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LAB 21: Co-Learning Labs with 21st Century Guidance Counselors (**REVISED**)

Call it an Incubator. Call it an Accelerator. You may even call it a Social Enterprise. Either way, LAB21 is a branded network of co-learning spaces ushering career-minded and goal-oriented 16-24 year olds into the 21st century world of work.

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MISSION

The lab's mission is Three-Fold:

  • To engender a collaborative haven where young people are creatively motivated to communally build 21st century skills, gather relevant information, and seize opportunities to carve successful careers across industries, sectors and markets.

  • To engage youth in innovative strategies for social impact within their communities and the world at large.

  • To engage local communities in unearthing, polishing, and celebrating their most natural resource - Their Youth.  

VISION

In an ideal world, LAB21 would be the 'innovation bedrock' of communities seeking to support youth as they transition from school to work.  Like libraries, coffee shops, bookstores, parks, and movie theaters, LAB21 would be woven into a community's fabric.

LAB21 aims to be a household name amongst young people seeking innovative approaches to prepare for their careers outside of the academic environment.

Led by a cadre of 21st Century Guidance Counselors contracted to continually 'mind the gap' between academia and business, these lab stewards will also craft, coordinate and deliver authentic, experiential programs in service to youth of diverse backgrounds and interests.

STAKEHOLDERS:

· 16 to 24 Year Olds 

. Lab Stewards

· Parents

· Individuals

· Educators

· Local & National Governments

· For-Profit Businesses (local and global)

· Non-Profits / Social Enterprises / Foundations

WHY LAB 21?

· Young people deserve a dedicated 'go-to' place that guides their transition from school to work -- a nurturing, pause period of observation, reflection and preparation. 

· Ready, willing and able young people should be empowered as creative builders and collaborators of the future world of work.

· Preparation for the world of work can and should take place in wholly new and supplementary creative learning environments.

(Inspiration: General Assembly / 3RD WARD / Starting Bloc)

SERVICE DESIGN

1. CURRICULUM & PROGRAMMING DESIGN

LAB21's hybrid programs and initiatives are the crux of its existence and rely on a guided framework developed by the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

(Note: Please explore the hyperlink above as the information therein forms the building blocks of LAB21's programming design)

Areas of focus will include:

· Global Awareness

· Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy

· Creativity and Innovation

· Critical Thinking and Problem Solving

· Communication and Collaboration

· Media & Technology Literacy

· Flexibility and Adaptability

· Initiative and Self-Direction

· Social and Cross-Cultural Skills

· Productivity and Accountability

· Leadership and Responsibility

(Although this framework is solely the development of the Partnership for 21st Century Skills, I was happy to find such serendipitous alignment with my own ideas and vision for LAB21.)

2. LAB STEWARDS

As 21st Century guidance counselors, lab stewards will be Social Entrepreneurs and Innovators in their own right.  For the most part, they will be recruited from amongst business school graduates seeking to pave Social Impact careers (**This does not preclude other qualified individuals).

Each steward will act as the CEO/Director of a particular lab, applying a business education framework to the lab's overall mission.  

The local community being served will inform the strategic approach of each steward.

(Supporting stewards will also serve the lab's mission)

3. DELIVERY OF PROGRAMS

Programs will be delivered quarterly in four distinct tiers, each of which will include:

· Classes (supplemented by website and interactive online courses)

· Workshops

· Career Sessions (one-on-one)

· Conferences

· D.I.Y Entrepreneurial Labs

· Projects in Residence

· Events

· Fellowships

Each tier will also consist of a cohort of fellows, the size and composition of which will be determined by the location of the lab, community served, and the availability of resources.

Tier 1 Programs

Designed and delivered by LAB21 for its secondary school members.

Tier 2 Programs

Designed and delivered by LAB21 for its post-secondary school members.

Tier 3 Programs:

Designed and delivered by LAB21 for non-members of the youth community at large.

Tier 4 Programs

Tier Four Programs are those designed and delivered by external organizations in partnership with LAB21 for both members and non-members alike.

4. PHYSICAL SPACE (w/ a nod to effective design of Co-Learning/Co-Working spaces):

· Studios (for classes, workshops, meetings...)

· Digital Media & Tech Station (laptops, tablets, digital cameras, printers, creative digital tools (i.e. Adobe Creative Suite.)

· Business Library [ contemporary twist to include books, journals, magazines, articles across a range of industries / (Digital & Physical) ]

· Cafe (Sustainable products and organic foods)

· Lounge

· Event Space

5. MEMBERSHIP

Membership is open to 16-24 year olds who are ready, willing and able to join the LAB21 community and who demonstrate (through a short & sweet application), that LAB21 is an appropriate 'next step' in their transition from school to work.

Applications will be accepted during a given time period, requiring prospective members to complete the following:

· Personal Profile

· Personal/Professional Statement

· Creative Expression Submission (in a format of personal choice) that responds  to a social impact prompt.

