Collated from open questions collected from the first year of Marine CoLAB, structured and refined at the CoLAB session in January 2016

What are our Questions?


  • How to bring the ocean closer to the people?
  • How to get over the meme that 'environment is always a cost to business'? How to prove the benefits of marine conservation and show that it is productive?
  • How can diversity of views contribute to diversification of livelihoods?
  • Are values a 'landscape' element [yes] how to shift?
  • How does working with values create impact?
  • Values based approaches have been used in land management in WA - lessons for marine?
  • Are there winning theories and practice in relation to 'values' campaigns?
  • Is there a valuation model that supersedes economics (a system of values which is a superset of economic and 'other' values)?
  • What does a sustainable shipping industry look like?


  • How do we ensure we impact at system level? What does Marine CoLAB mean by 'systems change’?
  • Which systems are working, failing or in need of change?
  • Does one have to be out of the system in order to change it? How much can change be made from within? Where are the meaningful boundaries?


  • what is the change in the marine system which wish to see? what are the impacts of the projected change?
  • What change is better done by the colab working together?
  • Is there an end point short of a safe ocean?
  • How to reconcile incremental and radical change (is it possible to reconcile them at all)?
  • What are the biggest loci for change?
  • what happens if we DON’T take account of the benefits we gain from the marine environment?
  • Is it economic transformation the Marine COLAB is looking for? Perceptual shifts, cultural change, or something else?
  • Should Marine CoLAB have one or more theory of change? Is there a generic TOC or a range of context specific theories that can mobilise new voices and gather evidence? Is the uniqueness of Marine CoLAB’s TOC important? Would it not be more relevant to focus on adding value?

What is our Plan?


  • What does a lab community look like?
  • Who should be included in the lab?
  • Who is the Marine lab?
  • How do we keep the group effective as membership changes?
  • Would we accept registrations and memberships?
  • How can new/other partners get involved in the future? Strategy for engagement?
  • Do we need Lab days to pull in other orgs?
  • Can we agree now that we ignore the shark people?
  • Are the right people involved in the lab?
  • How do we get participation / buy-in from the organisations for which lab members work?
  • How will you build on the work and relationships developed up to now?

Missing skills and knowledge

  • What skills are missing form the lab?
  • What perspectives are missing from the lab?
  • Who else would you like to hear from in 2016?

Governance and operations

  • What would you like to achieve as the Marine CoLAB team? How will you know that you have achieved it? How will you organise yourselves in order to achieve it?
  • How is the lab structured and governed?
  • Will we have one overarching strategy or lots, or none? As a lab, how do we experiment with strategies?
  • How do we ensure we never lose focus across the goals?
  • What are the critical bottle necks in decision making that an improved use of values could change?
  • Targeting. what decision making already uses values and which can better inform?
  • How do we create value for individuals and organisations?
  • Meetings? Facilitated? How best to structure the time (for Marine coLAB meetings)?


  • How do we fund the MarCoLAB?
  • What are the resources currently devoted to oceans research?


  • How are we going to communicate our value? How do we communicate about the environment? There are many 'causes', communicated as being the most relevant, urgent and important to people’s lives. How to deal with that?
  • How ( and when) do we communicate about the LAB?
  • Branding? Logo? Strapline?
  • Should we wear uniforms?

Time and space

  • What is the geographic scope?
  • Should it continue beyond 2016?
  • Will there be wine when CGF leaves?
  • How does the lab give us more time?
  • Should it be time bound?

What are our actions?

  • Should we go to sea once per year?
  • How do we flag up opportunities? What new opportunities are we spotting to use values to deliver change? Can these be built on? Replicated? Are there any other existing opportunities?
  • Where / how should the frameworks research focus?

Experiments and projects

  • How to explicitly test values based research?
  • How do we decide what 'good' experiments are?
  • How long do we let experiments run?
  • How do long term experiments inform short term ones?
  • What are the ways we bring in projects?
  • Experiments form around general ides? or geographically specific needs as case study?
  • How we develop projects with focus on values or learn what values informed projects?
  • How can the results from a local experiment (e.g. the Thames fisheries) be bridged to other issues, creating an understanding of systemic impacts? Can a small scale system be used to inform an experiment on a larger scale? Can a proof of concept be scaled and replicated to influence systemic change? How can this be done strategically, while at the same time being open to unexpected opportunities?

How do we learn?

(to design better questions, plans and experiments)

Learning and teaching

  • What does learning look like?
  • What does a lab learning session look like?
  • How do we embed a 'values based approach' in the organisations that are part of the lab?
  • What and how we teach each other?
  • How will we learn and how will that inform future work and external networks
  • How do we reflect?

Sharing and dissemination

  • Lab conference or knowledge sharing day?
  • When makes sense to involve the public?
  • How to share knowledge in wider world?
  • Role of coordinate messaging? surround sound?
  • What messages do we disseminate? to whom? using what strategies?
  • How to best engage the public in changing rules? Where is public engagement critical, and where can it create unwanted effects?
  • what is the forum for discussion before, during and after the projects?

Scaling to systems change

  • How results from the incubator can be bridged to systemic impact?
  • Is the marine environment any better for our interventions?
  • How can successes be scaled up?

What do we need?

  • Do we need interns?
  • Do we need librarians?
  • Do we need an online platform? shared resource? Public facing and/or internal? Does open data, access & hacking a public API lead to new & unexpected results?


  • How do we measure our impact?
  • How do we measure the effects / impact of the lab?
  • What worked? What needs more work? What can we improve?
  • marine_colab/action_research_questions.txt
  • Last modified: 2016-01-23 19:11
  • by nik