What labs would you like to see 2021?

We’re off to a great start of 2021! In February we organized Civic Tech Lab: Community Tools with loads of great input from you!

My name is Mattias and I will be the head organizer for the Civic Tech Labs during 2021. I’m starting off with asking you what labs you would like to see during this year?


Below is a list that you can vote in and I would love for your comments and suggestions below. The topics are deliberately vague as a conversation starter. Do some of them resonate with you? Vote on as many as you like and elaborate, build upon ideas and remix as much as you like by making comments below. Together with your remixes we make new suggestions and turn these into labs!
What topics resonate with you? (anonymous voting, choose as many options as you like)
  • Social Movements and security issues: best secure digital tools 2021
  • Community Management
  • New ways of thinking about and doing your yearly meetings (årsmöte)
  • The long run: how to work sustainable over time
  • Participatory democracy
  • How to co-create society
  • More about community engagement
  • Idéburet Offentligt Partnerskap (IOP)
  • Accessibility
  • Text and language lab: how to use texts that include and encourage engagement in your projects, apps, e-mails etc.
  • Open mobility (open source and open data connected to mobility)
  • Working with the public sector as a partner
  • Changing policy and law
  • The money problem (how, what)
  • The long run, money lab: Sustainable economic co-operations
  • Reach out: how do you reach people with your ideas and projects 2021?

0 röster


Thanks again for a great lab on community tools! I got two thoughts from reading your post.

  1. We (RFSU) are a part of the Ideell Arena Security Network. Read more here: https://www.ideellarena.se/natverk/sakerhetsnatverket/. Maybe some kind of collab would be interesting?

  2. I would like to explore tools and process design to facilitate slow dialogue regarding ideology and other fundamental values within a community. That is processes where the result is not necessarily solving problems/tasks but rather keep the conversation alive.


Wholeheartedly yes! I think that these framework discussions are more than necessary, even more so to become a community.

There is a softer aspect to this too: besides doing together, there is also a need for being together. Maybe something as simple as online mingling, before or after an event.

These days there are free services that try to replicate the conference experience, allowing you to wonder around and bump into people :slight_smile: . But even something as simple and silly as a spreadsheet party, can be very fun and also play an important role.


I might have something that interest you. People Need People Online is a facilitation process somewhat for this purpose. Like you mention, it’s not for finding solutions but to build more relationships in the community, and within the people themselves. It’s a process that crosses many context to make sense together.

I am a certified host, so in case anyone is interested, I could facilitate such a session as a part of a lab. However, it would require around 1,5 hours which might be a stretch for the context of a lab. However, it might bring the civic tech community closer together in the process :slight_smile: The People Need People process is designed by Nora Bateson and based on her work with Warm Data. She’s based in Stockholm actually. If this sounds somewhat interesting, you can read more here: https://www.peopleneedpeople.online/pnp-online


Haha, I would LOVE to go on a party in a shared spreadsheet! :joy:But I’m possibly very geeky and a bit too fond of spreadsheets for my own and everyone else’s best… :heart::bar_chart:Don’t miss checking out the end result of the party that you linked to!

@mattiasjay and I attended a training today on engaging online meetings where we started the session with a fun Zoom game. That gave us the idea of having a whole lab with Zoom games! How do you like that idea? It could include a pre- and afterparty in a shared spreadsheet! :tada::joy_cat:


Yeah, that was supercool :blush:. I’ll leave a teaser here for people who stumble upon this thread, but clicking though is a must - plenty more where this came from :slightly_smiling_face:

Absolutely! Playing is the best way to learn, and I think a lot of people would like some tools in this particular toolbox. Could also look like a board game night for the participants = fun in the spreadsheet party sense :grinning:. (Of course, nothing beats/cannot-be-enhanced-by a pre-/afterparty at an actual spreadsheet :wink:)


Very interesting Jonathan! I would like to something like that run at a local municipality level, e.g. a periodic workshop every few months. I bet the results would be :100:


Yes! That’s the kind of setting where I think this method would be super interesting too. Like a collective psychedelic, allowing for new cultural neural pathways to be shaped by reflecting the interdependencies (in their organization and with the world at large).

If you know any such setting open for experimentation, please let me know :slight_smile:


I am trying out Wonder atm. Easy and quite intuitive to use. I like it!

These stories about silly online socializing are great! Silly is often a great way to elaborate further. I hadn’t heard of this example, thanks!


I love the conversation popping here! Great ideas from all of you @myms, @giorgos, @jonathan and @pernillan!

Slow dialogue is something the Civic Tech community can help the generally fast paced tech field with @myms, I agree we should explore this further. Your idea makes me think if we can apply “learning by doing”, as we did within the Community Tools lab. Maybe we can have a slow lab, that stretches over time?

Also the security part is both urgent and important - let’s talk more about that on the phone tomorrow @myms!

haha this is so awesome @giorgos! No doubt we should do this! (we need to do it)

I would also like to throw in @Ainali s thread “Hur driver man en ideell förening så öppet som möjligt?” to the mix (in English: “How to do a nonprofit association as open as possible”). Associations are playing around right now with digital tools, and some I’m a member of are talking about how to co-create the yearly meeting digitally. Big and small, young and old will do this somehow 2021 and within all this there could be a space for a wider conversation (a lab?) about things we talk about here.

