Happy days

Jos and Wieteke, 19–08–2015, teamblog

Today at 7.30 AM we woke up to the sight of over 50 new Whatsapp messages from last night. Participants of our LabSprint had been working until 1.30 AM to finish distilling the themes from the stories they collected. A lot of photos, drawings and even summaries of the day for team mates that couldn’t make it to yesterday’s workshops.

We are extremely amazed by the ongoing energy that our teams have! Blogs about citizens, participants’ own reflections and the Feed Forward steps that we’re going through keep being submitted to Medium. Every inch of the mini theatre at the GoodLab is now filled with blogs and posters! Everybody is working hard.

During the past few days we encountered some interesting situations that challenged our own assumptions as well — not only our teams are learning a lot these days, but we are learning too!

  • A few team members told us for example after the first two days that they weren’t so sure about the directions of our project; what exactly would the stories that we collect mean during the rest of the LabSprint? And wouldn’t this just be another ethnographic research project, like many participants already experienced before? Luckily, after our theme distillation session from yesterday the pieces of our Feed Forward puzzle started to fall into place. This made us realise that we could’ve been more clear about the Feed Forward steps, but it also proves that participating in a LabSprint is not something theoretical — it is something that you have to experience in order to fully understand.
  • We knew that finding lonely elderly or homeless people wouldn’t be very easy. Luckily, and because of the great effort of both team members and local staff, participants were able to speak to many citizens. However, it proved to be quite difficult to speak to some of them for a second time, to check the stories we wrote. Because our both the homeless and the elderly cant’ be found somewhere inside most of the time, we mainly spoke to people in parks and in the streets. Hence, it could be hard to make appointments with them for a second talk, or to trace them the second day. This is something that we need to take into account in our next lab around such cases. Might there be an easier way to check our stories — both for participants as for the interviewees?
  • This made it hard to publish all the interview blogs quickly, because they couldn’t be checked easily. Naturally, this was sometimes frustrating. Team members put a lot of work in talking to people and blogging about them. If your story won’t be published, you might feel that you did all the work for nothing. When, after two days, we weren’t able to check the stories with the interviewees we decided to publish and to use the stories, as long as we made sure they were anonymised as much as possible.

Today we started with Feed Forward step 3: the collaborative evaluation and brainstorm to come up with ideas that could bridge the disconnects we found the last few days. We were very pleased that both Jade Lai (an advisor to the secretary of Work&Labour) and Joy from HK Citizen could join us today to answer questions about the role of the government in bringing about social change.

Jade Lai answers questions from the teams, while they listen carefully and take notes. Photo: Kennisland (licensed under a CC BY 4.0 attribution)

Next to the two cases, we added a 3rd team that generated ideas about ‘community building’, because this is an important topic here in Sham Shui Po. All teams generated a lot of different ideas — ranging from incremental to very radical, and from within the system to totally outside the existing system. Tomorrow we’ll continue our work and design and test prototypes on a few of this ideas. An exiting, but challenging step! Teams will go out on the streets again to test whether their ideas are appreciated — the story continues.

Tonight is a well deserved free night. However, before we go, we’ll leave you with these inspiring quotes ;-)

  1. [Whatsapp]

Rachel [1.31 AM]: ‘After reviewing all the interviews that our team has done, the housing & urban space is one of the themes that came up. We divided the theme into 4 parts, including urban renewal, housing, public space & temporary space. [followed by a 5 page summary and some pictures].

Gabriel [1.35 am]: ‘Got it. Don’t worry.’

Johnson [1.36 am]: ‘Get some sleep guys :-D!’

2. [Whatsapp]

Ghotane D [12.00]: [photo] ‘Dialogue with Ms. Jade Lai begins.’

Steph Lai [12.10]: ‘How I wish I could be there!!!!’

T [12.21]: ‘Me too!!!’

3. [Whatsapp]

Ghotane D [17.34]: [photo] ‘Ideas are ideas if they are not implemented! So, prototype your ideas, implement it…. & follow it!’

T [17.41]: ‘Well said! You guys rock!!’

4. [While presenting ideas]

Ghotane D: ‘Our idea is that we should design a training for citizens to become social workers. Everyone should go through a LabSprint!! We’ll organise it every two years so the team can come back to Hong Kong!’

Wieteke & Jos: ‘YEAH YEAH YEAH.’

Johnson, Rachel and Tom brainstorm on a homelessness theme. Photo: Kennisland (licensed under a CC BY 4.0 attribution)