在推出U形理論之後，研究的旅程進入共同創造原型的過程，創造出新的範例，以實際的行動探索未來。2014年二月的對話新訊息在此談一談社會實驗室這種針對複雜挑戰共同創造解決方案的做法。以下的文章摘錄自札伊德‧海森( Zaid Hassan)的著作《The Social Labs Revolution》(暫譯社會實驗室的革命)。
即使如此，這些特質在更深的層面來看，都是必要的。實驗室從不斷嘗試和失敗中尋找答案，在工作坊裡分享面對的最困難的挑戰、看著問題的本質，誠實面對 – 這些解決的方案並不是照著我們希望的方向走，而是有效的方案的模樣。如果不是「徹底」展現這些特質的方案，在解決社會挑戰時，就無法展現效能。
圖像作家: 李珮玉 Jayce Pei Yu Lee
Theory U’s Presencing stage is followed by a Co-creation stage of prototyping the new in living examples to explore the future by doing. This February 2014 dialogue newsletter highlights social laboratories as a multi-stakeholder dialogic approach for generating solutions to complex challenges. The following text is adapted from Zaid Hassan’s book “The Social Labs Revolution.”
Society uses laboratories to solve difficult scientific and technical challenges through experimentation; we likewise need social labs to explore socials solutions through experiments.
A growing number of people are focusing their heads, hearts and hands on addressing complex social challenges, and have been developing social labs for 20 years around the world. There are labs focused on the elimination of poverty, water sustainability, transformation of the media, government, climate, social innovation and many more issues.
Some specific examples of social labs are MIT’s Action Learning Labs which include a China Lab, Entrepreneurship Lab, Global Health Lab, Leadership Lab (see: http://mitsloan.mit.edu/actionlearning/labs/). The Sustainable Food Lab is another great example; it uses collaborative learning to incubate innovation at every stage along the supply chain from producing to distributing and selling food. You can watch a video about it at: http://youtu.be/O5wioQ5cKJo. These labs include people who are a blend of scientist, academic, activist, entrepreneur and other things that we don’t have names for yet, who are trying to address some of our most difficult challenges.
Social labs are platforms for addressing complex social issues and have 3 core characteristics:
- They are social. Social labs start by bringing together diverse participants to work in a team that acts collectively. They are drawn from across society’s different sectors: government, civil society and business. This active participation of diverse stakeholders, as opposed to teams of experts, represents the social nature of social labs.
- They are experimental. Social labs are not one-off experiences. They’re ongoing and sustained efforts. The team takes an iterative approach to the challenges it wants to address, prototyping interventions and managing a portfolio of promising solutions. This reflects the experimental nature of social labs, as opposed to the project-based nature of many social interventions.
- They are systemic. The ideas and initiatives developed in social labs and released as prototypes aspire to be systemic in nature. This means trying to come up with solutions that go beyond dealing with a part of the whole or symptoms of the problem, and instead address the root cause of why things are not working in the first place.
These characteristics are neither arbitrary nor convenient. Getting really diverse groups of people to simply step into a room together is hard, let alone trying to get them to act together. Taking an experimental approach requires not only discipline but also a degree of stability and commitment rare in a project-obsessed world. Addressing the root causes of challenges eschews easy and popular political wins in favor of longer time frames and greater uncertainty.
However each of these characteristics is deeply necessary. Laboratories produce conclusions gained through trial and error, workshops where many stakeholders shared their most agonizing and difficult challenges, integrity and honesty – they are not what we want solutions to look like, but what they actually look like when effective. Any intervention aiming to address social challenges that do not have these three characteristics “baked in” will be ineffective.
Our most ferocious challenge today is to avoid the reactionary tendency to go to war with our problems. The attractions of war, however, are that they’re glorious and heroic. War brings out something terrible and human within us, and we are drawn to it as a way out of having to focus on ourselves and our failures. The call to arms in the name of justice is most dangerous and seductive. From the Crusades to the war in Iraq, wars have been fought under the banner of a higher calling.
As our social challenges become more serious, we will find ourselves subject to new siren songs and the voices of new prophets calling us to fight new crusades.
Social labs represent the constitution of a new sphere of activity, a new space. The gathering together of people within this space represents the beginning of what can be thought of as an armistice, a suspension of the battle of the parts versus the whole. People come together, recognizing the truth that the cost of war is too high and that there is another way. Social labs are a place and way to explore the new future by iteratively creating it.
Image: “Theory U: Leading from the Future as it Emerges” by C. Otto Scharmer, 2007