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Swae Partners with the Igarapé Institute and the United Nations launching a global digital consultation to strengthen international cooperation

Swae Partners with the Igarapé Institute and the United Nations launching a global digital consultation to strengthen international cooperation

The Igarapé Institute and United Nations Taps Into Our Collective Intelligence Platform to Crowdsource the Best Proposals to Adapt Multilateral Institutions and Global Problem Solving to Meet Tomorrow’s World

VANCOUVER and RIO DE JANEIRO

The world is facing monumental threats ranging from disease outbreaks and climate change to nuclear conflict and deepening inequality. In order to strengthen global cooperation, the United Nations is seeking input from stakeholders across different sectors of society to improve international cooperation. Swae is helping accelerate an innovative digital consultation to enhance and strengthen international cooperation, and reveal creative solutions to tackle the biggest challenges facing the world.

Working in partnership with the Brazil-based Igarape Institute and to support the United Nations Secretary General, Swae is being deployed to canvass the voices of civil society, including leading private sector groups, philanthropic organizations, metropolitan authorities, parliamentarians, labor organizations, humanitarian and development agencies, think tanks and civil society groups around the world. The platform is being used to generate bold and actionable proposals to bolster multilateral action and build a safer, fairer and more sustainable world in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The digital consultation will use Swae to crowdsource creative proposals for ways to rapidly accelerate delivery of the commitments made by governments in the UN75 Declaration adopted by the General Assembly in 2020. A key priority is identifying bold actionable strategies to bolster the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement. With the help of Swae, the consultation will generate action-oriented recommendations to help the international community confront and adapt to new and emerging challenges.

The digital consultations are taking place between April and May 2021 and reaching all corners of the world. “This is an unprecedented opportunity to shape a new narrative for multilateral action”, according to Robert Muggah, the founder of Igarape Institute and SecDev Group. “Swae is a critical platform to take these kinds of debates to the next level”, he added. Swae will not just help develop new ideas, it will also ensure a high degree of diversity and inclusion in the consultation itself.

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“This project is an exciting step in improving the speed, diversity and user experience of consultation processes for critical institutions such as the United Nations. We urgently need to improve the quality of exchange between the general public and decision-makers. This is what Swae is designed to do. We’ve rapidly customized the platform to ensure that the voices of people too often excluded from these kinds of global conversations are front and center.” – Soushiant Zanganehpour, CEO of Swae

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Thanks to Swae, invited participants can access and input to the digital consultation and benefit from the company’s Natural Language Processing and Writing Improvement AI features in all six official UN languages: Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish.

Video and Visual Preview of the New Swae Platform

Below are screenshots of the all-new platform, redesigned for this consultation.

Screenshots of the New Swae Platform

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About Swae

Swae is an AI-powered platform for turning feedback into smart, inclusive decisions for organizational improvement. With over 25,000 users, Swae’s platform creates a safe, inclusive, and anonymous space for problem and solution generation inside any organization, allowing leaders to source investable solutions, hear the truth, boost engagement, and reduce bias in important strategic decisions to improve overall performance.

Since launching in 2019, Swae has been implemented for clients such as Etihad Airways, Bosch, Doctors without Borders, Lifelabs, EMC Insurance, and the governments of Mexico and Chile, amongst others. We’ve won many prestigious awards recognizing our innovative approach to hacking through hierarchies and making inclusion useful to decision making.

More Info

FOR INFORMATION ABOUT SWAE, CONTACT: info@swae.io

FOR INFORMATION ABOUT THE DIGITAL CONSULTATION, CONTACT wethepeoples@igarape.org.br

ACTION BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

To mark UN75, the UN’s 193 Member States adopted a Declaration setting out a vision for achieving the future we want and the UN we need. In it, they note they have listened to the concerns and aspirations of the people, through the UN75 global conversation, and pledge: “We are here to respond.”

They also tasked the UN Secretary-General to report back by September 2021 with recommendations “to advance our common agenda and to respond to current and future challenges”. 

‘WE THE PEOPLES’ DIGITAL CONSULTATION

The Secretary-General launched Our Common Agenda, a process of consultation and reflection to generate ideas to inform his September 2021 report. This process is being led by the Secretary-General’s office with support from a network of global partners, including the United Nations Foundation, Igarapé Institute, Accord, Southern Voice, and the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy of the National University of Singapore.

The “We the Peoples” digital consultation is one part of this effort. Building on the UN75 global conversation, the consultation invites stakeholders from different sectors to develop practical recommendations to: accelerate delivery of the commitments made in the UN75 Declaration, together with the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement; and to respond to new and emerging challenges.