· Strengths Finder Assessment/Quizz (optional and offered by the lab)

6. LAB PERK

LAB21 ID Card: 

Allows lab stewards to keep track of members and the progress of these members.

The lab could potentially collect profile information related to one's purpose, professional goals, skills gathered, internships and projects completed, workshops attended, etc and then visually reinterpret that info into something like Lydia Howland's "Experience Bank" where it would then live online. 

In the end, it wouldn't be a typical resume but rather, a unique experience profile that can be shared, updated, etc on social media sites, thereby elevating a young person's 'professional status' on his or her social media profiles.

Additionally, the card could allow members to earn points for attending classes, workshops, conferences, etc which they can then redeem at select venues in support of the lab's mission.

STAYING AFLOAT
Each lab may generate a business model/revenue model that works in tandem with its resources and capabilities.

Examples:
Not-for-Profit Strategy
Social Impact Bonds (if it can be made applicable)
Values-Aligned Corporate Sponsorship
Values-Aligned Celebrity Sponsorship (i.e. several celebrities may sponsor a cohort of students in a given quarter)
Values aligned University Sponsorship
 

How will your concept support young people as they transition into the world of work?

LAB21 provides a stationary, 'offline' and collaborative learning environment with direct access to viable people and resources. Additionally, it introduces 'Social Impact' career paths to 16-24 year olds entering the 21st century world of work. Moreover, it would create solidarity amongst youth throughout the world. Every space will replicate a creative learning environment conducive to work/life balance. The labs will be the antithesis of the rigidity and coldness of school buildings. Alumni will be asked to share their stories and career trajectories, and perform mentorship duties to new and incoming members. ENVISIONING SUCCESS A. External Projects: 1. Start Up Scramble (http://startupscramble.com/) 2. Skunkworks Projects (Concept by Imran Malek) 3. The Young & Unemployed Conference (Concept by Ana Cecelia Santos) 4. Purpose Workshops (Concept by Luc Shorter) 5. Youth Cafe (Concept by Haiyan Zhang) B. Internal Projects (Sample Scenario): 1. Young & Oh So Green: An initiative of the New York City Chapter of LAB21 LAB21 partners with representatives of the film and television industry to carve 'green' jobs for youth from under-resourced communities. Working in coordination with major film and TV studios, the Mayor's Office of Media & Entertainment, Net Impact, Brooklyn Workforce Innovations, The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, OpenIDEO and The Work Foundation, LAB21 is paving a system for training cohorts of young people in greening up the acts of productions around New York City. As Green Production Assistants, youth gain employment and productions gain dedicated Green stewards in their offices and on their film sets, helping to implement sustainable policies and practices. Additionally, the program introduces these young people to sustainability and opens the door for other green career paths. C. A Barclays Bike in Brooklyn Catch a young Brooklynite on a Barclay's branded bicycle lately? Chances are that he or she is headed to LAB21; a Barclays sponsored co-learning space for young people dedicated to paving their career paths with creativity and determination. Communal biking gets these young people where they need to be when they need to be there. It also sends a positive alert to communities that a concerted effort is being made on the behalf of these young people. D. Community Projects-In-Residence Young people consult companies, cities, districts, etc on projects that match their skills and interests and that provide social value to the communities in which these young people reside. Ex: Youth are challenged to design and share solutions to product and/or service delivery in a given market. For instance, youth determine the immediate needs of their communities and with the co-direction of Lab Stewards, they engage the companies and people beneficial to that execution. Bike Paths for Youth: If Youth were introduced to biking and were able to bike to and from school, how might that change the city's transportation system for the better? How might this curb truancy? How might it help communities and focus on health? A DAY IN THE LIFE OF LAB21 A Typical schedule for a creative member interested in Marketing, Digital Media and the Tech industry: Monday 4P - 445P: Workshop: "Master Your Major with a Minor Exploration" BREAK -- Lounge / Cafe / Media & Tech Station (with co-member) 515P - 545P: Class: An Introduction to New York City's Tech Sector: Part 1 6P - 7P: D.I.Y Lab: "How to Kickstart Your Social Network" Wednesday 4P - 430P: Session: Meet with your Lab Steward for continued career guidance, Discuss potential fellowship opportunity with TechCrunch 430 - Close: Utilize lab's resources: meet with cohort for further exploration Saturday 10A - 11A Digital Finance: Learn how Barclays powers financial literacy in the digital world 1P - 5P: Event - Career Fair: "S.T.E.M.MING From D.ART": Explore Careers at the intersection of Design, Art, Science, Technology, Engineering & Math. Meet creative artists working in these fields.

What online or in-person components of your concept will best support this transition?

