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Lab Matters: Opening up Social Laboratories


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Social innovation labs are the latest vehicles for systemic change – for disrupting the way our cities, our schools, our welfare programs, even our economic systems run. But how do they really work? It is time to get beyond the hype and properly probe into the practices and underlying theories of social innovation laboratories. To make our assumptions explicit about how labs prompt systemic change. To critique its logic. To ultimately learn how labs could lead to better functioning systems. Which enable people to live ‘better’ lives, both now and in the future.

To make a first step in this learning curve, Kennisland and Hivos (with the support of the SIX network) hosted Lab2: a two-day lab on social innovation labs from the Americas, Europe, Africa, Oceania and Asia. This presentation shares the outcomes and ideas on how to move forward.

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Lab Matters: Opening up Social Laboratories

  1. 1. Lab Matters: Opening up Social Laboratories by Marlieke Kieboom Tuesday, November 12, 13
  2. 2. Once upon a time ... Marlieke Tuesday, November 12, 13 Remko
  3. 3. Kennisland small (18) NL/Europe International 115 mln independent smarter people better society large (342) 1,6 mln research experiment bring people together political lobby Hivos subsidies Own experiments Partner organisations societal challenges + do something education cultural heritage creative economy copyright social innovation public sector Tuesday, November 12, 13
  4. 4. Social challenges + do something ? C o m p l e x i t y wicked problems public systems social challenges social or cultural problems that are difficult to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, changing requirements and scattered problemholders typically offloaded to policy makers, or written off as being too cumbersome to bother with. time eg. climate change, obesity, migration, poverty, drug trafficking, financial crsisis, unemployment, aging source: Joeri van den Steenhoven / Marlieke Kieboom Tuesday, November 12, 13
  5. 5. Social challenges + do something ! Sarah Tuesday, November 12, 13 Chris Josine What the # are social labs?
  6. 6. The internet says... source: SIgeneration Text source: Tuesday, November 12, 13
  7. 7. traditional organisations vs lab source: Satsuko van Antwerp Tuesday, November 12, 13
  8. 8. Tech Lab vs Social Lab source: Tuesday, November 12, 13
  9. 9. popping up all over the world source: Satsuko van Antwerp / SIG Tuesday, November 12, 13
  10. 10. Easy to open up data (what) about the stuff you do... .. but not easy to open up organisations (how?) & people (who?) behind the data to learn from each others practice and discover interests (why?) (for whome?) Tuesday, November 12, 13
  11. 11. Let’s open up the lab’s black box Tuesday, November 12, 13
  12. 12. special ingredients to be open Rigor of the Content historical analysis Frances Westley Learning environmet where we share theoretical debate with whome we share live case studies how we share Read more on SSIreview S. Schulman Tuesday, November 12, 13 KL+Hivos +Lab Practitioners No funders present
  13. 13. Lab2: the Lab about Labs 20 labs do tank, SI lab, design lab, living lab, fab lab, tech lab, hub, hive, centre for innovation, change lab Issue focus: technical, environmental, economic, social 40 people Africa, East-Asia, South America, USA, Australia, Europe, multi-team: creative researchers, analytic thematic experts, strong stewardship ethnographers, show not tell designers attitude 20 wicked problems Tuesday, November 12, 13 well-being, education, environment, service design economy, public systems change health, research democratization, network poverty methodology dev. reduction, social tech, public sector innovation 0-15 yrs old methodologies: system thinking design thinking co-creation visualization prototyping feedback loops evualuation Funds: Diverse! Gates Foundation, Rockefeller, Hivos, Governments, Worldbank, Unicef work with ‘the system’: policy makers, service providers, end-users, politicians ?
  14. 14. Lab2: what do labs do enable families to thrive better education happy school supply chain: drop outs better toilets better child new auditing protection election functional waste system monitoring Tuesday, November 12, 13 help social start-ups
  15. 15. What did we learn? Lab struggles Lab Team anatomy Hire Lab environ ment Tuesday, November 12, 13 Scale EndMethodol Contracting Funding User ogy Manufactur Time ability Politics Systems Change
  16. 16. So.. what do we need more of? Cut the crap Humbleness Share your crap Courage unhype! You are not neutral Engage with each others crap Collective Learning Less crappy solutions Better processes Decision Making Structures Tuesday, November 12, 13 Policy Making Structures Evaluation collective buyin
  17. 17. We need more deep learning! ways to get involved ... Lab Matters A Lab of Labs reflect on practice of labs with the aim to arrive at new ideas to try out A report from Lab2, and why learning to reflect on our assumptions about how change happens has value, whether or not “lab” is in your title. 3 by Sarah Schulman a_lab_of_labs Lab Resources Tuesday, November 12, 13 by Marlieke Kieboom Upcoming @ Lab Ladders 2014? Kenya? Elevate our thinking on social innovation and encourage researchers to study the innovation field more critically from a political perspective by Marlieke Kieboom Upcoming @
  18. 18. Let’s open up Do labs help to solve complex problems? What would your organisations look like if it was a lab? What challenge areas do you see? Tuesday, November 12, 13
  19. 19. Thank You! Marlieke Kieboom Kennisland / Lab Resources Tuesday, November 12, 13