Public Lab Research note

Newark Barnraising & Crisis Convening evaluation results

by liz | August 02, 2018 14:39 02 Aug 14:39 | #16835 | #16835

Core question results

  • Total number of respondents: 38 (7 on paper Friday PM, 18 on paper Sunday AM, 13 within two weeks after the event via GoogleForm). This is 63% of the 60 unique individuals recorded by staff as having actually attended at least part of the event.
  • Net Promoter Score: +68 (on a scale of -100 to +100) This is above average for non-profits, as Survey Monkey Global Benchmark shows the average score for all participating non-profits is +62.
  • First time attending a Public Lab event? >90% The vast majority of responders were newcomers, with fewer than 5 responders being "Public Lab veterans" with 3 or more events attended.
  • How much of a positive difference has Public Lab made in your life? To have over 80% of responses come in saying that a Moderate to Large impact was experienced by people the vast majority of whom were first time participants is interpreted here as very positive feedback.

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  • How often do people at Public Lab treat you with respect? 86% of respondents (32 people) said "always," 14% of respondents (5 people) said "mostly." We watch this closely for any low scores, thankfully there were none from this event.
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  • Age range: 50% of respondents identified as being between the ages of 25 and 34. Half of the other 50% of respondents were between 35 and 44. 45 to 54 year olds made up 8% of responders, as did 55 to 64 year olds, and 65-74 year olds made up about 6%. The smallest percentage (only 1 responder) fell into the 18-24 range. image description

  • Gender identification: Respondents identified as approximately 15% non-binary or Prefer Not To Say, half female, and one third third male. image description

  • Race and ethnicity: Approximately 32% of respondents identified as People of Color (Multiracial or multiethnic, Asian, Hispanic or Latino, or Black, African, or African American), and half of respondents identified as White or Caucasian.
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Crisis Convening

At the end of Friday's session, three open-ended questions related to the theme of Crisis Convening were asked. All responses are included below:

  • Is there a project, or multiple projects, that started at this convening that you would like to keep working on?

    • an ongoing crisis committee
    • Would like to stay connected! (w/ PublicLab)
    • Crisis Convening -- to participate
    • I will continue conversation about integrating arts/culture/stories into locally led work.
    • I would love to continue to listen to folks who are working in different areas and hear their stories. I do think there was a good dialogue among storytellers -- not a project but a good dialogue

  • Is there a specific area of support you would like to give in the event of a climate disaster in another location?

    • anything i can!
    • Have to think on this. (Unsure of what I have to give right now)
    • potential ppl power / volunteers
    • To share our experience / lessons learned organizing. Wellness Ctr / arts and culture programs at Park Slope Armory post-Sandy + ongoing work of out NOCO-NY Network in their neighborhoods
    • How art and storytelling can support long term issues that might arise.
    • Media support

  • Is there a specific area of support you would like to have from others in the even of a climate disaster where you live?

    • Manage volunteer site(s)
    • Raise visibility of work being done by community groups over time and support culture as integral part of work.
    • getting the word out / amplifying stories (even when not disaster)

Crisis Convening and Barnraising

The evaluation form that went out on Sunday AM and online afterward also included the question:

  • What portion of the event was the most useful to you?

    • The lead up, getting to bond with Liz and Tammy.
    • Small group session on emergency management and messaging
    • The lightning talks got me very excited. I feel like I learned so much in a short amount of time during them and I found them very inspiring.
    • Hearing people from outside my neck of the woods
    • Listening to Luis Rodriguez from Mariana share his community's experience workshops
    • I really appreciated the crisis convening event on Friday and Willow's excellent organizing and moderating skills. group discussions
    • Learning about democratizing meetings through example! Puerto Rico - history and action items. Meeting great people!

Public Lab

  • What does Public Lab do well?