Great idea! I believe a slow lab would suit my needs very well, namely: try, error, lab with error and hopes of development in mind, apply, error, some more lab and so on…


I’d love that as well but I guess many other expect more than a computerscreen interaction from a party. I wonder what the lasting impressions from such a spreadsheet party would be. What 's the takeaway? Do you look forward to next time or was a fun thing once?

I Always love to play and while trying out different games is fun, I’ve been to a couple of such sessions, but I’d suggest another calling question. What would be the purpose of playing games? Maybe a lab on how to socialize and have fun online, trying different platforms and game formats? Or how to create energy in a meeting, are game-energizers the way to go or can you get energy and maintain seriousness?

1 Like

I agree, I think that openess is a key, and generosity usually means getting more back than having to deal with problems. Also most things are not worth hiding, the complexity in the solutions to achieve secrecy for a select few requires more administration than most of us want. But there is a lot to understand about how openess impacts behaviour. What kind of dialogue can you have in a public space vs a closed space? Does closed space mean less respect and no need to think before you write, false security? Or is public domain a big risk because you don’t know who may read and make use of your entries. At the Swedish Red Cross we made a decision when we rebuit our intranet to make it and Open Intranet, we’ve had many discussions about this and what it means but we still believe it is beneficial. What is password protected is access to certain tools and the possibility to be part of the dialogue since we want to encourage a dialogue between red cross members and would find moderation of a public dialogue too much.

1 Like

I have no direct ideas for themese but I do love the form of labs. To just dive in a try and learn i the process is a great way to explore and find out more. I think that to be a good lab you need topics where there are multiple solutions or no clear answers. I look forward to more labs!


To be clear, I see any such “party” as an icebreaker, something to get the discussion going, not a goal in itself. I do advocate though for a “being together” event, that does not necessarily revolves around tools or presentations. Even communities of practice are communities after all :slightly_smiling_face: .

There are many ways to do this. Eg g0v in Taiwan does it by recurring hackathons - I’m not sure this is the answer here but could be an option. The important thing is to get people out of regular roles they tend to fall in, such as “Zoom attendee” or “lunch seminar participant”, and get them to communicate in real time amongst themselves.

This “real time communication” part sounds silly reading it aloud but I think the past year, with its Zoom fatigue, made things a lot worse. Offline it’s an easy-enough problem: you just gather people in the same space at the same time, eg for a presentation, and there’s almost certainly some mingling before or after. Online it’s a very hard problem and I don’t think we’ve found a good solution yet. And online is here to stay, as they say.

So I’d love to ping-pong ideas about that, and eventually eg get something like a scaled-up version of the Friday fika (which in ashamed to say I’m mostly missing due to work).

Case in point: have you thought of hosting a “hung out in our public intranet” event @asa ? It could be a digital equivalent of opening your doors and hosting people who show up just to give some feedback on your intranet or maybe just to mingle. I for once would show up, and I guess others too.

No schedule, no presentations, just your average online hung out event. Some digital coffee thermoses, a bowl of digital cookies and a big enough online hall with tall round tables and no chairs :slightly_smiling_face:

I fully agree, there is a need for something more than just a standard video-meeting. I’ve been in Zoom-partys that have worked allright having several breakouts that people can move between with different activities in each one and if in a breakout that primarily is about talking people tend to leave if the group gets too big. I’ve also played aorund with wonder but mainly for smaller events where people know each other, it would be one way to closer replicate the real time communication peopel can mingle before the presentation starts and continue talking to whoever they want after the presentation, the room never shuts down. I find that when you get a big crowd in such a tool many get a bit paralysed, if it’s hard to approach someone you don’t know it’s even harder online because you get no impression of them, wonder has tried to solve this with an icebreaker question that everybody answers when entering to give you one more clue. But in general I think that hosting a large crowd online requires a bit more hosting and props than a physical room, you have to replace the possibility to go and get a drink or a snack with something else, a void that navigating a spreadhseet house would fill. I’ve also done minitrials with gather.town in a way a slightly more complicated but with bigger opportunities to create the space. you want. To invite completely public to a “party” is an interesting thought, not exactly sure what context, I’d think you at least need some kind of calling question, hello we’re doing an X?-party here come and join. @mattiasjay that would be a great lab, how to maintain energy in a completely open real time communications party? Tring out differnt platforms letting people move around spontaneausly assessing what works or not…

1 Like

Wow! These are great experiences and observations re: mixing group size, icebreakers and tools! Many, many thanks for sharing @asa!

Lots of food for thought here, and tools to look into. Any upcoming event would be stronger by taking these into account (–:email:–> @mattiasjay :slight_smile: ) .

And now I understand better your point on maintaining energy levels - totally agree.

Yes, this is most likely needed. I was thinking about it in terms of “open doors” physical events that organizations some times have, where they call for people to drop in, get informed on what the org does, mingle and speak with the people working there etc. But I agree: any physical event transferred online is ~10x harder to organize, so some prompt is in order (to say the least).

1 Like