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Reflections from the Lab

21 Nov, 2016

Introducing the Shift Lab: David Rauch

Curious about the folks who are participating in the Shift Lab? Wonder no more! Over the next three weeks, we will feature each of the Core lab team members (12 in all) as they tell us their thoughts about social innovation, racism and poverty in Edmonton, and why they joined the Shift Lab.  On Thursday, we met Sheida. Today, meet David Rauch. You can also check out David’s bio here.


I’m looking forward to being a part of Shift Lab because it’s a group that shares my values and undertakes work the way I like to undertake work:

  •     Meet with people you care about
  •     Get an idea of their needs and experiences (and vice versa, for sure)
  •     Come back soon with a simple prototype that could address an issue and collect their thoughts.        Everyone should be as involved and engaged in making the solution as you are
  •     Iterate, regroup, pivot, regroup, throw away, build up, regroup, drill down, regroup
  •     Polish your idea up if you all feel you’re on your way and present it with confidence
  •     Repeat

That’s what I’m looking for in being part of an initiative associated with the Action Lab: action. We’ve all been part of committees and boards that approve minutes, assign tasks, report on the tasks, and add the report notes to the minutes, which are then approved… Shift Lab is supposed to be about going out into the community, co-creating solutions, failing fast so you can succeed earlier, and making connections.

I’ve had the privilege to co-lead an amazing group of civic-minded techies and volunteers with BetaCityYEG over at Startup Edmonton, and it taught me how fast and fun it can be to do something that other people said would take forever or be too hard. It’s so rewarding working with people and coming up with something new that makes people’s lives better, and I’m sure that same thing is going to happen with Shift Lab.

Particularly, I tend to be more practical than thoughtful, so I look forward to learning from others in Shift Lab and the community that the process of engagement and co-creation can be just as important as the results. Hopefully, we’ll be demonstrating a model for others of how to engage the community and design solutions that work for everyone — something that can find some quick wins, be fun a lot of time, challenging some of the time, and valuable for people all of the time.

That we get to focus this organization and the Shift Lab Core team like a laser on topics related to race and poverty is really exciting. Some people think you have to come at these issues with kid gloves or with a bullet-proof plan because the stakes are so high, but every issue we face needs to be addressed with creativity and to have some room to iterate and challenge our assumptions. This is really important work with real-life implications, so I look forward to engaging with Shift Lab with enthusiasm and a willingness to try new things in order to contribute to my community. Thanks!

By |2016-11-21T11:10:23-06:00November 21st, 2016|Categories: Reflections from the Lab, What's Going On|0 Comments

About the Author:

Addressing racism and discrimination continue to be identified as a critical piece of the puzzle in how we reach the big goal of ending poverty in a generation in Edmonton. Building on the work of many local initiatives, the diverse collective making up the Edmonton Shift Lab is stewarding an exploration to develop potential service, policy, system and community action prototypes that will help reduce racism as it contributes to poverty. We want to be bold and explore how to Shift ideas. Shift attitudes. Shift systems and Shift into new ways of solution finding with community.

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