What is the Yes Lab?
At the moment, the Yes Lab is mainly a series of brainstorms and trainings to help activist groups carry out media-getting creative actions, focused on their own campaign goals. It’s a way for social justice organizations to take advantage of all that we Yes Men have learned-not only about our own ways of doing things, but those we’ve come in contact with over the decade and a half we’ve been doing this sort of thing. The Yes Lab has offices and access to a shared meeting space at NYU’s Hemispheric Institute in New York where we run the research based Critical Tactics Lab.
How does a Yes Lab work?
In a typical Yes Lab project, an activist organization will come to the Yes Lab with a target—a particular company, politician, corporate front group, bad government policy, or even an abstract idea—as well as a campaign goal: to affect public debate, push for legislation, or embarrass an evildoer, for instance. The Yes Men will work with the group remotely (by phone or Skype) to help them refine campaign goals, define the “ask,” organize action teams, and so on. We’ll then lead an in-person brainstorm (one, two, or three days, in a location convenient to the group) to develop the smartest, most effective actions around those goals, and then conduct trainings on the tactics we’ll decide to use to reach our goal. Afterwards, we’ll check in on the project until it’s successful.
Is the Yes Lab only for activist groups?
Universities can also participate in the Yes Lab in partnership with activist groups. In this context, Yes Labs bring together students, faculty, an activist group or an NGO, and the Yes Men to devise effective (and educational) activist projects. The group oversees the project after the initial brainstorm, and makes sure it moves forward toward clear campaign goals. A Yes Lab of this sort can give students real-world experience while advancing an important cause they care deeply about.