Lab Stewards will be vital to the success of LAB 21. Bringing a sense of entrepreneurship and innovation to the programs and initiatives of the LAB will work to engage all stakeholders. Q&A Viability? Supporting 16-24 year olds as they transition from school to work requires commitment of time and resources from multiple stakeholders in order to scale and sustain a stationary solution to youth unemployment. Quick and easy doesn't seem to be a viable solution to this complex problem. Young people want and need to identify a solution that isn't going to run away from them -- one that is there to stay -- literally. So, this concept will stand upon the legs of city or municipal buildings that are no longer in use. Warehouses formerly utilized by the manufacturing industry are also prime real estate for LAB21. Additionally, LAB21 offers governments and non-profits a fresh, provable and scalable approach to tackling youth unemployment in a way that the social sector has yet to implement. Companies like General Assembly How do you make sure you get the commitment and engagement from local business? LAB21's goal is to get engagement from large businesses as well as local businesses. In particular, the corporate world is better positioned to support the lab's overall reach and impact. LAB21 would target both internal and external Corporate Social Responsibility teams to secure sponsorship in various forms. Sponsorship will also be secured from local businesses for distinct and relevant programs. Organizations that support open education forums bring LAB21 closer to realization. The lab's computer stations would be equipped to harness collaborative learning from MIT's open courses or ITunes University or other similar open courseware. Opportunities for Implementation...? LAB21 Pop Up A pop-up version of LAB21 in its most minimal form would be an ideal and immediate practical implementation of this concept. Lab Stewards would design programs as well as coordinate the delivery of existing programs to wider youth audiences throughout open venues in a given community. These programs could be delivered on underutilized office spaces or venues on weekends or during non-business hours. Barriers for Implementation...? As a ground up concept, LAB21 requires initial capital and resource investments. How will you ensure this concept is sufficiently differentiated from either a job centre or Internet cafe? Apart from the design of the physical space and curricula, Lab Stewards will be a defining factor of LAB21.

My Virtual Team

Matthew Taylor Meena Kadri George Zisiadis Maegan Spencer Bryann Alexandros Carol Shu Ola Nilsson Paul Reader Simon Finch Chris Hughes Haiyan Zhang Lydia Howland Luc Shorter Ana Cecelia Santos Imran Malek

Evaluation results

18 evaluations so far

1. IMPACT & REACH: How much impact and reach do you think this concept could have in helping young people transition into the world of work?

A great deal – something like this would really make a difference - 83.3%

A moderate amount – it’s certainly helpful but probably not a game-changer - 11.1%

Not very much – it’s unlikely to make a significant difference to young people seeking work - 5.6%

2. FEASIBILITY & RESOURCES: Thinking about the resources needed to implement this concept, how feasible will it be for your community to turn this concept into a reality? (Hint: when you think about resources, think: people, money, time, technology, infrastructure, partnerships and any other inputs for implementation)

Highly feasible – resources wouldn’t be an issue for my community if we tried to implement this - 11.1%

Moderately feasible – my community could do it if we could get find assistance with some of our resource constraints - 72.2%

Not feasible – it would be almost impossible for my community to implement this concept; it's just too resource-intensive - 16.7%

3. SUSTAINABILITY & LONGEVITY: Does this concept feel like it could be sustained as a project, business or movement over years rather than just months? Will continue to be relevant in future?

Yes – this concept has enough momentum to stand on its own two feet and remain relevant for years to come - 44.4%

Maybe – it’s not clear how long it would take for this concept to stand on its own feet or how it will continue to be but there’s reason to feel hopeful - 50%

No – this concept will have trouble sustaining itself in the long-run and probably won’t be as relevant in years to come - 5.6%

4. ORIGINALITY: How new or innovative is this idea? Are there many different versions of this concept out there already or is this something more disruptive and unique?

Very original – I’ve not seen anything else quite like it - 27.8%

Fairly original – there are similar things out there but this particular version brings a new element to the table - 61.1%

Unoriginal – there are already too many other concepts out there that are similar to this one - 11.1%

5. Overall, how do you feel about this concept?

It rocked my world - 66.7%

I liked it but preferred others - 27.8%

It didn't get me overly excited - 5.6%

77 comments

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DeletedUser

The workplace is changing so rapidly. Do you think that employers would recognize the skills being taught and know how to fit them into existing organizations?

Or, does that not even matter, because lab-goers are not trying to fit in to old organizations but are preparing for organizations that they will run themselves in the future?

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DeletedUser

Where would these labs be housed? In high schools? On college campuses? In libraries or community centers?

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Great concept Sasha,

I have been thinking about how you can attract the right people to come by. So many of the concepts combine an online platform with an offline presence, so I thought about how to do this if it was kept offline.

My idea is to use the building to attract people to LAB 21. It should feature the real users, have feature stories and case studies. It could show prerequisites to enter (none). It could have a huge arrow that points to the door. Anything goes to make it easy to enter..

I am trying to address that some of the people who would benefit the most from this might be afraid to go through the doors to LAB 21, so it should be as accessible as possible.

