What the heck is an Upswell Lab?
// By Jacqueline Brennan
A phrase you’ll hear a lot is that “we’re building Upswell from the ground up.” So, what (the heck!) does that mean? One thing that it definitely doesn’t mean is that we’re just winging it. Quite the opposite, in fact.
As a starting point, we have a wealth of information – from in-depth interviews, zany suggestions, detailed surveys, past experiences, research partners, and much more – about what folks really want from their Upswell experience.
But moving from concept to execution isn’t an instant process. We want to make sure that we’re getting each new element of the equation right. And we want to make sure we’re working with you and your fellow changemakers to build this thing.
In that spirit – and channeling equal parts careful strategy and mad science – we’ve created a series of Upswell Labs. Using human-centered design tools, each Lab aims to test and refine a new concept with an energetic and diverse group of changemakers. By way of example, we’ll explore things like workshop concepts, field trips, and issue relevance.
Here’s an important distinction though: there are no test subjects or guinea pigs in these Labs. At their heart is a firm belief that Upswell will be strongest if we create it together. Our ambition is that, when somebody asks who created Upswell, a huge crowd of changemakers will proudly raise their hands and exclaim, “I did!”
And there’s another thing worth noting. Changemakers – you and your colleagues – have limited bandwidth. Our goal is that at each Lab, you’re not just working to build something for later. We want you to walk away with new ideas, skills, and relationships that will matter immediately.
As each Lab happens, we’ll share the story – what we tested, who was there, and what we learned – so that you get a clear view of how Upswell is forming. The Labs are happening across the country, so we hope you’ll experiment with us!