Catalyst Lab is an initiative at the Department of Media & Communication, Erasmus University Rotterdam. Here, academia and business jointly engage the public on social issues through innovative digital media projects. We bring public debate to life by pioneering creative social media strategies that entertain, educate and energize diverse stakeholders to participate in these discussions to inform and be informed.

How does it work?

If your organization has a burning question for the public, we will be your mediators. We will create a comprehensive social media campaign, bringing awareness to the social issue, generating interest, and stimulating dialogue with a range of stakeholders, both public and private.

We will not market or advocate an issue, but capture the spectrum of voices on a particular social question of consequence from the mundane to the profound - Is it acceptable to promote non-alcohol beer to minors? What is the future of museums and art fairs in today’s digital age? How does medical self-diagnostics empower a patient? Be it in the beverage, art or medical business, we take on the challenge!

What makes us unique?

We offer:

The vigor of academic research applied to your social issue with the creativity in public outreach via innovative media production and dissemination. This includes a wide selection of social media campaign ideas such as scripts for viral videos, memes, transmedia digital storytelling across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, digital polls and online visualization of public opinion. We execute the approved ideas through an integrated seeding strategy across multiple social networking sites, website design, and grassroots awareness building

Documentation of this pilot process via multimedia business case studies to use for policy and practice

Workshops, lectures, and seminars that bring together both the private and the public sector

Elearning modules to be distributed within your organization and/or externally to educate the public

ask@catalyst-lab.org
+31 6 11 59 36 32
(Netherlands)

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Catalyst Manifesto

Marriages between academia and the private sector are far from easy. Academics are seen as sell-outs for venturing into the world of business. Industry is accused of whitewashing their brand with the good repute of the university. In spite of these stereotypes, these marriages do happen, with predictable outcomes of the good, the bad and the ugly kind.

After all, there is common ground.

Both academia and the private sector share a responsibility towards the public and often a shared failure in living up to this responsibility.

Many funded research projects once executed, circulate their years of findings at conferences and shelve away their ideas for good. We are experiencing a zombification of scholarly papers: alive, yet dead to most of the world due to their inaccessibility. Academic knowledge continues to be encased in jargon and circulated behind paywalls, with few if any readers. Journal templates strangle writing. In this sanitized space, there is little room for visuals and videos, the staple diet of the information economy. Entertainment, here, is the antithesis of intellectualism. In short, there is little effort at making scholarly knowledge accessible to the broader public.

As for corporations, many continue to view the public as primarily consumers. In today’s social media age, companies have jumped on the bandwagon of communicating with their customers but mainly for marketing purposes. Co-creation is a buzzword for innovation, but in reality, resemble more like a new strain of digital marketing. Few however, take customer-relations further into the realm of genuine public dialogue and debate.

We, at the Catalyst Lab, believe that both the university and the private sector can unite in the common goal of fostering public dialogue and thereby gain insight into as well as contribute to the shaping of contemporary societal perspectives. We pioneer thoughtful and creative digital media projects that stimulate public discussion on wide-ranging social issues, involving other stakeholders such as non-profits, activists, artists, think tanks and government agencies in this endeavor.

Join us at the Catalyst Lab for this much overdue social experiment!

ask@catalystlab.org
+31 6 11 59 36 32
(Netherlands)