Concept Working Draft - December 2nd

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OPENLAB is a solutions lab, convener, and consultancy designed to accelerate the speed and impact of transformational change in the GLAM (gallery, library, archive, and museum) sector.

GLAMs have some of the most profound and important missions in society: to increase and disseminate knowledge; to encourage civic dialogue and engagement; and to support individuals in their right to access and participate in culture. These outcomes are critical if we are to have strong, happy citizens and wise, resilient communities in the 21st century.

Technology provides GLAMs with new opportunities to dramatically increase the scale and impact of their work. The Internet connects more than half of humanity; and digitization, open access, and new forms of collaboration and production expand the capabilities and obligations of all civic institutions. But change is difficult and GLAMs struggle to recognize and exploit these opportunities.

Small institutions struggle to experiment and begin the process of digital engagement. Large institutions struggle to innovate and begin the process of digital transformation. Visionary institutions struggle to sustain innovation and deepen the impact of their programs. Everyone struggles with disruption and change.

OPENLAB is a group of funders and partners who help GLAMs use technology to see beyond their own traditions and imagine new ways to work, share, and create value in society. OPENLAB does this work through three complementary programs.

OPENLAB SOLUTIONS is an instigator, incubator, and digital studio that accelerates the adoption of technologies and best practices across the GLAM sector. The Solutions team creates disruptive prototypes and pragmatic turn-key solutions; tests new business models; conducts leadership and technology training; and publishes case studies, standards, and how-to guides to catalyze sector-wide change.

The OPENLAB COLLABORATIVE is a consortium of innovation labs from across the corporate, government, and social sectors. Labs are a nexus of talent and innovation but they tend to work in isolation: members of the Openlab Collaborative pool their expertise and resources to attack annual challenge goals and sponsor a cultural sector X-Prize.

The OPENLAB NETWORK is the global community that provides the governance, support, and leadership framework for OPENLAB. The Network includes the Openlab Fellows program, which advances targeted research and change initiatives; and Openlab Chapters, which enable OPENLAB’s mission to be championed and scaled at the local, regional, and national/international levels. Openlab StartCamp workshops and conferences provide a forum for professional development and knowledge exchange; and Openlab’s blog and social media presence builds the expertise and accomplishments of network members into a movement and validates the importance of emerging practices.

OPENLAB accelerates change across the global GLAM sector for less than 0.004% of the combined annual budgets of American libraries and museums.