This paper looks at the culture of an academic research lab. Our aim is to internally reflect on how the connections between ideas and individuals can be noticed and labeled in order to create a shared cultural frame. We use a case-study approach with a sensemaking lens using the Markus-Conner Culture Cycle as an underlying model. Following a sensemaking process, a series of individual and small team reflection exercises served as our data source. Graphical and narrative exercises illustrated several of the connections within the Culture Cycle. Analysis of these exercises made visible the individual interests and values in research, articulated a shared institutional mission with parallel individual narratives, and connected key ideas that the lab brings together as a shared frame for a lab research agenda with collective elaboration. While the particulars of this case study are specific to Stanford University’s Designing Education Lab, we invite and challenge any academic lab to increase the transparency of their culture and leverage the interconnections among individuals, interactions, institutions, and ideas in order to inform and educate future researchers and expand knowledge.