The CoLab

The 100RC CoLab brings together a range of partners from across industries and disciplines to drive innovation in services, tools, and products, in a way that supports and contributes to existing local initiatives and opportunities.

Tool Overview

A critical challenge in building resilience is enabling cities and potential partners to collaborate on identifying solutions that address urban challenges. 100RC developed the CoLab (Collaboration Workshop) to bring 100RC partners, experts, and city representatives together to drive innovation and collaboration on intransigent challenges that are too complex for any one sector or discipline to solve, or existing market solution to tackle. Specific objectives are to:

The 100RC CoLab Tool was developed in 2017 by 100 Resilient Cities to kickstart new kinds of collaborations and identify innovative and collaborative solutions and practices needed to bridge those gaps endemic to highly complex, systemic urban issues. CoLabs bring together a range of partners from across industries and disciplines to drive innovation in services, tools, and products, in a way that supports and contributes to existing local initiatives and opportunities.

The CoLab facilitates exploration and work on the challenge by partners and cities. They typically focus on a real place or situation and supports and contributes to existing local initiatives and opportunities. Past participants have included academic institutions such as Aristotle University and Washington University in St. Louis; private sector companies such as Ernst and Young, Siemens, and AECOM; and civil society organizations like GeoHazards International, Build Change, and Urban Land Institute; and financing institutions such as the World Bank.

The CoLab results in accelerated work in the city by generating stakeholder buy in, and identifying and developing actionable solutions. It also builds fields advancement through innovating new, collaborative solutions for deployment in cities and producing resilience guidance for practitioners. The CoLab also leads to network development building collaboration among cities, stakeholders, and partners.

The CoLab typically guides the participants through the following five steps:

Step Purpose Format
Set the Scene Ensure all participants have a clear understanding of the topic and its relevance locally and globally Pre-reading, site visits, best practice case studies, local stakeholder presentations
Use a Resilience Lens Define how the topic relates to the City’s risk profile, resilience priorities, and qualities of resilient systems Group exercises applying resilience frameworks to the CoLab topic, visioning exercises
Analyze the Situation Identify the dynamics that are currently creating challenges, map the root causes and effects, identify work already underway and known best practices as well as gaps and needs for interventions Group exercises around a problem tree mapping out the issues at play in relation to the CoLab topic
Develop Solutions Identify new services, tools, approaches, activities, and products that need to be applied/developed to address existing gaps Design sprint methodology developed by Stanford University
Plan Next Steps Agree on and plan for next steps to advance the solutions Presentation to decision-makers, call for collaborators, work plan development, one-on-one meetings

CoLab participants in Cali, Colombia explore ideas and innovations to make schools safer and more resilient. Learn more.

CoLab topics chosen are resilience building challenges faced by multiple cities and cannot be solved with one technical solution but require a cross-industry or cross-discipline, multi-partner response.

In 2018, 100RC partnered with member cities to host the first 6 CoLabs:

  1. Resilient Economic Development in Louis, Missouri, USA
  2. Resilient School Infrastructure in Cali, Colombia
  3. Leveraging Transport Investments to Deliver Resilience Benefits in Thessaloniki, Greece
  4. Building a Water Resilient City in Cape Town, South Africa
  5. Harnessing the Power of Data in New York City, USA
  6. Inclusive and Safe Streets in Accra, Ghana

As our cities develop and implement their Resilience Strategies, they learn to evaluate their challenges and opportunities in innovative ways that account for their complex ecosystems. Building resilience requires a reappraisal of established players and practices, and appropriate scales that provide the most effective interventions. Bridging the gap between available tools and services, and the challenges cities face is key to developing urban resilience. The solutions that the CoLab unlock can redefine this fundamental interface.

Key Facts

Project Phase: Enabling Environment / Idea, Project Definition

Scale: Problem or system (topics can range from broad to specific)

Format: 2-3 day workshop

Key Participants: City, cross sector expertise

Outputs: Comprehensive report, 8-12 actionable solutions

CoLab Resources

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