Accelerate 2013 - Breakout Panel B: Social Innovation Labs Lessons in Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration

Kelly Baxter and Saralyn Hodgkin facilitated this panel discussion with Monica Pohlmann, Joeri van den Steenhoven, Vanessa Timmer and Adam Kahane. The session opened with a harvest of questions the audience had about Social Innovation Labs, which the speakers then addressed during their presentations. The speakers generally defined a lab as a space for stakeholders in a complex challenge to come together and work on the issue until it is solved. Adam talked about how the 'space' is not just physical, it is also political and psycho-social; it is held both to protect the actors from the outside world so they can take risks and try new things, as well to maintain a certain pressure on the work. It is to be distinguished from a meeting to generate ideas, a consulting process, or a project, and that it should be systemic, participative and creative. Joeri discussed the need to balance power, passion and process in a lab space, and to get systems change you need the interrelated processes of solutions development, capacity building of people, and change in the discourse around public policy. Vanessa talked about how a detailed mapping of the system is often an important part of lab work, as is helps to find the solutions and gaps in the system. Monica talked about ‘Collaborative Innovative Intelligence’ and the process that the United Way of Calgary’s Leading Boldly Network is using for Collaborative Social Innovation. There are questions around bringing all necessary stakeholders together, balancing dynamics, and holding the space until the problem is solved or a new way forward has been implemented.