Engaging the Next Generation


The Global Co Lab Network is a virtual “do tank” that empowers inter-generational engagement focused on teens and millennials, incubating initiatives out of carefully designed informal gatherings such as living room salons, utilizing mindfulness and design lab philosophies.


Humanity is seeking safe space for greater understanding and trust as stakeholders work to address complex challenges, local and global.  The next generation needs to be better understood and heard and older generations have significant experience and networks to share.  The Global Co Lab designs inter-generational engagements focused on fostering more effective solutions.


The Global Co Lab helps host and encourages others to convene informal small gatherings around carefully identified challenges, identifying invitees of diverse perspective and background, designing dialogues focused on more intentional collaborative engagement with input from the next generation, and working to incubate change.


Change starts in small gatherings!

The Global Co Lab Network has designed a simple template to encourage you to host a design salon focused on empowering youth to be change agents, building on networks from established more seasoned generations.  The Co Lab encourages small gatherings, we call them “Design Salons” to curate carefully selected stakeholders around topics of mutual interest focused on incubating action that empower youth leadership.  Design Salons are typically co-designed by 2-3 people focused on building trust and collaboration, helped considerably by a safe, neutral space for convening, such as a living room or similar environment.  We suggest 8-12 – stakeholders ideally representing diverse perspectives, expertise and demographics.  Centered around facilitated conversation, food and drink, each Design Salon is typically limited to 2 hours and designed for maximum output.  The Co Lab encourages follow up to ensure that goals and actions identified are implemented and tracked for long term impact. If successful, the group may dive deeper in successive salons.  

The goal is for gatherings to incubate new initiatives. The Co Lab created Teens Dream and is building new initiatives around youth empowerment and earth optimism.  We want you to host a salon!  Here is a how to sheet and you can see what teens are doing by watching this short clip.  For an interesting history of salons, see this overview!  

Thanks to the Co Lab’s brilliant, but simple model of bringing people of different backgrounds together to identify and address common challenges and discuss new paths forward, we were able to launch the first in a series of Exchange Salons during which we will engage emerging leaders to shape the road that our international exchange community will take in the coming years.

Jennifer Clinton

President, Global Ties U.S.


The Co Lab provides the following services for salons

Click to expand the sections below to learn more about The Global Co Lab Network’s Services for salons

lightbulb icon Help with identifying topics where actionable and doable outcomes can be visualized is critical to the success of salons.
partners icon
Helpful to host a salon with one or two partners, which the Co Lab can help identify.
invitations iconSelecting invitees and sending attractive invites that get people to attend salons is critical. The right co hosts, topic description and a diverse and complementary set of attendees who are collaborative in their approaches bringing different perspectives is most helpful.
facilitation icon
Two hour salons are facilitated to ensure that everyone speaks and input and dialogue move to action oriented outcomes.
checkmark-iconThe Co Lab is about incubating action out of salons and therefore follow up is critical. Everything is done to identify action oriented steps that come out of each salon and follow up to maximize output.

What are some examples of salons?

The Co Lab hosts salons and encourages others to do the same, with a goal towards creating new initiatives on any topic.  Multiple salons with teens have created a youth dream contest around the Sustainable Development Goals, Teens Dream.  Other salons have addressed science diplomacy, mental health, higher education, mindfulness, engaging scientists and innovators on grand challenges, and climate change – all with a goal of engaging the next generation.  The Co Lab is building on its salons with the Earth Optimism Summit and Smithsonian around Conservation and female empowerment with Brie Mathers and Love the Skin You’re In — but you can host a salon on any topic you are passionate about! 

Use the button below to get further tips on hosting salons


The Co Lab engages teens on issues of priority to them.  Our salons have included a focus on engaging teens to address mental health and integrating mindfulness into their lives, with the outcome a partnership with Love the Skin You’re In to engage teens more proactively to build overall personal empowerment.  The Co Lab also created salons with the Smithsonian’s Earth Optimism Summit working with local youth and their school environmental clubs to focus on conservation priorities.  To encourage teens to dream and be change agents, the Co Lab created Teens Dream, a global video contest for teens focused on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.   

Teens Dream Promo Video on UN Sustainable Development Goals by JAYO, grand prize winner of 2015 competition

Teen Dream Summit Photo

Teens Dream

Teens Dream, a digital platform empowering teens globally to articulate and pursue their dreams, does this with an annual video competition with $1300 in prizes and brings or skypes in winners in an annual celebration in Washington, DC where teens meet with mentors who can help them realize their dreams.    Watch our promotional videos and encourage teens globally to enter our Annual Fall  video competition. Visit the Teens Dream website for more details!

Teens Dream Website Screen Shot



Inter-Generational Engagement

The challenges facing our networked global world require bringing inter-generational perspectives together more proactively.  Each generation can learn from the other and strengthen each others’ ideas.  The next generation does not have to work alone.  The Co Lab has organized Wisdom Bridge salons between millennials and older generations focusing on a range of topics, including higher education, science diplomacy, and climate change.  The goal is for you to host your own design salon focusing on an area of youth passion and curate intergenerational invitees to help create change.  See our design formatted after 40 Co Lab Salons to learn how you can host an intergenerational design salon. 


Empower your own network!


From the Co Lab


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For Youth


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