Who needs this?

We have been isolated and battered by Covid’s constraints. Social awkwardness and avoidance, along with appealing stay-at-home screen communication have eroded our confidence in “meeting the other” in person.

ConversationLabs is a new social form that lets participants safely meet “strangers” or revitalize existing relationships with unexpected personal stories. ConversationLabs are learning labs.

The ConversationLabs had this magic touching place, beyond time and the actual room where we sat.

Lab Participant
Location, Sweden

1.  Refreshing existing teams or launching new ones within organizations

“I’ve worked with Shawn for eight years and I now see I didn’t know very much about his story. Now I want to hear more.”

“This team has some interesting people!”

2.  Onboarding new staff and board members

“How welcoming was my first day! Now I know three current and two other new staff!”

How great to build my confidence with the existing administrator and two current board members! As a cautious new board member, it was unexpected and really fun!”

3.  Community organizations to set a basis for trust before (and ongoing to support) existing “agendas of issues” are addressed

Before facing existing “agendas of issues,” community organizations can set a basis for trust – and use these labs to support us moving forward.

“We have some sticky things to work through, but starting with this ConversationLab really set us all up in a positive mood, ready to listen.  I wish we would have had this last year.”

4.  Congregations where drift has emerged from Covid habit life and technology entertainment is curtailing engagement

“We are trying to bring more young people in and also to inspire our congregation to get out and join us for services. ConversationLabs is a very appealing offer to both groups.”

5.  Inter-generational exploration to weave our sense of our common humanity

“Between technology and Covid’s ‘shelter in place and masking,’ has amplified the segregation of our younger and older staff. Finding common ground through short, powerful story-sharing really built interest in the others. Being listened to without interruption was very powerful. People said they had a lot to learn from each other.”

6.  Elders in assisted living centers

“We are investing so much in the physical environment and in caring staff, but what our activity directors have struggled with is an ongoing sense of displacement and isolation. Our residents have rich lifetimes and many stories to tell. Before we had ConversationLabs available to them, we did not have a ‘simple’ social form to support them. We’re seeing residents want to use them when they have their families come!”

7.  Citizen groups striving to build bridges to support a recovery of democracy

“Our district is highly polarized:  red/blue/purple/green. And there is very limited opportunities to remember we are all here in America and agree on 90%+ of what matters to us as we strive to recover a functioning democracy. Hosting ConversationLabs where we join “mixed learning labs” and get to listen and share our stories has really brought a whole new avenue of local connectedness. We’re seeing people return again and again.”

8.  Faculties and administrators in schools and higher education

“Professionals in education in general are under so much pressure with the expectations that we’ll “fix” everything. Bringing our faculty and staff together to really get to know each other as human beings rather than just colleagues paddling as fast as we can, has been a welcome relief! 

It seems so obvious in retrospect that we can build trust by sharing stories and having a reasonable amount of set-aside time for open conversation – but before ConversationLabs, we defaulted to our earlier routines. 

From all we’re hearing, with the external pressure and uncertainty, etc., what we can count on is each other – and now those bridges are being reinforced in a fun way that does not burden anyone!”

9.  High school students, with each other and with parents and/or teachers

“With Covid and technology, with a cell phone in every hand, our youngsters have little experience in co-creating a meaningful conversation with people they don’t know, as well as with acquaintances and friends. Conversations with parents and teachers are often rather abbreviated. Introducing ConversationLabs to small groups, initially, gave us confidence to open up the experience to all those who heard about it and were interested. The skill-building and confidence building go hand in hand, just through participation!”