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DeletedUser

Thanks Simon!

I'd love to hear more of your thoughts on why someone would be 'afraid' to go through the doors of LAB21.

Looking forward to building and fine tuning this concept!

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Great ideas. I also thought this was an interesting concern too. Someone's timidity could stop them short from entering for a glimpse of the lab. First-timers should know that you can't really comprehend everything about a place from looking at their website.

I definitely recall some of my pangs of anxiety when I toured schools for the first time: typical reception area, big front desk, and nice couches that were nice to sit on, but signaled that you were definitely new especially if lots of people flowed in and out of the place. After you tour one school, you felt that you could expect a similar layout and format: sit, wait, watch, then receive the scripted tour.

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I think you are on to something Bryann: How can you create a sense of familiarity to someone new to LAB21?

I don't have the answer, but I find the question intriguing.

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DeletedUser

Thanks Simon. I'll continue to give this some more thought.

But, I think its less a question of familiarity and more a question of inclusiveness and openness.

It certainly won't be as familiar as something that is already in existence.

The intent is to challenge all of us -- youth included -- to think and behave differently and collaboratively, to support young people in achieving success in the workplace.

A huge part of the solution will be in the appropriate design of a marketing strategy as well as the design of LAB21 and its various programs and initiatives.

All of these things will be crucial to achieving the intended impact.

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DeletedUser

Simon -- still thinking about this ;-)...more tomorrow...

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Photo of Bryann Alexandros
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Simon, I don't have an immediate answer either. :) Perhaps the concept of scheduling a tour could be reworked a bit in the future.

I'm sure there's already some familiarity re: the ideals of collaboration and creativity. It's just that they might already be deluged by other typical workforce programs by local schools and gov'ts that A) preach those same things, B) are marketed to the young as "preparing them for the real world" but C) fall incredibly short of teaching those things.

LAB21's concept and approach is more profound and refreshing. So I think Sasha is right about designing its programs and marketing strategy accordingly, especially when it needs to stand out against all the radio noise.

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@Simon: More on the question of attracting the right people to come by. There's the proposal of having a physical business library. Maybe some parts of it can be publicly accessible.

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Perhaps I'm missing something, but I'm thoroughly confused :( So hopefully someone can help :) What is the advantage of this over existing systems like university, udemy, khan and github? which seem to offer the same benefits of learning and collaboration but in a more fragmented way - fragmentation here actually serves as an asset as companies have limited focus on their particular area providing a better chance of success in their market, and consumers can opt-in to whatever solutions works for them rather than being tied to one company offering everything with a broad focus. My other concern is that it seems just like existing community workshops aimed at small businesses but now aimed at youths instead, which I'm not sure would help solve youth unemployment as such a service would teach students a lot of generalised knowledge in many different areas (making them a novice at everything), versus specialised knowledge in an in-demand skill that employers are looking for (pro at something). Whereas with incubators/accelerators/hacker-schools they all focus on one precise skill area that is in-demand and work it up to rockstar levels. So hope that these concerns help raise some worthwhile thinking to help refine the idea and let it rock on, and perhaps I'm just missing a few things in which case do fill me in :) Either way, all the best, keep up the great work.

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Actually, is this more of what you're talking about? http://generalassemb.ly/ - seems their already doing something pretty similar, one of their partners is IDEO too! Nifty.

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Hi Benjamin, these are actually some excellent questions. Not sure I can answer them all. I'd like to see previous/current uni students and veterans of udemy et al. chime in about the gaps that LAB21 might fill for them.

Yeah, there's always the danger of atrophy when one can't readily apply the knowledge they've learned. This is why I support the addition of external skunkworks projects sponsored by businesses (the innovative ones at least) and designed by lab stewards. I would like to see that students start building momentum and solving real world problems. Get them engaged in something real and they learn something about practicing execution. I'm hoping that this also helps them out with learning what collaboration, team chemistry, and self-leadership is all about.

I see that the concept has been refined some the past two weeks, so perhaps you can see if it answers your other concerns :)

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DeletedUser

I've incorporated into the concept, some aspects of Lydia Howland's Experience Bank/CV Lifeline....

Thanks Lydia! Let me know your thoughts....

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DeletedUser

I love it! Thanks so much for building it in and good luck as you enter the final strait!

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DeletedUser

Sweet! Thanks Lydia.

Young people are tied to their mobile phones so it makes sense to build new and rewarding encounters in that space and tie it back to their social media profiles -- particularly if the Experience Bank has creative and beneficial potential in lieu of their professional lives.

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I think this would be a great idea. More informal learning environments are needed to train students in skills they don't get to utilize much in school (collaboration and creativity). I am currently a PhD student at the University of Georgia studying design based learning and how learners share knowledge in a design-based learning activity. I would be interested in assisting with the implementation of creating Lab 21.

about.me/gregorywilson

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This is a great breakdown of the LAB21's design. Bravo. I was also happy to see some coalescing of ideas with the Partnership for 21st Century Skills.

