We promote collaboration and iteration as central to developing new, workable solutions for the field of human rights.  

 

 

Projects cycle through three stages of development. The most viable projects go through additional iterations until they can be released and disseminated.

 

 

STEP ONE: Identify and break down human rights dilemmas into treatable problems 
 
Many of the recurring practical dilemmas for the human rights community—reducing inequality between Global South and Global North NGOs, or measuring the impact of human rights advocacy—are simply too broad to be addressed wholesale.  

Instead, the Lab carries out strategic research to identify the most concrete problems that make up the broad dilemma in question and to map existing initiatives that seek to address these concrete problems.

We share this research with scholars and practitioners from around the world who represent a variety of disciplines and trades and who participate in a critical workshop. The aim of the workshop is to produce a revised strategy paper that formulates discrete challenges for creative problem solving sessions.

As with all the Lab's products, the strategy paper ultimately becomes public. 

STEP TWO: Develop potential solutions for to the identified problems—prototypes, proposals and proofs

Having defined concrete challenges, we work in groups to resolve them. We do this in a series of short burst events rather than one fell swoop. We use different methodologies, including human-centered design methods, workshops to critique and calibrate existing initiatives, and tactical and strategic thinking sessions. 

Lab facilitators lead these innovation events. Potential beneficiaries collaborate with us so their feedback can be incorporated immediately. We focus on big ideas and on nuts and bolts. The result is a collection of proposed solutions that are specific, detailed, and ready to be hatched.

STEP THREE: Incubate prototypes to determine their viability. 

Members of our team assist participants of the event to turn the proposed solution into a detailed initiative. Some of our experts also take part in substantive aspects of this stage. The goal is to produce a useable tool for human rights practitioners, whether it is a process, an online tool, or a replicable method that is relevant to the challenge is question.

During this period, we apply a range of methodologies to build the project. These include project management, fundraising, pedagogy, design and communications tools.

 

 

By creating the conditions for collaborative problem solving, the Lab helps turn ideas into action.