Our Framework

Who is Colabs for?

Colabs is for anyone who is:

to deepen their awareness and understanding around complex social issues

to explore new ways of making progress on these complex social issues

to work with a diverse group of people, and deal with ambiguity, uncertainty and emergence 

Principles of Colabs

Our three principles underpin the creation of an inspiring, insightful, and meaningful experiences for the Colabs community.
three principles pink pie chart graphic
1. activate empathy
  • To understand the system and its beneficiaries with compassion
  • To stir members’ emotions and appeal to their humanity
  • To increase their motivation to act
2. expand Cognitive understanding
  • To develop a deeper appreciation for the complexity of the issue
  • To increase collective knowledge and understanding towards the issue
3. build Community
  • To transcend self-interest and work towards achieving greater impact together
  • To identify and leverage strengths of members for collaborative action

The Colabs Journey

The Colabs Journey comprises of three key phases – Learn, Align and Act. This journey is not a perfectly linear process as complex challenges require an iterative approach.
learn align act pink graphic
1. Learn
  • To increase awareness about the issue and initiatives in the landscape
  • To acquire emergent insights arising from collective knowledge exchange and sensemaking
  • To have a deeper appreciation about the complexity in the ecosystem and understand its inter-relationships
2. Align
  • To align priorities based on emergent insights
  • To identify opportunities, assets and strengths in the community for collaborations
  • To garner support from stakeholders to collaborate
3. Act
  • To share expertise and resources across stakeholders based on emergent insights
  • To collaborate for greater social impact

Series Outline

Participants would go through the Colabs journey from inaugural to alignment session, working towards potential collaborations post-series.

The 10 steps to run a colabs process

10 step iterative process 10

This diagram represents the 10 steps in designing a Colabs series. The course of action begins from the innermost circle and moves outwards, representing an iterative loop.

Step 1
10 step iterative process 01
1. Sensemaking

Before embarking on a Colabs series, it is essential to sensemake and assess the suitability of Colabs as an approach to resolve the intended complex issue.

Step 2
10 step iterative process 02
2. Landscape Research

After determining that it is suitable to adopt Colabs as an approach, it is important to conduct landscape research to map the stakeholders and have a comprehensive understanding of the space.

Step 3
10 step iterative process 03
3. Aspiration Statement Confirmation

With a good understanding of the space/cause, the organisers can then craft the aspiration statement. The aspiration statement is intended to act as a scoping mechanism and should incorporate the direction/ intended outcome of the series.

Step 4
10 step iterative process 04
4. Series Outline

The organising team should come together to discuss and determine the number of sessions to hold, format of sessions, key objectives and takeaways of each session.

Step 5
10 step iterative process 05
5. Resource Planning

With a good grasp of the space and scope of the series, the organisers can then conduct work planning to decide the resources required.

10 step iterative process 05

Sensemaking is a crucial (reiterative) step in the workflow. At the end of every phase, there should be collective sensemaking by the organising team to decide if the team/stakeholders are ready to proceed to the next course of action.

Once the organising team determines that the landscape research and aspiration statement are robust, we can engage the relevant stakeholders.

Step 6
10 step iterative process 06
6. Stakeholder Engagement

With your best clarity of “who’s who” from the landscape research, and intention of the Colabs issue, this conversation aims to identify who to invite to join Colabs, and how they may play a role in the process.

Engage these stakeholders and determine their suitability of stakeholders as participants, resource persons or speakers to be invited to the Colabs sessions.

10 step iterative process 06

Based on the insights derived from stakeholder engagements, determine if the organising team should conduct further research, refine the aspiration statement or involve more stakeholders in the process design.

Step 7
10 step iterative process 07
7. Session Design

Plan an insightful and holistic Colabs series for the participants. Determine the format of the session and ensure that the three core principles of the Colabs framework are incorporated.

Step 8
10 step iterative process 08
8. Operations

Determine the necessary resources, materials, setup and logistics required to execute the session effectively.

Step 9
10 step iterative process 09
9. Session Hosting

Ensure a smooth execution of the session where members are engaged and enriched and that the objectives of the session are met.

10 step iterative process 09

Upon completion of each session, consolidate the insights derived. With the insights, make follow-up conversations, facilitate connections and explore collaborations between relevant members. Factor these insights into the programme design for the next session.

Step 10
10 step iterative process 10
10. Community Growth

Build relationships amongst the community of changemakers for continuous collaboration. Constantly engage the community post-series through related events, newsletters, forums.

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