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DeletedUser

You're awesome. Thank you....

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DeletedUser

Greetings from Taiwan! Recently ran into OpenIDEO...What a great tool! This is an interesting idea to address a critical global issue. I definitely see areas for potential collaboration with other projects as well. For example, the “YouthCafe” project may overlap in the sense that meetups could be held in Lab 21s. Also, there’s the important issue of incentives for local business involvement (an avenue to increase community ownership and sustainability) and integrating Open IDEO-like challenges. The two could be merged. I would assume a thorough interview/assessment process would take place for each new youth member in which key career-oriented questions were asked (a great place to integrate the “Purpose Workshops” idea as an intake tool). After each youth member has a unique profile, the information could be analyzed to flesh out key topic areas/industries. Then, local businesses would be identified that would match those areas as close as possible. Those businesses would be approached about potential partnerships and the idea of developing OpenIDEO-like challenges specifically targeted to address institutional areas in which they want to innovate and/or current business issues that need to be solved.

Youth benefit from the hands-on experience and learning about the inner-workings/dynamics of organizations doing work aligned with their interests and values. Local businesses benefit from being exposed to IDEO methodologies as well as from the actual work to help them solve key business challenges. It would be important though, to send a message regarding the value of the youth’s work by offering reasonable payment for services. All the participating businesses, for example, could commit a pre-determined donation in order to become official partner organizations and that money could go to a stipend for the youth(s) assigned to their respective projects. Finally, youth could be matched with mentors to support them through the project development process, thus integrating elements of the “Young Adult Mentor/Mentee Network” project.

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DeletedUser

Thanks so much for such thoughtful feedback. I'm excited to put it all into motion...

On another note, in some places, local businesses tend to be small businesses and local tends to refer to a particular neighborhood.

Maybe we need to expand the concept of local to include greater opportunities for much larger businesses to collaborate with LAB21...

In New York, there are young people throughout the 5 boroughs who never leave their borough. Brooklyn, Manhattan, Staten Island, the Bronx and Queens tend to live worlds away in the minds of many although they're sometimes 15 - 30 minutes apart by neighborhood.

Nonetheless, I digress and have yet to make a direct point....

Anyway, Imran Malek submitted a concept that seems similar to what you're suggesting above for local businesses...

Feel free to check it out:
http://www.openideo.com/open/youth-employment/concepting/-skunkworks-projects-for-youths-/

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DeletedUser

Yeah! I like his concept and it's similar to what I'm suggesting. As far as expanding the concept of local to larger business, I think anything that extends the job creation pipeline even further to more stakeholders would be well worthwhile...On another note, I think the HUB network that people have mentioned sounds like a wonderful resource to glean more inspiration. The Business Clinic they are doing in South Africa sounds interesting and an example of an initiative that could be replicated at Lab21 and pull in larger business participation. Good luck!!

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I have seen and experienced a similar concept (or complementary) as you suggest for LAB 21. You might have heard ....The HUB. http://www.the-hub.net/ . Since 2009, I am a member of the HUB community and should tell you that I have seen lot young people, mostly 20s/30s, but even 40s like in my case, to achieve what your concept is suggesting! I also see a lot of improvements and new approaches in your case!!! Well done! Looks it work

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Hi Sasha!

First of all, just wanted to reiterate how cool this concept is! I definitely would want a membership to a place like this.

I wanted to ask you whether you have had much of an opportunity to explore some of the other concepts in the refinement stage yet? I didn't get to see all of the comments on this concept, and I'm a little new to openIDEO, so I apologize if this has already been mentioned - but it seems to me that some of the other concepts would work well in coordination with LAB 21.

I saw that someone else mentioned the Mobile DIY lab, and I think that this could be a great forum for the concept "Young + Unemployed Conference" (you mentioned conferences in the description, if I remember correctly). But I also thought that LAB 21 could be a great place to initiate the "Building Expertise at an Early Age" concept, too. It's ultimate goal is to have "deep dive" project-based classes added to curriculums in schools.

Here's what I was thinking - secondary schools would sponsor "challenges" at LAB 21, being long-term projects that kids could work on throughout the year - they could be about anything, potentially created by teachers and students from the schools. These challenges could be extra-curricular programs that are group-based, where groups come to LAB 21 to do their work. For the students, it gives them a new type of learning style they're not always exposed to in school, and gives them something to do after school. For you, it would mean the active involvement of a local organization. And, it could be a first step towards integrating "deep dive" education into schools - a structure that allows schools to see how that type of learning works before committing to incorporating it into their curriculums.

These "challenges" could also be adapted as a recruiting tool for businesses - they could sponsor "challenges" that relate to their line of work. Participants would learn to use the tools necessary to work within those businesses' fields, making them more attractive to future employers.

