Journal

Lessons & insights from our journey for positive impact.

A Ghanian kente (tradition woven fabric) lays over a white pillow with "be the change" stitched in black along the bottom edge.

The Value of Five Dollars

I’ve recently returned from Mexico, where I attended a convening with 460 changemakers from around the world. Read this article if you want to know more about why I’ve attended for seven years. In short, Opportunity Collaboration broadens my perspective, gives me awareness of important programs that I share with others, and challenges me to …

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OC attendees traveling single file on a jungle-like path.

Reflections from Opportunity Collaboration

As of October 2019, I have attended Opportunity Collaboration (OC) seven times, which means that as a company, CauseLabs has participated in this annual unconference for over a decade. It’s no surprise that new delegates often ask me, “Why do you come back each year?”  I suspect there is a desired response. I suspect they …

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A woman places a sticky note on a wall during a CauseLabs strategic workshop.

Week 2: Research + Empathy

Hey gang, welcome back. Hopefully by now you’re really powering with your team and starting to feel the momentum of the process. Last week kicked things off with brainstorming and early research. Now, we’ll focus on confirming the direction, trusting your hunches, experimenting beyond your team, and seeking deeper empathy in your process. So let’s get started!

an assortment of sticky notes from a CauseLabs strategic workshop.

Week 1: Problem Immersion + Drawing Board

This week we’ll dig into the first of two sessions that we call Drawing Boards. In large part they’re exactly what they sound like: a starting place to gather the team and set the focus, built initially around the Problem Statement draft, and a place to keep referring to as the process progresses.

An assortment of supplies used in a CauseLabs strategy workshop

The 4-Week Guide for Digital Innovation

We’re here to help real people like you more easily understand what it takes to build innovative digital tools by doing a few simple things like putting people first, allowing space for collaboration, staying close to those experiencing the problems, and exploring new ways to generate ideas.

A small chalkboard with a thought bubble drawn on it and a lightbulb sitting on top of the bubble.

Problem Statements in Digital Innovation: The Importance of Asking the Right Question

It all starts with a problem. We’ve found it’s amazingly helpful to have a single statement that represents the nature of the problem, who’s experiencing it, and why it’s so important to solve. We have a simple template you can use, inspired by the ongoing work we do with our friends at IDEO.org.

A crumpled sheet of blue paper sits on top of a pen and ink drawing of a lightbulb.

Two innovation hacks you can implement immediately

My friend’s forehead was creased, his consternation visible at the intersection of his caved-in eyebrows. “I have to get out of this building to innovate. I can’t do it here. The technology, the dress code, the culture. It can’t get us where we need to go, and even if it could, it wouldn’t do it fast enough.”

An assortment of post-it notes on a table at a CauseLabs strategy workshop.

How a simple list of emergent themes can save you time and money in digital innovation work

Emergent Themes tries to draw signal from all the beautiful innovation noise, that flurry of empathetic activity that characterizes innovation. Most importantly, these plain-language terms help us have a conversation to answer a key question: “What piece of this problem should we focus on first as we start prototyping?

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