Social labs bring multiple and diverse stakeholders together to brainstorm innovative solutions to complex challenges. WellAhead’s hypothesis was that the input from multiple perspectives would result in more innovative, outside-the-box everyday practices, and that communities would welcome these fresh new ideas. This did not end up being the case: the practices that emerged from co-design at the district level were for the most part not “innovations”; they were either established practices in local schools, or drawn from existing evidence-based programs.
This raised a question for us about the strongest challenge or question for communities to co-design solutions to. From our previous research, we knew that evidence-based approaches meet significant challenges to wider adoption due to their costs, time for training, and complex implementation protocols.1 Given that everyday practices were already happening in schools, it was perhaps not new ideas that were needed, but rather innovation on how to better leverage and scale up adoption of existing practices.
Embry and Biglan (2008). Evidence-based Kernels: Fundamental Units of Behavioral Influence. Clin Child Fam Psychol Rev. 11(3) 75-113