August 10, 2014
The struggle to solve local and global issues often appears to pitch large corporations and governments against activists, artists, workers and ordinary citizens. But what happens when these entities consciously join forces and share resources to create social change?
It’s happening more than you might think – in a growing phenomenon known as social labs. And Labcraft offers an intimate picture of this new and evolving landscape – where seemingly disparate stakeholders network and align as learning communities who collaborate for positive change.
Social innovation labs do what we expect laboratories to do – invent and experiment. But their ‘test tubes’ are real-world challenges. And as they explore new connections, new ideas, and new initiatives, they often generate new perspectives and promising solutions.
A fittingly collaborative effort in itself, Labcraft was written in a four-day “Book Sprint” by representatives from seven innovation labs from around the world. These practitioners share their stories, experiences and perspectives, and consider their commonalities and differences. They offer humble observations about their struggles and successes, and detail how they navigate their unique dilemmas and paradoxes.
From workspaces and funding to impact measurement and power dynamics, Labcraft explores what it takes to cultivate a nimble and responsive environment and gives a face to the poignant potential of these creative new collaborations.
Changemakers everywhere will be uplifted and inspired by this hopeful fascinating window into emerging frontiers of building a better world.
Hendrik Tiesinga is a curator, designer, and facilitator of multi-stakeholder innovation labs and networks. He is a co-founder of Natural Innovation, a social innovation agency. He is the editor, curator, and producer of the Labcraft book.
Hendrik was also a co-founder of the Finance Innovation Lab in London, convened in 2008 by WWF-UK and the Institute of Chartered Accountants. He has designed and facilitated complex multi-stakeholder projects across Europe, North America, and the Arab world, working with organizations and networks ranging from grassroots social entrepreneurs and artists to the European Commission, the Big 4 Audit Firms, Procter & Gamble, and Siemens.
Hendrik is also a doctoral researcher at Warwick Business School in the UK, and currently a visiting scholar at UC Berkeley. His research focuses on the practices and impacts of innovation labs in addressing complex social challenges.
Remko Berkhout works as a consultant and associate advisor for Hivos on strategy and innovation. He holds a Master of Science degree in Sociological Economics from the University of Rotterdam and spent the last 15 years supporting capacity and strategy development with NGOs in India, Bangladesh and Mozambique.
From 2009 to 2013, Remko worked with Hivos to lead knowledge initiatives that facilitated research and dialogue among activists, practitioners, and policymakers regarding the fast-changing nature and manifestation of civic action around the world. In that capacity, Remko has also been exploring alternative forms of knowledge production, including experiments with participatory action research, immersive learning, and alternative publication formats. Recently he’s been exploring the fertile middle ground between social innovation and international development to find and analyze new strategies for systemic change.