So you’ll benefit massively by taking time at the beginning to lay solid foundations for the creation of your lab, by following the proper steps.
Testing your assumptions about the value you offer and what you want to achieve is crucial.
Start by asking yourself some basic questions:
- Why do you want to start a lab?
- Do you need to start one?
- Do you have the resources to start a lab (network, trust, time, skills etc)?
- Which SDGs do you want or need to address? How are they connected?
Then consider the wider context:
- Where do you sit in the SDG ecosystem? What credibility does that give you? What are you missing?
- Who are the different actors, relevant for you? Do you know them – or are you assuming you do?
- What tools would give you the ability to reach out and bring in the right community? Do you have these tools?
- If you don't have the tools you require, who are the partners you need to bring to the table?
Example: An academic institution is a great convener because they have a neutral reputation. But they might require another partner that has more resources to move things ahead, like a foundation or a government.
Convening is another word for bringing people together. [Source: Oxford Dictionary].
In the context of sustainable development, convening power is ‘the ability to catalyze collective action by relevant actors to address global and regional development challenges’. [Source: World Bank].
Then focus more specifically:
- What specific niche are you going to fill? What achievements do you want to prioritise?
- How can you best establish credibility?
- How can you best support SDG implementation through greater Integration, Collaboration, and Innovation?
The three paradigms are Integration, Collaboration, and Innovation. We’ll dive-in in greater detail later on, but on a basic level:
Now go to the ‘Getting Started’ section of your Blueprint document and add some notes. As you do, consider these prompts:
For example, if you’re focused on climate action, what are the key drivers or elements to understand. What haven’t you thought about (i.e. What is the impact of climate on migration? What is the impact of gender on poverty eradication etc)?