The Sustainable Oceans Lab is a next generation social lab. It builds on a decade of cutting-edge practice of applying a labs based approach to socio-environmental challenges.

The Lab is a space dedicated to supporting a diverse team of stakeholders, the Lab Team, to co-create and test strategic responses to the challenge of ocean sustainability. 

The first step of the work involves identifying Lab Team members. Through stakeholder mapping and interviewing a broad range of stakeholders, a Lab Team has been composed. This Lab Team consists of organizations from civil society, government and the business community. A particular focus was given to include regional and national  multi-stakeholder initiatives active in the sustainable management of oceans.

This Lab Team will work to build a shared systemic understanding of the interlinked challenges facing the oceans.  Participants will spend time going through a process of conscious observation, where together they will undertake visits to different parts of the ocean system. 

Bringing together diverse stakeholders means bringing together muliple perspectives on the challenges we are facing.

This diversity serves as a way of grasping the scale and complexity of the situation, as well as supporting the creation of innovative strategies. Structured and meaningful dialogue to truly understand diverse perspectives and interests at play is a first step towards addressing our oceans challenges through joint action.

Reflecting on this shared understanding, the Lab Team will examine the strategies of their own organizations and initiatives, seeking to build on and improve them. Through a reflective dialogue process, participants will also consider critically the need for innovative, new strategies to address any systemic risk perceived in existing strategies.

Working together, the Lab Team will be invited to develop a portfolio of focused interventions that aim to address the challenge of “How can we work together to enhance the sustainable management of our marine ecosystems globally?” 

As the Lab unfolds the Lab Team will be actively soliciting inputs, reflections and ideas from the wider ocean community. The aspiration is to locate the Lab as part of this community, supporting work that is already being undertaken and, where appropriate, building on it. During the course of the Lab we actively communicate through multiple mediums that will allow access to proceedings and developments as they unfold.

The methodology of the Lab is built on enabling deep and meaningful dialogues to address complex challenges. The goal of these will be to support Lab Team members to take action within their own spheres of influence and at the level of the wider ocean community. This will include collective innovation processes, rapid prototyping of strategies and an experimental “fail-safe” trial and error approach that focuses on fostering collective action.