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Learning Lab FAQ

We hope these help answers questions you may have about the expectations of participating in the Learning Lab. If you have any more questions, please email Rebecca.

The Learning Lab is a component of the Together San Rafael initiative that focuses on staff capacity-building. Cross-departmental teams are brought together to learn how to apply the human-centered design process to shared City challenges. As a participant, you will be on a team assigned to work on a specific challenge. At the end of the process, all employees will be invited to an event called “Demo Day” where each team will make a presentation about their process, learnings and ideas.

Teams will spend approximately 15 – 20 hours total in the actual Labs, which average 2.5 hours every other week for 12 weeks. Participants can expect to spend an additional 2-4 hours per week outside of Labs meeting with their teams and doing research, interviews, prototyping, and project management. The 2018 fall cohort starts the week of August 13 and ends in November.

If you are planning significant vacation time during the timeframe for the Learning Lab (mid-August through mid-November, 2018) it is not recommended to sign up. However, missing one or two Labs is permissible as long as you are communicating with your teammates and the facilitators of the Labs. This can be determined on a case by case basis, as needed.

Participating in the Learning Lab is a great professional development opportunity. You will learn new skills that could help you advance in your career and be more successful in your job. This is always a great way to meet other employees who work in different departments.

Participants will learn the following:


  • Technology Tools for Collaboration
  • Working in teams
  • Human-centered design
  • Project management
  • How to build prototypes
  • Presentation and storytelling
  • Incorporating feedback
  • Moving from challenge to solution

Ultimately, teams and individuals will be experiencing and working through the human-centered design process, which is just as important as the product. A product could be anything from a redesigned internal process or procedure to a new way of communicating information to residents. However, ensuring that teams have the ability to experience the human-centered design process, a framework for creative, collaborative problem-solving, and apply it to their day-to-day is the ultimate goal.

Each team will be asked to make a presentation, but it’s up to them to assign speaking roles. You won’t have to speak if you don’t want to; however, this is a great opportunity to practice public speaking and stretch yourself!

You will be asked to take a self-evaluation at the beginning and end of the process. There will not be a panel of judges at the Demo Day event (like there was in the pilot), however there will be a way for each team to get and give feedback on the various presentations.

A useful way to explore ideas for solutions and learn more about the people you are designing with. Prototypes make your ideas tangible and allow people to interact with and respond to your ideas in a more realistic way than a written or verbal description.

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