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Tackling inequality lab update: pitching and consulting

Explore how we use the Wise Crowds community participation method to tap into our Lab group expertise. 

Rachel Abbott | 31st March 2022 | Reading time: 5 minutes


Following the success of our prototyping workshop in January, we felt energised and excited to regroup again for our second online workshop of the year. 

One of the key takeaways from our previous session was understanding the importance of collaboration and communication across teams. So, using this learning, we decided to focus this month’s workshop on pitching and consulting. 

Our objective for the session was for teams to share their prototyping challenges from the field and work through them together. 

In line with our objective, our session agenda was very simple. After completing our check-in question (what inspired you to join the Lab?), we dove straight into the main section. 

Pitching and consulting

The rationale

We were keen for our teams to complete this pitching process, as extended exposure to an idea can lessen the ability to think critically about it. This can increase the chance of persevering with something that might not be the right choice – something that you don’t want to do whilst prototyping. By inviting others to hear your idea and highlighting your difficulties, you can gain a fresh perspective, receive feedback and potentially new solutions. 

The process

Following the Wise Crowds community participation method, each team was given two minutes to briefly describe their prototype, explain any challenges that they’ve faced and ask for any advice or opinions from the rest of the Lab cohort. 

The other Lab participants then behaved like a group of consultants, asking clarifying questions that encouraged the pitching team to consider their prototype on a deeper level. The ‘consultants’ then had 10 minutes to work together to offer advice and recommendations to the pitching team, helping to reveal insights that they may not have considered.

Once the consultants had finished giving their recommendations, the pitchers provided feedback on what they found useful, and then the next team began their pitch. The process continued until all teams had pitched their idea.

The learnings

This method of peer learning helped our teams to connect with each other and share their expertise. Despite the differing context of their focus, teams were able to find similarities in each other’s work and relate with them. The collective energy throughout the conversations provided both breadth and detail, and revealed the following insights:

•    It’s too hard to do this work alone. Teams expressed the time challenges associated with doing this work alongside their existing workload. To keep motivated, suggestions included breaking the work down into actionable tasks and assigning responsibility to different team members.

•    Language understanding is nuanced. The discussion highlighted the importance of having community contacts who understand different cultural language use. [When giving dietary advice] “A pinch meant something to the community, but a fist did not” 

•    Data alone is not enough. Whilst analysing data is crucial for justifying the need of the work, community outreach can reveal the required richness in understanding the reasons behind the results. “What we learned from him [community contact], we would never have got from data”

•    We may not fully understand the scale of the issue. Community outreach and engagement with community gatekeepers, such as other local charities, sporting teams and faith groups unveiled that there are many communities out there whose existence is not well known. “We were shocked to find these communities.”

The session was very well received and one of the main takeaways was the importance of community engagement and acknowledging the difficulties that can be faced when trying to engage with a community. This challenge has been increased during covid, so we’re looking forward to finding out how our teams will use any advice received from the session to help them in the future. 

What happens next?

In the upcoming weeks, our teams will continue working on their prototypes in their local areas. We’ll also be hosting an online drop-in session, where we provide the space for our teams to continue sharing their work and learnings with each other. 

We’re excited about our continued development as a Lab community and the impact that our teams will be able to have on overcoming inequality in diabetes. If there’s anything you’d like to find out more about, or if you’d just like to share some comments, please send us an email at


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