Frances Westley, Sean Geobey, Kirsten Robinson
In this paper the authors propose the creation of a Social Innovation Change Lab, what such a permanent process would entail and what it would aim to achieve. They discuss the multiple theoretical origins of Change or Design Labs, as the confluence of group dynamics and group psychology, complexity theory, design, and computer modelling and visual language.
Change Labs provide a physical and intellectual space designed to encourage and facilitate cooperation and the co-creation of meaningful and innovative solutions to complex problems. We discuss the previous and current use of Change or Design Labs, and the possibilities contained in recent and ongoing advancement of visualizing and modelling technologies, with an eye to how a social innovation-oriented Change Lab would fit a genuine need to develop novel solutions to complex problems.
Lisa Torjman, Manager, SiG@MaRS
Participatory, user-centric approaches to solving problems are gaining momentum as alternatives to traditional organizations. Among these approaches is the innovation Lab, a creative, multi-disciplinary environment that employs a proven and repeatable protocol to seek disruptive, potentially systems-tipping solutions.
Labs: Designing the Future examines the Lab’s roots in complexity, networked collaboration and design thinking. It shows how Labs focus on problem-solving in a highly experimental fashion within a neutral space. The paper offers a review of several Lab models in action around the world, highlighting the Lab’s role in addressing the complex challenges we collectively face in the 21st century.
Reos and SiG
On July 21-22, 2011, Reos facilitated a hand-on workshop to introduce the Change Lab approach to 110 social innovators. The participants worked through the lab process in 16 teams on 16 different complex social challenges.
Powering Collaborative Policy Innovation: Can Innovation Labs Help?
Helle Vibeke Carstensen & Christian Bason
Abstract: There is nothing inherently new in the idea of cross-cutting collaboration, 'joined-up government' and 'networked governance' (Pollitt, 2003; Hartley, 2005; Mulgan, 2009). However, in the last decade, new forms of internal units have been set up within public sector organisations with the explicit purpose of supporting innovation efforts. And in at least one case, such a unit has evolved into a permanent governance network – designed to foster cross- governmental innovation.
We start by discussing the underlying change logic of innovation labs. The article then examines the history, role and functioning of Denmark‟s MindLab, an innovation lab that today is part of the Ministries of Business & Growth, Taxation, and Employment. We emphasise how the development of MindLab over time reflects a typology of different generations of innovation labs. Finally, we reflect on potential future directions for platforms for collaborative innovation in the public sector.
A SiG Report on Mindlab
Allyson Hewitt, Director, Social Entrepreneurship at MaRS and Director, SiG@MaRS
The SiG collaborative was very pleased to welcome Christian Bason from Mindlab to Canada last year on a cross-country tour that saw him present on his Lab model to audiences in Toronto, Ottawa and Vancouver.You can see Christian's presentation on our 2011 Inspiring Action for Social Impact archive here. This March, Allyson Hewitt returned the favour, visiting Mindlab and speaking with their staff about SiG and our investigation of lab models for development here in Canada.
Backgrounder: Optimizing A Public Sector Innovation Platform
Tim Draimin, Executive Director, SiG National
Public sector innovation is a top-of-mind subject in government hallways across Canada. Innovation in the public sector has taken on new urgency as austerity budgets accelerate the necessity to re-think how government services can be re-thought or even how in some cases the system can shift from service delivery to tackling root causes that have given rise to the demand for services.
Ambitious public sector reform necessarily will range from new policies, to new ways of engaging with provincial and national innovation ecosystems, and to creating innovation Labs that support change makers inside government.
As John Kao says, innovation needs a home where the professional innovation discipline can enhance opportunities for new solutions to emerge as people meet, interact, experiment, ideate and prototype.
Design for Social Innovation
Today, social innovation is generating a constellation of small initiatives. Nevertheless, if favourable conditions are created, these small, local social inventions and their working prototypes can spread. They can be scaled-up, consolidated, replicated and integrated with larger programs to generate large-scale sustainable changes. To do that, new design competencies are needed. Indeed, social innovation processes require visions, strategies and co-design tools to move from ideas to mature solutions and viable programs. That is, they ask for new design capabilities that, as a whole, can be defined as design for social innovation.
DESIS is coordinated by Ezio Manzini and is an international network of schools of design and other design-related organisations specifically active in the field of design for social innovation and sustainability. DESIS is increasingly looking at the role of design in the lab process. We have listed 3 of their latest publications here.
Making things happen - Social Innovation and Design, by Ezio Manzini (April 2012)
Design Schools as agents of (sustainable) change, by Ezio Manzini (May 2011)
Building Community Connectivity
As part of his ongoing work in social innovation in Canada, SiG partner, Al Etmanski is often called upon to offer his latest thinking on where and how change happens. As part of Metro Vancouver's ongoing Sustainability series, Al spoke about building community connectivity. Metro Vancouver have kindly made the presentation available to us. This video was recorded on May 9th, 2012.
The Four Rooms: creating a learning ecology for systemic transformation
The Living Wholeness Institute
What does it mean to truly transform our systems – ourselves included – so that they are deeply sustainable, at all levels?
Our damage to the planet and to our humanity has led to unprecedented depletion of both our biosphere and ethnosphere. Yet, as we witness many of our human systems and institutions topple under revolution or struggle to stay relevant, we also see an explosion of innovation in sciences, technologies, social entrepreneurship and the emergence of new organizing patterns. People and communities are becoming conscious of the need for systemic change – not tinkering part of the system but transforming whole. We are realizing that we have to regain the responsibility for many aspects of our lives which we have outsourced to “experts.” So we are marshalling resources and are innovating to create new realities that are based on new forms of leadership and power sourced from within ourselves.
The Value of Creation
Our colleagues at SocialFinance.ca found this cool video and we thought it might help you visualize the design methods used in some Labs.
Labs we're checking out
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Sitra, Helsinki Design Lab
d.School at Stanford
Finance Innovation Lab
Society for Organizational Learning