    • It is a pleasure to be here as an attendee since i usually organize workshops, & hold space at events and in the classroom. BUT it's not like any 'conference' and i've been to many! Today was a succinct, powerful, no bullsh!t event that was authentic and actionable. Universe of topics was extremely fascinating process. PLab was great at facilitating us, creating a solid foundation of trust and love in just...what...12 hours....Thank you <3
    • Bringing a diverse group of knowledgeable and cool people together
    • Amazing facilitation of the day. Great at bringing asks & fruitful, meaningful discussions / outputs. --> very supported / fed!
    • Logistics! Facilitation!
    • Being inclusive, welcoming, responsive. Bringing a mix of people together to support each others work.
    • Pulling a great network of folks together to meet and learn from each other. Creating opportunity for group to guide discussions w/ out interest and skills.
    • Open space, welcoming newbies, conduct norms
    • open to change but structured. Passionate, documentation, bringing people into the fold. bridging tech, advocacy, organizing
    • bringing people from different backgrounds. Organizing it all! Food, food.
    • Public Lab convened a passionate group of people to tackle a wide variety of imminent social issues
    • Bringin people together in a safe space and inspiring new tools while sharing current ones.
    • Based on this, my first experience with P.L., great at bringing togeter a diverse group of amazing people with common interests/concerns, being flexible / non-judgemental, encouraging of shared leadership
    • Treating participants like grown-a$$ people. Not judging (excessively). Being open + welcoming.
    • Organizing on the fly
    • I want to know more about the organization, this is my first time participating -- so far so good!
    • There are different groups that are part of the organizing, I'd like to understand better
    • Giving participation to everyone. Time keeper.
    • Convening a great approach to difficult process and make it actionable
    • Brings groups together to organize and brainstorm to find a better way to get things done. brainstorming session and workshopping issues together
    • Holding respectful, friendly space. - Facilitating emergent / co-created processes (i.e., you create scaffolds like /doccom and the schedule to fill in & ready for anyone to step in)
    • Organizing, Passion...connecting.
    • Getting cool people together.
    • Finding great people to conect. Sharing labor. Equipping ppl w/tools. Great principles for convening (4 principles, law of 2 feet, etc)
    • Gathering of very intelligent and community minded individuals
    • Facilitating community building
    • Convening partners from different regions
    • making people feel welcome
    • Convening and connecting people across discipline and geography who might not otherwise be connected, which then generates not only amazing ideas, but the energy to implement them.
    • Thoughtfully inviting in and facilitating between a variety of perspectives in a way that makes the experience feel effortless.
    • It was a great event, great energy and collective spirit, good mix of focus and openness.
    • Bringing people together and organizing conferences.
    • discussion, planning, ideation, connection, reconnecting, recharging people.
    • Organizing meticulously run convenings! I only attended the Friday crisis convening and I was blown away by the organization and facilitation
    • Inclusivity
    • Meeting facilitation and structure!

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  • What could Public Lab do better? The responses were super insightful, here are some highlights:

    • an agenda of the event, even if the details are blank!
    • A little more info prior to convening about event so could more easily invite folks.
    • Better explain the place we are coming in a few more explanatory emails leading up to event
    • Explaining to new participants what Public Lab is all about (history / mission / etc)
    • i would've loved a Public Lab presentation. I'm new and I still want to know more.
    • I don't think I ever (on Friday) got a really good sense of what Public Lab does!
    • I think it's unclear what PL's mission is - education or activism? It's not clear to just say "both"
    • I think there should be MORE and more DIVERSE attendees
    • Even more attendees from vulnerable communities!
    • Bring in perspective of people working in their own neighborhoods and communities. Felt more focused on people coming in from outside.
    • Like to see more community, health care, and academia engaged to Public Lab
    • Make an intake form at Barnraisings so we know people's skills and offers in case we connect in future
    • establish baseline shared knowledge -- what brought us here? what is the larger shared story? What are our goals?
    • agenda setting and facilitating groups
    • Convene partners with different political mindsets
    • While I liked this year's method of proposing sessions by asking the question "What drives their work", which feels clear, the responses in the form of questions, felt very uniform and vague. It provoked interesting discussions but I wonder if in the future, people can propose topics as well.
    • helping educate on basic science
    • I am still digesting! Possibly more concrete proposals posited?
    • Concrete output, actionable items to walk-away with
    • Microphones are good - i know ppl think they're loud but my hearing isn't great :(
    • "no idea"
    • I want to know how to reciprocate the care you've shown for us.
    • Treat yourself! Such good and hard workers.

