Luiss Lab

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The Laboratory for the Governance of Commons (hereinafter “LabGov”) holds an in house clinic for LUISS Guido Carli University students aspiring to become social, economic, institutional and legal innovators. Practice area is the commons. A powerful new social class is on the rise. It is a class of active citizens, social innovators, makers and the creative class, sharing economy experts, collaborative services designers and co-production managers, governance and public collaboration experts. This social class is pushing or nudging society, business and institutions towards a new frontier. Student interns will have primary responsibility to build or develop projects that must come to life or need to take their first moves in the real world during the clinic, by contributing to practically implement innovation in areas where innovation has not been brought yet or accelerating the innovation power of preexisting projects. In 2013 Labgov was devoted to the subject “The city as a commons“, while in 2014 it was focused on “Culture as a commons“. In academic year 2014-2015 the main subject of study will be “green governance“, to be understood as a social, economic, institutional and legal technology. The topic will be discussed and analysed according to the typical approach of the governance of the commons, in order to convey public and community resources, efforts, energies towards the effective co-management of commons. Student interns will be urban green spaces, rural lands and landscape, the environment at large, which should be seen and perceived as the primary source for sustenance, nourishment, progress, development and, therefore individual and collective wellbeing. The ultimate goal is to put forward, communicate and implement a national strategy of governance to manage land as a commons. Therefore LabGov will be devoted to the subjects of environment, agriculture, food (hereinafter “LabGov 2015”).

In order to pursue this goal, Labgov 2015 student interns will be engaged in moments of professional/practical training (i.e. co-working sessions) – that will make them acquire the technical and practical skills such as research and design tools, web & media communication techniques and project management capabilities -, intertwined with more theoretical workshops. The educational, teaching and training paradigm Labgov relies upon is focused on the “learning by doing” approach. Labgov aims at engage student interns in a collaborative and creative educational program through a process of capabilities and skills development, knowledge sharing, mutual and reciprocal transfer of practical and soft skills, as well as on the capacity to teamwork, ultimately stimulating design thinking capabilities and the acquisition of the theoretical tools needed to cope with the most complex challenges of our times and be the answer to challenges they decide to tackle by shaping creative solutions.

In academic year 2014/2015, the educational path is open to students enrolled in the second and third year of the Bachelor Degree in the departments of Business and Management, Finance and Economics and Political Science, and II, III, IV and V year of the Degree in Law (hereinafter “Labgovers 2015”).

The in house clinic is articulated in 4 colloquia (hereinafter “workshops“), 4 interactive sessions with a weekend schedule (hereinafter “co-working sessions“). In addition Labgovers 2015 will be asked to collaborate in the design and management activities to implement the ideas and projects that will eventually emerge during workshops and co-working sessions. The research field will be Rome and the community garden LUISS University is opening up within its premises (hereinafter “fieldwork“).

The total amount of hours for Labgov 2015 is equal to 100 hours. The 4 workshops will have a duration of 3 hours each for a total of 12 hours. The 4 co-working sessions (one on field) in a weekend schedule will have the duration of 10 hours each (3 hours Friday afternoon, 7 hours on Saturdays) for a total of 40 hours. The Remaining 48 hours are dedicated to fieldwork.

In order to get the 4 credits awarded by the clinic students are required to attend 80% of the total amount of the in house clinic hours. Participants could therefore miss a maximum of 20 hours, only 5 of which from fieldwork activities.

The educational activities will be distributed during the months of October, November, February, March and April, but the schedule will be organized in a flexible manner: the distribution of activities and assignment of duties reflects the attempt not to overload students during finals preparation, trying at the same time to motivate them in managing their assignments in a responsible and dynamic manner.

The in house clinic will be directed by prof. Christian Iaione.

The workshops and co-working sessions will involve and ensure the participation of professors from different departments of LUISS University willing to share their innovative expertise, as well as scholars, business experts, practitioners, activists and all those innovators who can bring their experience from the field to the classroom and draw public attention to Labgov 2015 projects and objectives.

Workshops will be designed to help participants think about potentials of the principle of circular subsidiarity enshrined in Article 118, last paragraph of the Italian Constitution, and its possible intersections with the phenomena of social, economic, institutional and legal innovation. In our quest for the vital root of the social, economic, institutional and legal innovation the analysis of the “Bologna Regulation” on collaboration between active citizens and public administration for the care and regeneration of urban commons, will be at the heart of each workshop.

Co-working sessions will be characterized by an experiential approach that will always be coupled with didactic support and theoretical thinking. Co-working session will be led by prominent scholars, practitioners and professionals on selected topics. Participants are required to attend the co-working sessions in order to apply the necessary tools to design and implement governance plans. The fieldwork will be carried out mainly in Rome and especially in the “Orto condiviso”, the community garden situated in the Viale Romania Luiss Campus. The Orto condiviso will act as the playfield where student interns will get the chance to exercise their capabilities, skills and competences in designing, prototyping and managing a governance scheme for a commons. The “Orto condiviso” will also offer team-building opportunities  through social eating events, which will also foster a better understanding of the agricultural and food industry.

As part of the academic program, Labgov will use an innovative system to monitor student interns activities. This system is centered upon a logic similar to the so called ‘time banks’. Devised during the first two editions of Labgov, the so-called ‘Commoning Machine’ will be used to check not only the actual hours of attendance during the program, but also to measure the quality of the efforts, commitment and results that each student intern undertakes outside of the workshop and co-working sessions hours. The Commoning Machine si designed to foster horizontal collaboration and to promote the mutual exchange of expertise. By assigning a conventional weighting to the activities that do not require a presence, the Commoning Machine allows students greater flexibility in the management of time, while still allowing to assess the real contribution of each student intern to Labgov activities, in light of the final output. The centerpiece of such mechanism is a system of exchange of skills and knowledge within the group, to favor the rotation of roles and competences among the various members. The logic behind it aims at offering young people with the opportunity, in the interests of everyone and Labgov, to enhance their skills as individual and as members of a group or team, to acquire the necessary flexibility to manage the different activities, challenges, needs the in house clinic asks for and to develop multitasking capabilities and complex projects management skills. Other tools will be made available to participants as well as other tools developed by Labgov during the previous editions, to promote collaboration, co-design, co-management, such as the “Handbook of Collaboration” and the “Co-Design Toolkit”.

Finally Labgov will activate synergies with other LUISS actors (LUISS sostenibile, LUISS Web Tv, Radio Luiss, Green Consumption Lab) and external partners (eg. Expo 2015, Hortus Urbis, Roma Capitale, Rural Hub, Sharitaly).

LabGov is a unique opportunity to experience innovation and creativity by meshing theoretical knowledge with fieldwork, as well as a wonderful playfield to acquire and exercise skills that are required by leading institutions: entrepreneurship, sense of responsibility, patience, care, flexibility, curiosity, creativity, communication and complex projects management.