If you like chocolate, migrate to your left.
Responding to those instructions, about forty people lined themselves up in order of chocolate preference at Impact Hub DC’s inaugural social labs event Wednesday night.
It took a few seconds, and less than a few words.
Complex social issues can only be solved by collaborating across sectors, and by including a diverse spectrum of talents and personalities, explained Promethean Community founder Andres Marquez-Lara, who led the course.
“A social lab is very similar to a medical lab.” But instead of a health problem, “they’re trying to tackle a complex social challenge,” said Marquez-Lara.
“Our institutions we work in perhaps don’t make it easy to work cross-sector,” he added. “We’re siloed.”
It’s vital to ensure that everyone has a seat at the table, he argued — not just, say, programmers, who can tunnel through a hackathon.
That was exactly the tack chosen by Mission:Launch in November’s Rebuilding Re-entry Hackathon — an effort to solve the complexities of assimilation for returning citizens.
“A traditional hackathon would not fit our population,” said cofounder Teresa Hodge. So, Mission:Launch teamed up with Impact Hub DC, Code for DC and the Office of Human Rights to create a broader partnership that could tackle different aspects of the project all at once.
Social labs is set to become a recurring effort to “bring together conscious groups” seeking to combat social ills, like problems related to poverty,” said Impact Hub DC’s community builder, Adwoa Masozi.
“This is something that we want to build into a local movement,” Masozi said.