  • Please provide any additional feedback

    • was surprised that there was not a plan in place for dealing with excess food. Would be really great to designate someone responsible to find local contacts to distribute excess event food.
    • Hand out materials about you! I'd like to hear what you're up to. I love you, this has been amazing!
    • i felt this was the strongest Barnraising I have attended. Having people who have experienced disaster and created change has helped to give me new tools and so many connections. I feel strongly that this group should follow-up and maintain communication. Drills! Also, best vegan food ever!!! Also encouraged to learn a karaoke song for next time! :D
    • You are a warm and welcoming and generous group -- many Thanks! I hope to see more of you
    • thank you for all your work. It was well-organized
    • You are awesome. Keep on the good work. !Thanks!
    • would like to see more barnraisers introduced down South!
    • BARNRAISER hive collective newspaper is a brilliant way to collectively & creatively collect, condense & share notes + have something to not just take home BUT share w/ others back home. AMAZING tool --> like a souvenir.
    • A thoroughly riveting and engaging event. I leave motivated and a renewed faith in humanity!
    • Great group of people w/varied backgrouns + expertise. Loved the democratized agendas! :| Priviledge Walk seemed to leave some feeling hurt; priviledge is such a large topic it should have its own session (if at all) to make sure those w/o priviledge feel safe + those with priviledge can acknowledge it + help others feel safe.
    • <3!
    • Thank you for facilitating. I will ask that there be less prompts on things like group pics or how and why groups are organized.
    • For breakfast - would have loved some more protein options - eggs, meats etc. Also, some non-dairy yogurt
    • The dialogue is weighted to able-bodied people. A huge amount of time was spent discussing rules of engagement without being agreed upon. Conservative people are shut out of the dialogue.
    • The website is greatly improved! Great job!
    • The only reason I put neutral on the 'knowing what to expect' question is because there wasn't much about the agenda-- and then I found out we'd make it together, which is WAY better! Thank you for an incredible experience; I am more keenly aware of environmental justice through disaster than ever before!

Looking ahead

  • Taking future actions: The strongest agreement was with the statement "I feel the event created a sense of community and collaboration only possible in live gatherings." There were two statements tied for second strongest agreement "I feel that Public Lab organizers were available and helpful throughout" and "I would participate in this event again." The lowest levels of agreement or non-answering were on the statement "I felt the event experience was consistent with my expectations" -- specifically on this, many people pointed out they didn't know what to expect, so this could not have been true. image description

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  • What topics, geographic areas, or tools would you like to see addressed at future Barnraisings?

    • resiliency and citizen science projects for youth/residents
    • I don't know what recruitment efforts looked like for this event but I think it was in need of more diversity. The people represented were diverse on an international level and I thought that was very cool to see but I think the event could do better at inviting more Black and Brown people that are doing work around EJ here in the US. It was especially odd to me that several of the sessions discussed long-standing issues that make environmental crisis worse for marginalized communities but we did not really have many voices that could speak to those issues in detail - other than Reverend James. I also think some more presence of folks in academia interested in this work (both technically and socially) could have led to some cool breakout sessions. While I enjoyed and valued the sessions I attended from a moral/ethical point of view, I would have liked to see sessions that were more specific and tangible and less abstract.
    • Advocating and including people with disabilities and access and functional needs
    • I loved crisis convening and I would love to see the conversations continue. It would be great to have a more rural focused conference
    • tools to measure soil, interact with other species, work across scales
    • I really enjoyed this barnraising, but I felt like there was some redundancy in conversations and would have liked to see more tool demos and discuss the longevity/efficacy of tools. This is something that interests me.
    • Measuring air quality

Barnraising Logistics

  • In this section, the total number of respondents is 31 -- the 18 on paper Sunday AM, and another 13 within two weeks after the event via GoogleForm.

  • Event communication: Respondents indicated that while goals and expectations were not entirely clear leading up to the event, they trusted the organizers and were excited to come. This points at a place where Barnraisings can improve.

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  • Event logistics and accommodations: Respondents were very happy with the food, felt that the venue was appropriate, but were slightly less positive about accommodations (2 people disagreed that they were satisfied with the accommodations). image description

About Public Lab: participation and resulting impacts

A series of multiple multi-part questions were asked about types of participation in Public Lab that people may be undertaking, and impacts that may or may not be resulting personally, as a community, as a network, and on environmental issues. This level of feedback goes beyond the Barnraising experience. It is processed against our Logic Model annually, and will be published in our next report. See

Based on this feedback, what will Public Lab change?

  • Public Lab will more explicitly share the blank schedule ahead of time with Barnraising participants. This post will serve well to show the options for meeting spaces, and available times (usually two slots in the morning, and three in the afternoon):
  • Public Lab will more explicitly introduce the facilitated process for collaboratively making the agenda. This post shows the posters that guide the process, and links to more information on "Open Space Technology":
  • If we host another Barnraising where we spend Friday dedicated to a theme brought by a partner, we will make sure that we also share what Public Lab is during the introduction, and on Saturday we will reset / broaden the theme to include the range of interests present in Public Lab in general, which is standard for Public Lab Barnraisings.
  • Public Lab will continue and expand emphasis on supporting those on the front lines of environmental justice struggles, which include climate change impacts, to have the opportunity to participate in Barnraisings both financially and logistically.


Into Survey Monkey, which we use to analyze some of the questions, I entered one of Friday's surveys through the weblink, then the remaining 6 as manual data entry. Then all 18 of Sunday's paper surveys, then the 13 Google Form submissions. Survey Monkey is best for analyzing the following questions, and (since 2015) we track all staff-hosted in-person events in Survey Monkey so we can watch change over time:

  • Net Promoter Score: "On a scale of 1-10 how likely is it that you would recommend [...] to a family member?"
  • "How much of a positive difference has Public Lab made in your life?" None | Little | Large | Moderate | Extreme
  • "How often do other people at Public Lab events treat you with respect?" Never | Rarely | Sometimes | Mostly | Always
  • What type of event did you attend? An in person workshop | OpenHour | Barnraising | Other (please specify)
  • What is your age? Under 13 | 13-17 | 18-24 | 25-34 | 35-44 | 45-54 | 55-64 | 65-74 | 75 and over
  • How do you identify your gender? Non-binary | Female | Male | Prefer Not To Say
  • What is your race (or ethnicity)? Check all that apply: Multiracial or multiethnic | Native Hawaiian or other Pacific Islander | American Indian or Alaska Native | Asian, Hispanic or Latino | Black, African, or African American | White or Caucasian | Prefer Not To Say | Some other race or ethnicity (please specify)
  • What is your zip code or postal code? (free text entry)

Free text responses were typed into a Google Spreadsheet, and carefully read, as well as visualized in word clouds:

  • What is Crisis Convening / Barnraising good at?
  • What could Crisis Convening / Barnraising do better?
  • Is there a project, or multiple projects, that started at this convening that you would like to keep working on?
  • Is there a specific area of support you would like to give in the event of a climate disaster in another location?
  • Is there a specific area of support you would like to have from others in the even of a climate disaster where you live?
  • What topics, geographic areas, or tools would you like to see addressed at future Barnraisings?
  • What portion of the event was the most useful to you?
  • Please provide any additional feedback.


This summary is really helpful, especially coming from so many people. A few things:

Privilege Walk - Maybe make this an individual exercise where everyone receives a piece of paper with a horizontal line with check boxes. After each question is verbally asked, a box is checked if applicable. That way things stay anonymous, yet still powerful. You quickly know where you stand and can imagine where others might be on that line. PWalk.JPG

More Voices - yup, more work to be done on getting people of color from communities that are affected by disasters. From the other two Barnraisings I've attended, I felt this one was great at getting people who have experienced things first-hand from around the world. One to-do for all of us could be to make sure we extend a personal invitation to people next time to be sure we get everyone's voice. There's a big difference between forwarding an invite compared to calling someone up on the phone and asking them to join. :) Many people that attended this time were new to Public Lab, so it is up to us to help everyone connect. It also will take more funding for Public Lab as many people can't afford to travel and need child care.

Follow-ups- Some of our discussions were abstract, as pointed out, but I feel like the follow-up plan of connecting, doing drills and collaborating during emergencies was the best I've seen based on Barnraisings I've attended. I think a lot of this had to do with the pre-planning with Willow, Liz, Tammy (and anyone else I missed here!). So sick of feeling helpless during disasters and this time I feel like I have a world-wide network.

Lenape Dedication - It was so great to start the Barnraising this way. Another great lesson in keeping the local history present in all we do.

Finally, I'm also still processing the stories, which keep pointing to the idea of living sustainability. How can we connect in our communities so that when disaster strikes we know who our leaders/influencers are, where are resources reside and how we can quickly engage people for sharing/distribution/rebuilding. Looking forward to being part of this new larger community and so thankful for the time we've already spent together. More to come.

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