The Social Labs Revolution: A New Approach to Solving our Most Complex Challenges by Zaid HassanThe Social Labs Revolution: A New Approach to Solving our Most Complex Challenges by Zaid Hassan

The Social Labs Revolution: A New Approach to Solving our Most Complex Challenges

byZaid HassanForeword byJoi Ito

Paperback | February 3, 2014

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Current responses to our most pressing societal challenges—from poverty to ethnic conflict to climate change—are not working. These problems are incredibly dynamic and complex, involving an ever-shifting array of factors, actors, and circumstances. They demand a highly fluid and adaptive approach, yet we address them by devising fixed, long-term plans. Social labs, says Zaid Hassan, are a dramatically more effective response.

Social labs bring together a diverse a group of stakeholders—not to create yet another five-year plan but to develop a portfolio of prototype solutions, test those solutions in the real world, use the data to further refine them, and test them again. Hassan builds on a decade of experience—as well as drawing from cutting-edge research in complexity science, networking theory, and sociology—to explain the core principles and daily functioning of social labs, using examples of pioneering labs from around the world. He offers a new generation of problem solvers an effective, practical, and exciting new vision and guide.
Zaid Hassan is managing partner at the Oxford office of Reos Partners, an international organization dedicated to supporting and building capacity for innovative collective action in complex social systems. He has worked on many complex challenges all around the world, ranging from public health care to climate change to finance.
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Title:The Social Labs Revolution: A New Approach to Solving our Most Complex ChallengesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:208 pages, 8.5 × 5.56 × 0.53 inPublished:February 3, 2014Publisher:Berrett-koehlerLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1626560730

ISBN - 13:9781626560734

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from An engaging new approach exists! I bought the Social Labs Revolution: A New Approach to Solving our Most Complex Challenges to read in preparation for a course in Toronto with Zaid Hassan the author. The book offers insight to a new method of working with and processing complex social issues. The Social Labs Revolution book gives insights from Zaid's personal practice and social lab methodology on how to work with diverse teams in an intentionally emergent process of co-creating and learning by trying. An essential read and tool for governments, NGO's and businesses that need to come together to work on solving our most complex problems in neighbourhoods, cities and globally. A fascinating new approach that is easy to engage with.
Date published: 2014-04-27

Table of Contents

FOREWORD / Joi Ito, Director MIT Media Lab
PREFACE
Notes from a practicing heart
INTRODUCTION WHAT ARE SOCIAL LABORATORIES?
Introducing the social lab
Playing In the World Cup
What Does it Mean to be Winning?
The Scale-Free Laboratory
A Cascade of Social Labs
CHAPTER 1 THE PERFECT STORM OF COMPLEXITY
The perfect challenge
What is a complex social challenge?
The futile optimism of optimization
Yemen as a natural experiment
Too big to fail, Too big to jail
CHAPTER 2 THE STRATEGIC VACUUM
Business-As-Usual
The Expert-Planning Paradigm
Flying autopilot in the perfect storm
A lack of genuine strategic intent
CHAPTER 3 THE SUSTAINABLE FOOD LAB: FROM FARM-TO-FORK
“Ten Global Problems In Ten Years”
The race to the bottom
The multiple & conflicting logics of food
Systemic spread betting
CHAPTER 4 THE BHAVISHYA LAB: THE SILENT EMERGENCY
The Indian Experiment
The Moonshot
Movement requires Friction
Fail early, Fail often
Business-As-Usual and It’s Radical Refusals
CHAPTER 5 THE NEW ECOLOGIES OF CAPITAL
The End of the Beginning
Emerging forms of capital
Preventing Collapse
The dumbest idea in the world
More rainforests, fewer plantations
CHAPTER 6 THE RISE OF THE AGILISTAS
Unlearning project management
The practical wisdom of social labs
Events rupture dispositions
The Right Stuff
CHAPTER 7 STEPS TOWARDS A THEORY OF SYSTEMIC ACTION
Slaves of some defunct economist
First Requirement - Constitute a diverse team
Second Requirement - Design an iterative process
Third Requirement - Create systemic spaces
CHAPTER 8 STARTING A SOCIAL LAB: 7 HOW-TO’S
Strategic versus Tactical Thinking
#1 Clarify Intention
#2 Broadcast Invitation & #3 Work Networks
#3 Work Your Networks
#4 Recruit Willing People & #5 Set Direction
#5 Set Direction
#6 Design In Stacks & #7 Find Cadence
#7 Find Cadence
CONCLUSION
NEXT-GEN SOCIAL LABORATORIES
Averting the Zombie Apocalypse
State Collapse: A stabilization strategy
Climate Change: A mitigation strategy
Community Resilience: An adaptation strategy
The battle of the parts versus the whole
ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
NOTES
BIBLIOGRAPHY
INDEX
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
ABOUT REOS PARTNERS

