ‘in-house’ innovation lab as part of the Transformation programme. Image courtesy of La 27e Région, licensed under CC BY 2.0

This page was last updated on

Wednesday, July 9, 2014 - 20:14