Labcraft: A book review

After reading a research paper on “Transforming humanitarian practice in the United Nations” from the Oxford Refugee Studies Centre, and exchanging on Twitter with humanitarian aid workers involved in innovation labs at UNICEF and UNHCR, I stumbled upon LabcraftHow social labs cultivate change through innovation and collaboration, and downloaded it (for free).

A useful guide for existing or future innovation lab practitioners

This book is a great resource for anyone like me involved in government / public service innovation. It offers a combination of best practices, case studies and lessons learnt, and was written collaboratively in 4 days during a book sprint by a host of social change innovators and lab practitioners working in different countries across the globe.

In the spirit of design thinking, instead of another written book review, I decided to make and share a mindmap summary of the most striking lessons learnt from the book. While you may get a lot from the mindmap itself, nothing replaces the personal stories shared in the book by the innovation lab practitioners themselves, the successes AND the failures.

The book does fall a bit short of my expectations on the subject of how to convince the necessary partners – institutions, financial supporters and future co-workers – to establish a social or policy innovation lab in the first place. I guess getting to the bottom of this will require more research and talking to a couple of the co-authors of the book. But I’m grateful for anyone pointing me in the right direction as this is a topic I will be struggling with myself in the coming year – more to come on this later :-).

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