ULab and Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0
Photo: Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0 Summary Report
What does a global initiative of wellness look like? This blog will have a series of posts about my own journey co-facilitating the Ulab, a methodology for personal and social change.
This post shares how the ULab methodology was applied to a larger Lab of global change makers to address Global Wellbeing Lab 2.0, an action-learning platform, co-founded by the GIZ Global Leadership Academy (GLAC)  (Germany), the Presencing Institute (Cambridge, MA), and the Gross National Happiness Centre (Bhutan) to advance new ways of generating and measuring wellbeing at multiple levels in society.
They recently released a report encapsulating their journey since 2013. Here is how they describe the ULab process:
"Theory UThe Lab was designed on the principles of Theory U – an innovation process that individuals and groups can use to suspend habitual ways of paying attention, access deeper sources of knowing, and explore the future they want to create through rapid-cycle prototyping. Developed by Lab co-facilitator Otto Scharmer along with colleagues at MIT, Theory U has been field-tested in multi-stakeholder innovation processes around the world over the past two decades.
One way the U process differs from other innovation processes is in its emphasis on co-sensing. Co-sensing helps us connect with and tune in to the contexts that matter; moving into a state of seeing in which the boundary between observer and observed begins to collapse and in which the system begins to see itself.
One of the key U-based methods we use in the Lab is learning journeys (sometimes called sensing journeys). A learning journey is a deep-dive immersion into places that have the potential to teach us about the emerging future. To prepare for learning journeys, participants are coached to not only look for innovative solutions, but also pay particular attention to the way they are paying attention: to look for information that disconfirms their own expectations and to interact with the key innovators and stakeholders in that community with an open mind and open heart. We will describe the specific learning journeys in more detail below."
I like how they paid attention to an aspect of change work that is often characterized as friction, but I think this friction is often where the heat of innovation forges new outcomes: "
Three key characteristics underpin the nature of social labs in our view: