Public Lab Research note

Public Lab Developing Partnership Statement

by stevie | October 29, 2018 20:49 29 Oct 20:49 | #17424 | #17424

How this came about

Public Lab is an open community supported by a 501(c)3 nonprofit - the work, resources, and space within Public Lab are available for anyone to use and to collaborate on. This space is protected by the Code of Conduct, and supported by all those who engage here.

Beyond the online resources, the community supported by the Public Lab nonprofit is also working to take on some of the world’s most significant local and global challenges, including industrial pollution and climate change. These challenges will not be faced or solved by individuals or institutions alone. They require the collective power of those who work in these spaces, those who are most affected by these issues, and those who have yet to arrive to these efforts. We are inextricably connected, and strive to move forward as a unified and supportive front.

To this end, over the past few months, the nonprofit staff been reading and thinking about the nature of healthy organizational partnerships. Modeling off the work of our peers, reflecting on good and hard lessons, this practice has brought us to a partnership statement we’re developing and working to solidify.

Seeking feedback

In sharing our draft “Public Lab Nonprofit Partnership Statement” we invite feedback, ideas, and resources to strengthen the practices detailed within. As we recognize formal collaborative efforts as a major part of this work, we urge you to share and build on this process with Public Lab by commenting on this post, or joining one of our open calls. We look forward to sharing these conversations.

Draft: Public Lab Nonprofit Partnership Statement

At the Public Lab nonprofit, we see partnership as a process by which we work to build alliances, strengthen mutual capacites, develop opportunities, and work in healthy relationships with other groups and institutions.

In our partnerships, we value mutual trust, respect, and transparency.

Through partnerships we seek to:

  • Share and exercise a commitment to learning,
  • Recognize and celebrate organizational autonomy and independence, and
  • Practice clear, constructive, and where possible, outward facing* work and communications.

We recognize healthy partnerships have:

  • Clearly defined goals and expectations,
  • A balance of power through equitable distribution of responsibilities, resources, management, and attribution, and
  • A mutually created, and agreed upon process for decision making, accountability, and closure.

In partnerships, we commit ourselves, and call on our partners to:

  • Celebrate and publicly recognize our independent and mutual achievements.
  • Share appropriate resources, and
  • Work in good faith, and with best intentions.

The Public Lab nonprofit reserves the right to withdraw from relationships that violate our code of conduct, go against our values, are tangential to our mission, or do not adhere to the above statements.


  • We value public facing communication for its ability to increase transparency and stem inclusive dialogue. However, we recognize that many types of communications, especially those in relation to human health and safety, require discretion and protection of privacy.

Models and documents drawn on for this work include:


Thanks for making this, Stevie! These are great statements! I wonder about the process to getting to things like clearly defined goals. Is the next step maybe a protocol to provide some guidance? How does accountability work and what happens when issues arise?

a resource that was brought up on the call last night was this tool kit

and related to the * footnote about sometimes things need to not be public this could be a resource in thinking about when to OS and when not to.

Is this a question? Click here to post it to the Questions page.

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Just want to say I am so happy with this, and thanks for your work to bring this together, @stevie!


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