Again, sorry if in any way this does not apply to your concept!

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sorry - just realized this idea is essentially just an in-person openIDEO.

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I think the in-person OpenIDEO exists for the university level, but not for secondary or primary school levels. The people that are part of OpenIDEO can clarify this.

I for one still see your suggestion (i.e. bringing secondary students to LAB21 for in-person OpenIDEO workshops) as something new and something that can bring additional value to the LAB21 concept.

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DeletedUser

Secondary schools are moving rapidly to incorporate "project-based learning," but they often lack the facilities to support it. A community-based physical center could be shared by several schools in an area, with opportunity for local community organizations and employers in both public and private sectors to pose project ideas.

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DeletedUser

Yes, yes, and yes... ;-)

I was thinking of tailoring LAB 21 to 16-24 year olds...
Its a great way to get them interacting with and learning from each other...

Workshops, conferences, Sponsored Projects, Classes, etc are all the crux of LAB21. There would be room for the LAB21 curriculum as well as open slots space and time for external projects, organizations, people, etc...

I'd love to kick off LAB21 with a "Young + Unemployed Conference".

Thoughts?

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That sounds like a great way to get the community involved from the start! Would you try to incorporate the younger kids into the conference too, or do a separate event for them? I imagine that young people who want to go to college are looking for something different than what the "Young + Unemployed Conference" intends to offer those entering the work force.

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Great builds, Sasha! You might want to acknowledge folks who have contributed to your idea via comments using the Virtual Teams field. You can hit the Update Entry button on the right of your post & scroll down to the Virtual Team and add the names of anyone who has helped shape your concept.

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DeletedUser

LAB 21 I.D cards could be physical cards or viewable by smart phone, as airport boarding passes are. By scanning their cards, they could track their career progress on their profile.

I saw a talk once by Dr. Rosa Martey on applying game design principles to research, teaching, and outreach strategies. Members could collect points by attending workshops or events, completing tasks (perform a mock interview, create a Power Point presentation, etc.). Points could add up to badges, which would mark a level of expertise. Members with badges could start teaching others, to promote a collaborative learning environment.

Code Academy (http://www.codecademy.com/#!/exercises/0) has a gaming approach to track progress.
The Nerdery has short profiles for their employees, including badges for their areas of expertise, which are granted for completing challenges: http://nerdery.com/people#md.

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DeletedUser

Love it. Let me know if you'd like to help design some specific ways to utilize the LAB21 I.D Card...

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DeletedUser

How goes the refinement? :-)

I love the LAB/tech stations part of your idea. Would that include a library of tools like video cameras and 3-d printers that people could use for fundraising? (a softer tech version of http://www.hackerdojo.com/) LAB21 could be a great launchpad for creating amazing kickstarter campaigns...

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DeletedUser

Refinement is tougher than I anticipated ;-).

LAB/tech stations for sure! Computers, digital cameras, printers....

Thanks for the intro to Hacker Dojo. Its precisely the sort of co-learning and co-working environment that we can create and pass on to young people...

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DeletedUser

Excellent idea,

An off-line safe place is important for youths where real-world interaction can provide more than just “design” skills, but also provide positive self-esteem and ownership. I feel success with youths in the world of work goes beyond just possessing skills, but possessing a positive attitude, empathy, confidence, …etc. This Lab 21 idea is great, by including real-word relationships and interaction it can address those “soft” skills.

Here is an cool idea that brings innovation to kids via a mobie truck.
“SparkTruck: A “Bookmobile” That Brings Rapid Prototyping to School Kids”
http://www.fastcodesign.com/1670400/sparktruck-a-bookmobile-that-brings-rapid-prototyping-to-school-kids#1

Arguably, a mobile truck can save costs in comparison to a large fixed classroom space.

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DeletedUser

I'm totally with you on the 'soft skills' side of things...I'm wondering if there might be a 'softer way' to incorporate these 'soft skills' into the lab....

Meena also mentioned Spark Truck so you're both onto something there....

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DeletedUser

Sasha,
This is a great concept! I think there is a lot of overlap to look at in the pedagogy and techniques employed by existing informal learning environments (e.g. Exploroatorium, 826 National) that are rooted in experiential ed. I think tying in to the existing spectrum of learning environments (formal, informal, blended and co-created) is critical to the scalability and long term impact of Lab21.

I also like the idea of taking the idea mobile, putting it on wheels so that it is accessible to a diverse set of audiences. Perhaps a small scale version in a food truck that acts as an entre to the main physical space, enticing those who may not normally be inclined to engage to get involved.

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On the mobile track: there might be learnings from here – Mobile DIY Lab Let's Kids Test Out Ideas with Cutting Edge Tools: bit.ly/REBins

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DeletedUser

Thanks Mike -- Let me know if you're able to share some links to some specific readings....

I'd love to delve deeper...

