The Urban Innovation Lab is a platform developed by Education Cities, which has been inspired by the international innovation-lab model for development and implementation of innovative approaches in urban/municipal systems.
In the Innovation Lab, participants set out on a journey of learning and development of groundbreaking programs and attempt to implement them in the field. The lab enables participants (municipal officials, education people, business representatives, and others) to learn, design, and implement innovative solutions for the challenges they face. As a result, a support group forms in the lab, which is comprised of individuals with passion for a change and for a search for solutions, who are eager to learn in a network, by experience, and by sharing.
”Never doubt the ability of a small group of thoughtful committed citizens to change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” (Margaret Mead)
The work in the Lab throughout the year is accomplished in five stages which development has been inspired by the international design company IDEO:
Discover, Learn, Imagine, Fine-tune, Create. The number of meetings dedicated for each stage, changes and is unique for each lab. Following is the rationale of the five stages:
Discover and map the municipal challenges for which we will journey
Learning in three circles expands the limit of imagination and enables us to think about unanticipated ideas:
First circle – Learning from personal experience
Second circle – Learning from colleagues and from our close environment
Third circle – learning from global activity in this field
A successful and exciting learning quest empowers and establishes a sense of efficacy
If we wish to generate a new reality, we must first try to imagine it. An effective learning stage will result in an expansion of the familiar limit of imagination. Now we will be able to imagine a reality that does not exist at this time in the city or state. The goal of this stage is to generate depictions of possible future realities through generating original, fresh and sustainable ideas.
Fine-tuning entails processes of reduction and precision. In this stage, we turn the ideas raised in the previous stage into organized work programs including specifics such as resources, timetables, and limitations. Next, we choose the single program that optimally connects to the specific capabilities and inclinations, and matches the available resources.
To create is to transform a good idea into a reality. This stage is a spiral process that combines two central elements – trial and development. First, we trial-run the program within the framework of an “Island of Innovation,” a first experimentation in the “real world.” The results of experimenting in the Island of Innovation will be studied and the idea will be further developed. Next, the “Islands” will unite to form a network, which will eventually transform the municipality into an Education City.
The goal of online support Providing personal support to the Lab’s participants: In the first phase – supporting their learning process, and in the second phase: supporting the development of a groundbreaking initiative they promote in the city. Support is provided in two ways: Asynchronous support in Facebook and WhatsApp groups & Synchronous support by video conferencing, in-between meetings.