2012 Recalibration of the Labs

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return to Sustainability Labs
go to Labs Highlights
go to Labs Sessions - Q4 2012



  • What day and time to meet
    • Meet on Fridays at 2:00 p.m.
  • How long to meet
    • Meet for 1.5 hours (done by 3:30 p.m. then clean up by 4:00 p.m.)
  • How long does activity take?
    • Try to break things up into design experiment one week, execute the next. For longer activities, try to break up into multiple weeks, or set aside special time as needed for longer continuous needs.
    • Get done early, stop for day. Run over, go ahead and leave at the appointed time.
    • Make specific Labs "meeting" with finite time frame; separate out activities where timing not known for sure.
  • Timekeeper


  • Nature of what we do - structure
    • Likes - do hands on first, then analysis/discussion after so that we make sure to get to the experiment intended for the week.
    • Dislikes - firefighting, tax credits
  • Planning vs. Firefighting
    • How to handle "last minute" requests
      • Direct people with ideas to the Labs Idea Bin with link to send idea to the Labs Google Groups email address LLC ADD TO WIKI LABS IDEA BIN
    • Requests from the Boss
      • Review planned activities and rework priorities if necessary based on input
    • Certain number of planned/structured sessions with periodic free form days to catch up with requests?
      • First Friday will be flex day to catch up on things; otherwise, will plan for the month and stick to executing what is planned.
  • Outside presenters for learning periodically? Like-dislike?
    • Like in limited quantities. Allow for one per month (as needed) on First Friday Flex Day at the Labs.
    • Could use time from 1:30-2:00 p.m. for special guest if special circumstances warranted it.


  • Communication/analysis between sessions
    • Use Labs Google Groups - has other interested parties associated with the Group
    • Use email with just the core group for any analysis or detailed needs
  • Reporting out findings - keeping Tom in the loop
    • Conversation - refer to Wiki table of contents
  • Sending information out vs. making it available and communicating where it is
    • Time to do the "as-builts" for the first year of the Labs accomplishments
  • Community updates somewhat defunct
    • Is Community Update going to continue? Talk to the Boss about maybe having a monthly issues instead of weekly? Kirsten touched base with Jason, and thought it sounds good. Need to find out what week to target for the update to be published.


  • Part time Volunteers? What to do with them? Only certain sessions? Always open? Stop and "catch them up"? Is Labs really a good candidate for volunteers?
    • Generally, Labs seems to require more cohesive efforts, so not really a good place for fluctuating volunteers or volunteers that do not actually materialize. Would need to establish commitment before able to involve in core activities.
  • New people to group? How to integrate
    • Switch so that we do hands on activity first, then talk about it and analyze after. When we perform experiments or take measurements, we talk about what we are doing at the time enough that someone can catch on or ask questions. Then, analysis can continue the next week or through communications once measurements or results are obtained.
  • How to handle fluctuations in people attending
    • Direct new people to the Wiki first, then invite to a Friday. If still interested and attend 2nd or 3rd Lab, then can start to integrate. Labs are typically on-going for more than one week, so need to keep focus and move forward even if new people attending.
  • Public side open forum and less public side committed core group? Controlled vs unknowns
    • Develop the Help Wanted page further for items that can be compartmentalized and saved for influx of additional help or volunteers. Individuals can view Help Wanted and see if there is someone interested to fit the help needed.