I also like the concept of making LAB21 more mobile. Going directly to young people might provide the direct insight needed to tailor LAB21 programming and market more effectively and efficiently to various niche demographics...

I see it more like an introduction/orientation/recruitment strategy for the lab.

Thoughts?

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DeletedUser

way to go Sasha! Getting people working and learning together is always an ideal way to facilitate positive externalities.

I'd definitely suggest looking into the amazing Hackerspace movement that has totally surged in the past decade with hundreds of them currently active around the world. http://hackerspaces.org/wiki/List_of_Hacker_Spaces

I'm also curious as to how decentralized LAB21 could be so as to truly be scalable and adaptable. How can we set up the model so that anyone anywhere can be empowered to set up their own LAB21 space tomorrow?

Like Carol Shu mentioned 350.org is great inspiration for this as is The Awesome Foundation which has over 50 autonomous chapters around the world focused around the same model of giving out $1000 grants each month. http://awesomefoundation.org

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DeletedUser

Thanks for sharing those examples. I really appreciate that you've zeroed in on where the concept needs some serious improvement ;-).

Continually relocating LAB21 might be a great idea to initially get it off the ground.

I'm still playing with some ideas for scaling the concept and I definitely see some alignment with 350.org and Awesome Foundation.

I'll see what I can glean from both and tailor to LAB21...

Thanks so much George! Let me know if you'd like to help further...

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DeletedUser

Hi Sasha! I wonder if you could pair with "hot spots" (bustling and young spaces) to flesh out this idea initially? Finding a local hip cafe might help quickly iterate on what works and what doesn't. You could also use this to figure out what is important to local youth. For example, folks that hang at Red Rocks Cafe in Mountain View, CA are going to give you a different perspective than the crew that hangs out at Port City Java in Wilmington, NC. This concept needs to be moldable to see success.

Thanks for such a great concept :)

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Dropping in to add that the idea of a physical lab-space is a fantastic idea for encouraging youth to explore possible new career paths in developing markets. I've personally experienced how lab-like/cafe-like environments positively encourage people to work together, especially when the right tools are available.

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DeletedUser

Thanks for dropping in Edouard. Your thoughts are really appreciated. I would love to see something like LAB21 extended to young people in developing markets!

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Sasha,
I love this idea. It offers one of the best solutions I have read for, as you put it "bridging the gaps" of the youth unemployment problem. The localized nature of the Lab provides the flexibility to meet each communities specific needs and while still leveraging technology to get global perspective and resources!

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DeletedUser

Thanks Amy! Just shared some thoughts on your concept...

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DeletedUser

Brilliant idea! I would love to evolve the service provision developed by apple into career guidance; genius bars, drop in workshops, online tutorials, forums. Ahhhh I can see it now!

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DeletedUser

;-) Thanks Dawnne! I think that's a genius idea...

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DeletedUser

Hi Dawnne -- I was thinking about your suggestions and I really like the idea of a 'genius' bar as the first line of introduction to LAB21. I will visit an Apple store this weekend to glean some insights ;-).

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DeletedUser

love this idea, and it's unique, never heard of anything like this.

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DeletedUser

Hi Christie -- Thank you for sharing that!

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Sasha, I admire this idea a lot! Nothing beats a physical co-working space to facilitate learning and growth. I agree with teaching creativity and design thinking, and also making those the crux of LAB 21's curricula.

I also see some intersection with Imran's Skunkworks concept, too.
Perhaps after youths wrap up the curricula in LAB 21, Imran's Skunkworks can be like the last stage — that one "big" project where youths can go out "into the field" and finally test what they've learned at LAB 21. So after learning about creativity and design, they can finally practice on "execution." This could become a brilliant ecosystem.

I'd love to collaborate on something like this in real life.

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Nice one Sasha! I wonder, to limit physical infrastructure costs, if an idea like this could piggy-back on existing libraries?

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I had that thought too but initially discarded it on the basis that opinion is divided in Australia about re-purposing libraries.
Notwithstanding that - my comments regarding building, fit-out and staffing of new infrastructure could be applied to renovation and re-purposing library space the main point being to get unemployed involved from the ground up.

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DeletedUser

Thank you Paul and Meena.

Another approach might be to just simply utilize/rent office space in pre-existing buildings.

I'm inspired by General Assembly here in New York: http://generalassemb.ly/

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DeletedUser

How about using a resource like Liquid Space (https://www.liquidspace.com/) to identify unused space that can be grabbed up for short-term power runs of this idea?

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DeletedUser

Hi Maegan. Thank you for sharing the link to Liquid Space. Its a great concept. I'm a huge fan of design, creativity and play in work environments and I think these are things that youth can appreciate as well.

Thanks again!

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DeletedUser

For what it's worth, one of our challenge supporters is a major UK bank and banks often have physical premises in prime locations but don't always have a huge amount of footfall outside peak times.

Perhaps certain bank branches could be repurposed to provide this kind of facility? Banks certainly have the real estate - I guess it's just a question of brand and whether a bank would be a credible provider for this kind of space...

I'd love to hear what people think about this and great concept Sasha!

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DeletedUser

Thats worth quite a bit! Thanks for bringing that connection back around.

I'll do a bit more research on my end based on you've shared.

Thanks again!

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DeletedUser

First off, good concept Sasha, I also thought directly about infrastructure costs of setting up a new physical space. I really like @Lydia and @Maegan's thinking here of thinking flexible and adding value/use of current spaces. I've had this idea of "wasted spaces" lingering for quite some time, and really think our cities are made up of a lot of it - both in terms of empty spaces (shorter or longer term) and in terms of entire buildings or even areas not being used during large parts of the day.
The closest I can think about to something like this is some initiatives in Sweden that aimed to get job-seeking and skills-acquiring closer to youth by allocating staff and resources to some "youth center"-type places that would be a natural spot. It had various successes.
LAB21 idea, however, builds on a space being designed and co-created and designed by/with youth from the bottom up - which I think is totally essential to its success!!
Keep refining. Shout out if you need specific brainstorms! ;-)

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DeletedUser

Hi Ola -- would you be able to share a link to an example of a 'youth center' in Sweden?

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DeletedUser

Your idea is great - I would love to be in LAB 21! To reproduce LAB 21 across the globe, the labs/spaces could be networked with each other. I really like how 350.org is a central hub website where people can find 350.org projects near them and post updates, photos, information, etc (http://350.org/). A website like this for LAB 21 would help young people in any location find co-learning studios and projects that they're interested in participating in. Studios in different locations could also then collaborate with each other.

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Hi! just read your concept, seems quite interesting.
I thought I'd share the link to the blog of the project I am working on currently. http://scatteringsplat.wordpress.com/
We are trying to tackle the same challenge and our approach is similar to what you are proposing.
Please go through the blog and would love some feedback on the process and project :)

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Congrats on this post being today's onsite Featured Concept!

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DeletedUser

...such an extraordinary opportunity to share this space with people who are passionate about creating greater opportunities for youth. Its something very dear to me and I enjoy reading the inspirations and all of the thoughtful concepts...

Thank you OpenIDEO.

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Hey Sasha. Love your vision, and it's in line with my professional life goal: to create a community space that facilitates experiences and programs that help people flourish and gain life skills. I would love to talk to you about the possibility of making LAB21 a reality. Could we connect via email? I'm new to openIDEO, so I'm not sure if I can message you privately. I don't think so, but perhaps I missed something?

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DeletedUser

Thanks Erika. It would love to connect with you! Might we do so toward the latter part of the challenge or thereafter?

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Yes, whenever's good for you. We'll be in touch!

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I love this idea. I assume it would require grant funding and an equitable way of rationing access, since the demand for service would surely greatly exceed the number of members who could be served.

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DeletedUser

Thank you!

I originally imagined multiple locations serving different communities. But, you've raised a great point so I'll work on generating some further ideas for equitable access.
I will also give some further thought to your point about a funding model and would love to hear some of your thoughts as well.

Thanks again!

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I understood you were looking at mutiple locations. My thought, though, was to ask why anyone would choose not to avail themselves of this resource if it developed any kind of a track record for youth finding work faster than they otherwise would. In terms of funding, I can see you might be able to get space economically in the way others here have suggested. Many public buildings are underutilized, particularly during off hours if your center could adjust its open hours to occur when other buildings are free.You might be able to staff with volunteers under the supervision of a couple of profession people with salaries. I think the challenge is less finding money for a pilot than to find a sustainable source over time.

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Exciting concept, Sasha!
When I saw Blake`s Toolbox Concept http://www.openideo.com/open/youth-employment/concepting/toolbox/ I thought about extending the online learning with offline facilities.
Then I saw your vision and I really liked it. In an environment like the LAB21 unemployed can get and learn together. Even if the personal equipment (like hardware and software) is not existing.
In order to extend software skills, company cooperations could provide the necessary software licenses as well as the hardware.
Additionally the motivation gets increased in work groups.
I´m curious to see this concept evolve!

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lovely. spot on. provide resources. public ed. equity.

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DeletedUser

Thanks Monika! I have been trying to keep up with a lot of the external dialogue about finding one's passion and purpose and I wonder how that very same dialogue might translate with youth.

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i'm so into fractals.. and fractal thinking.. i really believe there is a narrative for all of us.. whatever age...wherever we are.

this short video is a brief summary of our findings and what we have been funneling down/up to over the last four years..
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bVwu_cD4iSU

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Great concept, Sasha! is this already in place somewhere?

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DeletedUser

Thanks Arnold. I haven't quite come across anything in place but I live in New York City and would love to see something like this come to fruition here as well.