Delivery of Rapid Action Lab
February - December 2018
Oxford, United Kingdom
Oxford City Council
The Oxford Early Years was an initiative bringing together parents, professionals, educators, local representatives and funders to work together and take action to address priority needs for children under 5 in Oxford.
See the Oxford Early Years website for a full picture of the process.
The Rapid Action Lab strategy gathers stakeholders from across a sector to develop different prototypes to address a given challenge, while building relationships and trust among these various organisations and people. The challenge statement we were working on was:
How can we work together in addressing priority needs for children 0-5 in Oxford?
This project had three different phases.
Phase 1: Preconditions and preparation
From February until May we worked on getting the necessary conditions in place for the first cycle of the Lab. This involved defining and clarifying the challenge statement which the Lab would centre around, inviting and enrolling a wide variety of participants and adequately preparing them for the process, and setting up the structures and systems for the running and management.
Phase 2: Lab cycle 1
The initial cycle of the Lab began in June and ran until September, which included 4 workshops, one a month. Each workshop supported the lab participants - who were a combination of childcare workers, public servants, parents - in developing a portfolio of different initiatives to address the challenge statement. Between the workshops the lab participants worked on testing and implementing their initiatives in the community.
Phase 3: Inter-cycle period
From October until December we ran the inter-cycle - or extension of cycle 1. The activity here was similiar to cycle 1, with more emphasis on supporting the lab participants between the workshops, as well as measuring and evaluating the impact of the initiatives and Lab overall.
My interest in this project
What was most exciting for me in this project was in figuring out how to meaningfully gather a wide range of people around an important challenge - and effectively create systemic change.
My role changed for each phase of the project.
From May until February my role as part of the delivery team was mostly concerning the communication material, creation and curation of supporting documents and resources, as well as facilitation of stakeholder gatherings to invite and engage participants for the Lab.
During this time my role was to design, coordinate and facilitate the workshops.
For the inter-cycle period my role was to lead the team of 7 Kaospilot student who worked to deliver this work. This involved team coordination, strategic direction, defining evaluation criteria, supporting the delivery team in their work and communication with partners and collaborators.
Over the course of the Lab 5 different prototypes were developed and implemented, at least 3 of which are still existing beyond the confines of the Lab. These sere different initiatives created for the families in the specified areas of Oxford.
Additionally relationships between the different people involved were created and strengthened during this process, new collaborations formed and a higher level of trust created.
For a full review of the results see the Lab Report.