Article 25 arrived at Beespace with a bold vision to break through the cycles of emergency response to health crises like HIV/AIDS, Ebola, and the Zika virus with new forms of global health justice advocacy.
Article 25’s comprehensive research and ideation processes drove them to shift focus several times in their search for accessible and truly strategic intervention points. Their quest led them from the roots of global pharmaceutical pricing inequities to the specific drivers of medicine costs in the U.S., U.S. millennials and medical costs in general, and, ultimately, to how millennials might join and influence polarized debates about the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The Article 25 team is currently focused on designing health care-related messaging experiments to put into the field in Virginia during their November 2017 elections for Governor and the House of Delegates. The team’s eyes are on developing lessons about how to de-polarize debates on fair health care policy in the 2018 midterms.
Heat Seek arrived at Beespace having won multiple civic tech awards for its one-of-a-kind heat data tool. Its creators came into incubation to strengthen the connection between using the tool to determine whether an apartment is warm enough, and actually getting the heat in a cold apartment turned on. Heat Seek’s systems mapping revealed a complex set of constraints that were limiting the tool’s usefulness to those it was designed to help: tenants, fair housing advocates, housing court judges, and city inspectors.
During their winter in incubation at Beespace, Heat Seek experimented with a range of partnerships and interventions to connect their heat data with advocates and decision-makers in the affordable housing system, targeting repeat offender landlords and buildings where withholding heat was showing up as part of a wider pattern of tenant harassment. To continue those experiments into the 2017-18 winter season, Heat Seek is exploring potential partnerships with a for-profit tech accelerator as well as supportive city government departments who are excited about the marriage of tech innovation and social impact that Heat Seek represents.
The Natural History Museum is a project that raises timely questions about whose stories most natural history and science museums are telling, whose scientific practices and ways of knowing are communicated and valued, and why. While The Natural History Museum team initially masqueraded as a traditional “museum” in order to conduct opposition research for campaigns and pop-up alt-museum programming, a series of experiments revealed an unexpected wellspring of interest and support within the museum sector and among scientists alarmed by the politicization of science.
As these new partnerships bloomed, The Natural History Museum stepped in to help shape the visual and social narratives around this spring’s vibrant March for Science, and the team has a full slate of museum exhibitions and public programming planned for the coming year. Its pilot programs focus on re-envisioning and reclaiming how natural history museums communicate the stories of indigenous peoples and environmental justice. Their work for 2017-18 is catalyzing direct collaboration among scientists, museum staff, and tribes engaged in struggles to protect their waters and lands from oil pipelines and other threats.
VoteRunLead came to Beespace as a 10-year-old provider of women’s leadership trainings hoping to use the tools and strategies of civic tech to reboot its mission. VoteRunLead’s search for an innovative edge ultimately led them away from the product development focus of civic tech, and back towards the heart and soul of its reason for being: the stories of women’s compelling drive to change the face and meaning of politics.
After listening carefully to what the women it served said they wanted and needed, engaging in self-reflection and collaborative planning with other women’s leadership training organizations, and analyzing the opportunity created by the 2016 election, VoteRunLead re-emerged as a laser-focused training powerhouse with a suite of new training approaches and a rebuilt back-end to track their impact. Their pilot has set its sights on the thousands of women who have raised their hands to run for office since November 2016, with the goal of moving them from the category of “maybe someday” to actively campaigning within two years.