The PSP Laboratory—like the traditional science (chemistry, physics or biology) laboratory is a setting in which new perspectives and practices are introduced and tested out through processes of collaborative inquiry engaged by members of the Global PSP community. Specifically, the PSP laboratories are designed to provide:
Sustained support for and provision of venues for constructive dialogue among members of the PSP community from around the world who are dedicated to improvement of the human conditions under the current conditions of volatility, uncertainly, complexity, ambiguity, turbulence and contradiction (VUCA Plus).
The PSP Laboratory is unique in several important ways. First, it is a venue for reflection and dialogue. Second, action plans are generated based on the laboratory-based inquiry. Third, action is interwoven with constructive dialogue and learning from the work that has been engaged (action learning). Fourth, outcomes of the reflective practices and action learning that takes place are documented and shared with a much broader audience through publication of essays on the Communities Collaborating website (owned by PSP) and in the PSP-sponsored Library of Professional Psychology. Larger scale and sustained inquiries also lead to preparation and publication of books by the Professional Psychology Press (which is one of three presses operated by the PSP-affiliated Ash Point Publishing).
Selection of Laboratory Projects
The following criteria are proposed as guidelines for selecting PSP Laboratory projects:
Clear evidence of relationship to important (and currently under-provided) psychological services or products in the face of a VUCA Plus environment.
Clear evidence of the need for greater understanding of and appreciation for the forces that are making the focal area under-resourced or factors that are making resolution of focal-area issues particularly challenging in a VUCA Plus environment.
An explicit interest in and commitment of time and energy of one or more Global PSP community members to help facilitate the Laboratory sessions, and a sufficient number of community members to attend and actively participate in regularly scheduled laboratory meetings.
A willingness on the part of Laboratory participants to being “transparent” in their sharing of information and insights regarding the challenges and strategies being engaged in addressing the focal issue. This includes the willingness to share this information (with appropriate restrictions) in published case studies written by themselves.
Structure of the Laboratory Meetings
The Laboratory meetings are typically 1 to ½ hours in length and offered virtually at least once every two weeks. Each Laboratory meeting is structured around a specific topic related to the focal issue being addressed (such as polarization, collaborative trust or managing change). Constructive dialogues are governed by specific “rules of engagement” (especially important given the diverse perspectives of Global PSP members). All Laboratories are recorded, though time can be set aside at the end of each session for more candid conversations or for logistical issues. In some instances, members might present a case study related to the focal issue.
The actions taken by Laboratory participants are sometimes in the form of specific projects that address the focus issue. At other times, the activities and products of the Laboratory are closely tied in with new educational and training ventures offered by PSP (often in conjunction with the Adler Graduate School (AGS) in Toronto Canada. These ventures (learning event) will often be formatted as workshops and certificate programs that generate continuing education credit. In this format, the learning events will be provided jointly by PSP and AGS.
Documentation and Diffusion of Action Learning
The lessons learned from the action-based projects, as well as recordings and case studies generated by the Laboratories will be placed on the Communities Collaborating website or in the Library of Professional Psychology (LPP). Furthermore, a group of recordings and/or case studies might be published together through one of the LPP journals (such as The Future of Professional Psychology). They might also be assembled into an edited book, to be published by the Professional Psychology Press.