I’d like to tell you the whole story. But here’s a tiny summary for now:
We ran a social lab (see social-labs.com) in partnership with New Zealand’s Ministry of Social Development. We had a team of 3-5 people over 5 years build a very small set of organisational infrastructure to build a cross-sectoral movement of people solving complex problems.
Our practical work ranged from 3 days events and online courses, to cross sector roundtables and venture accelerator programs. Our theory of change was that we needed to run experiments with and for the space “in between” existing industries to build system capacity to make big changes to the way we support young people to flourish in New Zealand.
Our funding structure was incredible interesting, and required us to innovate significantly on evaluation, reporting, measurement and power dynamics. Our funding relationship with MSD was very supportive and we had a broad mandate to explore: how might we enable a generation of young New Zealanders to flourish, and leverage technology to do so?
We worked with thousands of people across the country and discovered deeply seated root causes of mental health issues and suicide rates. The top ones were: economic insecurity & income inequality, racial discrimination & colonialism, workaholism, and a popular culture that values a very narrow definition of success. There are so many arms to this octopus.
We also discovered the the mental health sector needs upskilling in it’s capacity to engage young people as EXPERTS in their own lived experience, and to involve them as designers of the services they receive. Additionally, young people benefit from strong communities which encourage them to build their sense of unique identity, belonging, safety and health as well as civic engagement. The more engaged and active a young person is in creating the world around them, the happier and more agentic they are. They can be supported to turn their own traumas into strengths, and lead other young people towards a brighter future.
There is so much more to say – please see lifehackhq.co for all our reports and stories.