A research paper by a recent graduate of the Masters in Social Innovation programme at Cambridge Judge Business School is published by CERN.
A research paper on social innovation labs written by a recent graduate of the Masters of Studies in Social Innovation degree programme at Cambridge Judge Business School has been published in the CERN IdeaSquare Journal of Experimental Innovation.
Author Claudia Marcelloni was a member of the first class of
the MSt in Social Innovation, enrolling in 2016 and graduating in 2018, and the
published paper closely follows her thesis paper for her degree.
“(Social innovation) labs create a process that harvests the individual’s expertise and experience of being part of the system it aims to innovate,” the peer-reviewed journal article says. “In order for this process to take place…it is important to build a safe space for collaborating.”
This need not be a specifically designed physical space, “but
the space in which it is set up needs to give the sense that it is not
business-as-usual. It should be a space that invites learning and
experimentation. The space is created by using the 3T’s framework.”
On the three “T’s”, the paper says:
It is essential for social innovation labs to give
participants enough time to understand the system and the problem, given the
diversity of the stakeholders and the “wicked” nature of the difficult
issues tackled in such labs such as climate change, inequality and social
These include “dialogue interviews” to listen to
stakeholders in advance; “democracy of time” that gives each
participant equal time to express themselves to the group; and “learning
journeys” in which stakeholders visit parts of the supply hosted by small
farmers, fishermen and others directly affected.
One such tool to generate new ideas is known as “transformative
scenarios” that imagine the best and worst scenarios for that system in
the future, analysing what needs to happen for each result to unfold.
Claudia, a native of Brazil, is a Global Engagement Officer
in Geneva with CERN, the nuclear research organisation which operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world, with which she has been associated for 14 years.
The CERN IdeaSquare Journal of Experimental Innovation
seeks to “advance theoretical and
practical understanding and methodologies on how new knowledge turns into use
Claudia’s paper notes that there has been little published
academic material on social innovation labs, which emerged only in the early
2000s. Such labs engage diverse participants on a long-term basis to
collaborate in order to create and develop solutions to systemic challenges.
Based on documentation and interviews, Claudia’s paper focuses
on three different social innovation labs in different parts of the world: a
Sustainable Fashion Lab in Brazil, a Food Lab in South Africa that seeks sustainable
food chains, and an Oceans Lab in Central America and Africa that links people
around the world to preserve ocean ecosystems.
The research was supervised by Paul Tracey, Professor of Innovation & Organisation at Cambridge Judge Business School and Co-Director of the School’s Cambridge Centre for Social Innovation. A summary of the paper is posted on the Centre’s website.
“We are delighted that Claudia’s research has been published
by the journal at CERN, which shows how social innovation is being recognised
at the highest levels as an important force for solving some of the world’s
most intractable problems,” said Paul.
“The Masters in Social Innovation programme is only
three years old. Claudia’s paper is the first by a student at the programme to
be published in a peer-reviewed journal, and we’re sure it won’t be the last
given the quality of research being generated by our students.”