MASH Lab

image of people shaking handsDudley’s MASH Lab will run from April to December 2012 and provide many people from different groupsand organisations opportunities to be supported to work creatively, to innovate, to network, to develop collaboration and effectively ustilise assets and resources available.

It will be what is known as a whole systems approach – thinking about the relationships between services and assets (including people and organisations).

A 9 month experiment:  

  • April 2012: Launch of MASH Lab – an event to share the broad idea of MASH and to collaboratively select a realistic number of areas of work to test in the MASH Lab over the next 8 months
  • May 2012: MASH preparation – a series of discussions and activities around agreed areas of work supported by project teams to prepare people for a MASH Lab event and inform the content and approach of the event itself.
  • June 2012: MASH Lab event to allow key thinkers, influencers, technologists and service users to come together to work intensely and constructively on developing a vision for how things could be. Participants will learn about MASH principles, and explore ways to take them forward.
  • June-November 2012: MASH in action – network-style collaborative and asset based activities to progress work streams identified and committed to. Each network will be responsible for agreeing when its work is done.
  • November 2012: MASH Learning Event will take place in November 2012, with all work streams and project teams coming together.  The timing will enable outcomes and proposals for future work to feed in to decision making processes and budget-setting.
Reasons for doing this work
Funding cuts from Central Government to local public sector agencies means that they can no longer afford to provide all the services and facilities that they do. This copuld have detrimental impact upon the citizens and communities of the borough. The voluntary, community and faith sector, citizens and others, such as existing and new enterprises, can help to reduce any negative impact if more collaborative ways of working are found.
Designing and delivering collaboratively leads to a more diverse range / system of service and support opportunities. Such diversity and flexibility are essential for resilience.  “The ability to self-organise is the strongest form of system resilience. A system that can evolve can survive almost any change, by changing itself… insistence on a single culture shuts down learning and cuts back resilience.”  (Donella Meadows)
We hope that some of the outcomes of our MASH Lab will be:
  • A greater understanding and awareness of the challenges and opportunities facing Dudley borough and the talent and resources available to tackle them
  • Development of relationships across traditional boundaries which allow new networks, partnerships and programmes to emerge
  • Commitment to practical action – developing a big vision that can be pursued through little steps
  • The development of new skills and roles across a range of teams and organisations
  • The experience of new ways of working.
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3 responses

  1. […] 17 April will see the launch of Dudley’s MASH Lab.  This has evolved from the OUr Society: Our Solutions research and discussions which have taken […]

  2. Come and see how the community in Wrens Nest and Priory is coming together to take control of their community through collaborative action . They have identified many of the barriers and solutions at a community level that you have identified at your larger event. Namely “Red Tape”
    and Decision making in isolation at the local authority and between local athority directorates and departments without understanding community impact and the broader connections/ramifications is a major frustration. Local communities continue to provide many preventative and much more appropriate services for very little cost and they know how to collaborate across the sectors without all the red tape and understand the needs of their communities very well

  3. Hi @commren
    Thank you for your comment. One of our goals with Our Society is to recognise what communities are already doing and have been doing for years. The MASH Lab launch event hasn’t taken place yet, groups from Wrens Nest and Priory are welcome to participate if they wish to.
    I wholeheartedly agree that local groups have a deep understanding of their communities and often collaborate very well, and that sometimes the most helpful thing that the public sector can do is step back and let people just get on with it.

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