Editorial Reviews

“This book provides decision makers with a practical guide to addressing complex challenges. It offers a clear-eyed, hopeful, and realistic approach that is timely and much needed.” —Cherie Blair, CBE, QC, founder, Cherie Blair Foundation for Women “Welcome to the social labs revolution—and to Zaid Hassan’s splendid account from the front lines of this movement bringing new ways to tap and focus collective intelligence for systemic innovation.” —Peter Senge, Senior Lecturer in Leadership and Sustainability, MIT Sloan School of Management, and author of The Fifth Discipline “This book should be compulsory reading for anyone whose ambition is to change the systems that perpetuate poverty and inequality rather than just to mitigate the symptoms.” —Kate Wareing, Head of Innovation and Learning, Oxfam GB “A profoundly important and timely book. Hassan has been at the center of the social labs revolution since its beginning and explains this powerful new approach to tackling the world’s most pressing challenges in a clear, concise, and compelling fashion.” —Joseph Jaworski, author of the international bestseller Synchronicity “Zaid Hassan offers an innovative, powerful new approach for tackling our toughest global challenges and bringing about lasting social change.” —Minh-Thu Pham, Director of Public Policy, United Nations Foundation “Increasingly we face complex social problems that we can solve only through working together, not only with friends and colleagues but also with strangers and opponents. Zaid’s book shows us a new way of doing so. It represents an important milestone in learning how to address our most profound challenges.” —Adam Kahane, author of Solving Tough Problems, Power and Love and Transformative Scenario Planning “We know that social, experimental, prototyping, and systemic approaches have worked in the Internet ecosystem and for entrepreneurs—Zaid Hassan’s radical book shows us how they can work for complex social issues.” —Howard Rheingold, author of the bestsellers Virtual Reality, The Virtual Community, Smart Mobs, and Net Smart “Anyone interested in doing something about the complex, multicultural, economico-politico-social problems that the planet is facing must read this book.” —Edgar H. Schein Professor Emeritus, MIT Sloan School of Management, and author of Humble Inquiry “Democracy, society, and civilization are all undermined by those who seek only to profit from the future. The Social Labs Revolution opens up the space to see, seed, and grow better future possibilities.” —Dr. Angela Wilkinson, Counselor for Strategic Foresight, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development “Real transformational change requires a radical transformation in the way civil society creates strategy. The Social Labs Revolution offers a promising approach to achieving just that.” —Wael Hmaidan, Director, Climate Action Network International “Through his hard-won practical wisdom, Zaid Hassan bravely and honestly outlines a radical new approach to solving our toughest social challenges. Read this brilliant book.” —Mustafa Suleyman, cofounder and Chief Product Officer, DeepMind Technologies “A powerful and practical book—read it.” —Tim Harford, author of The Undercover Economist Strikes Back and Senior Columnist, Financial Times “This truly personal, analytical, and luminous work based on years of research, reflection, and experience is essential reading for all those who aspire to effect deep and sustainable social change.” —Gabriella Etmektsoglou, Director, New York University Berlin “This is a highly readable, provocative narrative, filled with insights, questions, and, above all, a deep yearning to know how best to make a difference in this troubled time.” —Margaret J. Wheatley, author of Leadership and the New Science and, most recently, So Far from Home “Zaid Hassan’s extremely compelling and readable manifesto is for people looking for effective solutions beyond packaged development programs and short-term or one-off social entrepreneurship projects. It is a work of information and insight that can be applied right now.” —Melissa Finn, Lecturer, Department of Political Science, Wilfrid Laurier University “Drawing from his own experiences, Zaid Hassan shows how to engage with complexity in the real world and offers a compelling alternative to plans that can often be outdated by the time they are written.” —Danny Burns, Team Leader, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex “Required reading for policymakers, practitioners, academics, and engaged citizens everywhere.” —Milla McLachlan, Director, Southern Africa Food Lab “Read this book if you seek wisdom and practical experience with solving tough problems. Hassan is a facilitative leader of systemic change, not merely an observer, and he writes well.” —Hal Hamilton, Codirector, Sustainable Food Lab “This is the type of book I will always have two copies of: one as an immediately useful narrative with insights on every page, and one to share with others.” —George Roter, CEO and cofounder, Engineers without Borders Canada “Innovative, informative, accessible, and relevant, Zaid Hassan’s book is a necessary tool in understanding today’s volatile, exciting, and dynamic world. Strongly recommended.” —Wajahat Ali, cohost of Al Jazeera America’s @AJAMStream “A must-read for all those who are in the business of trying to tackle the many social problems afflicting our planet.” —Kamran Bokhari, Vice President, Middle Eastern and South Asian Affairs, Stratfor, and coauthor of Political Islam in the Age of Democratization “Zaid Hassan brings many years of experience understanding processes of social change. He rightly identifies that the world is going through a very challenging period—and his thoughts deserve to be engaged with thoroughly in addressing those challenges.” —Dr. H. A. Hellyer, Nonresident Fellow, Foreign Policy, The Brookings Institution “All our important problems are systemic; this book will help you not just find better answers to the problems but learn how to build better strategies for changing the systems themselves.” —Alex Steffen, Planetary Futurist in Residence, IDEO, and author of Carbon Zero