Page 1

Lab Cycle Diagrams

The first cycle of Grove3547 ran for a four month period. This period is what we call “one cycle” or a Minimum Viable Lab. While very short, this allows enough time to demonstrate the process and generate value within the system. This diagram shows the birds-eye-view breakdown of activities over the four month period including specific workshops each month and then the monthly sprints where prototyping teams are working independently to test out the latest versions of the prototypes.

The repeating cycles of a lab look something like this:

This is a full, detailed timeline of one cycle including preconditions:


The end
The end

Preconditions Phase

The “preconditions” for a social lab include a number of pre-requisite ingredients that need to be present to allow for the possibility of success. When launching or building the foundation for a social lab, the beginning is of utmost importance. The ideas, people, power structures, institutions, and relationships that constitute the founding moment of a lab will often determine to a large extent the success or failure of the outcomes of the lab itself.

Preconditions are, if you like, a little like pulling together everything you need in order to start an expedition. Starting an expedition without each of these preconditions in place risks failure. Forgetting to take enough water or to take a readily available map represent a type of failure that can easily be avoided.

Finally, preconditions should not be confused for a “strategy” – they are literally preconditions for your strategy.

In a social lab, among the outputs of the preconditions phase are the following:

  • Challenge – can we clearly state what the challenge is that we want to address?
  • Do we have the necessary Resources to start work?
  • Do we have the right People (in terms of either skills or representation) on board?
  • Strategic Direction – our best guess as to what might address the challenge we wish to address? Preconditions represent a starting-point and not an end point.
The end

Dialogue Interviews

Dialogue Interviews are a part of the sensing phase of the Preconditions for the Lab. They allow for a deeper understanding of the context and systemic dynamics of the social challenge at hand. They allow for a building of trust between key players in the system and the lab team, as well as an immersion in the unique perspectives of those with the most experience with the local context.


The Guide to Dialogue Interviews gives the interviewer and the scribe an outline of how they can organize themselves in preparation, during and after the dialogue interview process. For more information on Dialogue Interviews read the Dialogue interview handout, below.



The Dialogue Interview Handout provides details of the theory behind dialogue interviews along with more information on setting up and running the interviews. If you would like a shorter handout with just the interview protocol you can down load the Guide to Dialogue Interviews, above.



The Dialogue Interview Self Assessment is a form that participants completed before and after the Dialogue Interview Training session. It asks them to self assess their level of experience in relation to listening and scribing. Participants completed the form at the start of the session and then revisited their answers after the training to see if their self-assessment had changed.



The Dialogue Interview Training Agenda shows the facilitators agenda/outline for a training session for individuals interested in conducting Dialogue Interviews. The training is a one-day session where the outcomes for participants are:

  • Understand the rationale and method of Dialogue Interviews
  • Practice each role – Interviewee, Interviewer, and Scribe
  • Have a grounded self assessment of their ability to conduct Dialogue Interviews


The end

Diverging Chicago Research

Diverging Chicago is a series of graphs produced from statistical data which compare a number of social indicators in Chicago. They represent one view of the city and give some grounding to the Grove3547 challenge. While they do not represent individual views or experiences, they are an aggregate view of what is going on systemically during a specific period of time in the region. This kind of research can help clarify intentions for, and support the case for doing a social lab.



The end
The end
The end
The end

Lost Youth Report

University of Illinois at Chicago produced Lost: The Crisis Of Jobless and Out Of School Teens and Young Adults In Chicago, Illinois and the U.S. This report was instrumental in highlighting much of the current situation in Chicago and helped to frame the preconditions work for Grove3547.

The end