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  • Unpicking Impact at LabWorks

    Unpicking Impact at LabWorks

    [reposted from IWF blog, viewable here]

    InWithForward was invited to speak on the Impact Panel at LabWorks 2015, hosted by Nesta in London UK. Labworks, now in it's fourth year, is a roving international gathering for practitioners working in innovation units in and alongside governments & non-profits (side note: I had the pleasure of co-hosting last year's gathering, Labs for Systems Change, in Toronto with Joeri of Solutions Lab!). The gathering is a place to learn from peers, make new connections, and share what is working and not working in the world of Labs, in order to further the practice of social innovation.

    The timing of the gathering was a challenge. Our team was in the final two weeks of the Burnaby prototype, which meant anticipation was high and there was a tonne to do on the ground. For example, it meant I would miss the Kudoz Badging Ceremony, our phase one wrap celebration where hosts, Ku-doers, family members, and agency staff were recognized for their achievements and we shared where we got to with the prototype. It also meant my return flight would touch down in Vancouver just-in-time for the Fifth Space demo day, meaning I could help out with set up and production on the day-of but would be less helpful in the lead up event management. Thus, I was torn about joining the gathering. But we decided it was worth it. So I hopped on a plane to meet up with the International lab community to share our work on "The Impact Imperative" Panel.

    The gathering itself was well organized and executed; however, I found myself anxious that the public conversation seemed to have not progressed much since this time last year. With so many inspiring practitioners from around the world in attendance, I was looking forward to moving beyond the standard meet & greet, in order to share and swap the actual work we’re all hard at work doing… the nitty gritty granular stuff. 

    Grateful for the insightful side chats, I was left wondering, how can we make the sides the main event at future gatherings? How can we use current work - like Kudoz and Fifth Space - as live case studies? And how can we have many more live case studies to sink our teeth into and spark critical debate? Given that this work is still so unproven, the more we ground it in tangible examples, the more we can understand where our philosophies diverge and converge and whether we are chasing the same outcomes. For, getting a handle on the wicked challenges we face requires a coordinated full court press.

    Below is the video and storybook up from my presentation, with thanks to Sarah, Jonas, and Yani for help in pulling everything together in record time! For the write up of my talk, check out the IWF post.

    - Satsuko

    We couldn't have slides so to accompany the talk we created this story book, which we handed out to the audience.

    Here is the video of the talk!