It’s Thursday afternoon at Georgetown’s Capitol Applied Learning Labs, and clusters of folks are working together in one of the newly designed collaborative workspaces. In one corner, 2 students conduct a lively focus group with 10 community members. In another corner, a faculty member and 2 more students revise a press release announcing an important upcoming event. And in the center of the room are 4 faculty members, 10 students, and 2 executives from a local non-profit, all moving pieces around on their whiteboard diagram labeled “the big strategy.” Everyone is working together -- on different aspects of one big project -- to intervene in a complex issue of local importance -- regional voter registration and turnout, maybe, or the environmental justice implications of a proposed riverfront development.
What will it take to create Convergence Labs at Georgetown? Quite a few incremental innovations, but their precedents emerged in prior Red House projects and collaborations. As the Red House moves into its second half-decade of existence, its successes in the first allow increasingly innovative and ambitious projects like Convergence Labs to develop.
Of course there will be lots of work necessary to get something like Convergence Labs off the ground, including efforts beyond what’s named in the chart above, such as recruiting individual participants, developing plans and models for how Lab teams will work together, and figuring out how we’ll evaluate the success of such projects. But we’re at the beginning, and the ideas and tasks laid out here constitute the building blocks of Convergence Labs to come.
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