Source: https://un75.online/take-action/

How Swae Can Impact the Future of Work and Can Create Smart Cities

How Swae Can Impact the Future of Work and Can Create Smart Cities

Swae has been selected as 1 of 6 finalists competing for in the Innovation at Work & Smart Cities streams at the 2020 Inventure$ Canada Pitch Competition

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Earlier this month, Inventure$ Canada — Western Canada’s leading annual tech conference bringing together over 4,000+ entrepreneurs, investors, and industry thought leaders to learn, share, and experience awe-inspiring creative collisions at the intersection of social change and technology advancement — invited Swae to compete in their 2020 competitive annual pitch competition.

After a few rounds of judging, they selected Swae as 1 of 6 finalists competing in their Innovation at Work & Smart Cities streams, recognizing Swae’s impact on creating Organizations and Cities of the Future. The topics of the Future of Work and creating Smart Cities are of critical importance and relevance for us here at Swae.

Creating the Future of Smart Cities

The impact that technology advancement can have on how cities operate, grow, evolve, and how it can provide different citizen experiences is immense. Today, cities have a choice to embrace the status quo or embrace a new direction for the future and fix the broken systems.

In either case, as trends converge and the pace of change accelerates, it’s clear we need to design things differently and more inclusively. In the not-so-distant-future, gone are the days where a handful of bureaucrats plan, design, and dictate in isolation how our urban spaces should look, operate, and what policies are needed to make them function.

Driving Innovation at Work

Similarly in workplaces, whether we all work remotely due to the COVID-19 crisis or not, technology is changing what we do and how we do it in unprecedented ways and, for most, at a nerve-racking pace.

  • Communication-styled technologies have enabled the “do anything, from anywhere” gig economy.
  • Automation technologies are reducing the need for human beings to do the most low-skilled and dangerous jobs, but also proposing new risks with technological displacement and unemployment due to lack of transferable skills.
  • Other emerging technologies are bringing a combination of benefits and risks to existing industries and players.

As we enter a new era, we’re facing decisions and new circumstances that we haven’t faced before. We believe that the benefits of inclusion, transparency, healthy competition for the best solutions, and quality data is far superior to the typical top-down driven decisions usually dealt by only a handful of experts or leaders.

We are in a time where people value and will understand that coming together to hear all of the relevant solutions and perspectives that matter is imperative to success and using a fact and merit-based process for making important decisions is the way.

This is where you put Swae into the equation…

Swae + the Future of Work and Creating Smart Cities

Since the launch in 2019, we’ve been deployed inside cities and large organizations to:

  • Increase unique perspectives
  • Boost inclusion
  • Gather the best thinking, ideas, and insights to support complex decision-making
  • Enable bottom-up and merit-based competition to select the best ideas from

Swae’s platform is intended to help organizations and cities include more people in the decision-making process which allows everyone to make more informed decisions. We fundamentally believe that organizations and communities can thrive when decisions are made more inclusively.

We’ve seen first-hand how our process and platform helps to increase the sheer volume of ideas that come in from a greater collective, provides transparency, and ensures a better quality of big decisions. All of this leads to smarter decisions that minimize bias and takes out complexity without sacrificing speed. The combination of having more creative, innovative suggestions leads to more informed decisions with higher quality choices that can impact culture, financial, and organizational or community performance.

Prepping for the Pitch

To prepare for our pitch, we were paired with Bruce Alton, a Canadian Angel Investor and Techstars Seattle mentor on AI and Enterprise Software who spent 5–6 weeks with us providing unfiltered and no-bs feedback on helping us, a) communicate Swae with more specificity about the problem, and, b) do this in under 2 minutes.

Working with Bruce (who generously volunteered his time), we anchored our pitch and problem statement.

Swae solves the problems associated with excessive cognitive bias in decision-making and the impact of bias on stakeholder engagement.

We were able to find data that quantifies the cost of bias and disengagement to organizations and weave these new details into our narrative so that we can make the problem concise and more data-focused.

We were also able to simplify the communications of how Swae works and what value our platform and process provides organizations and cities. And, finally, we were able to bring our pitch down from 4 minutes to just under 2 minutes.

Below is a link to our video pitch and please let us know your feedback!

The next steps…

The competition will be held June 3–4, 2020 and the winners of the $10K prize will be announced on June 5th, 2020.

Whether we win or not, this process of refining our pitch has generated much more value than a monetary prize. We are indebted and grateful to Inventure$ Canada and to Bruce Alton for your strategic insights and clear-minded advice!

Here we go… wish us luck!

Check out our 2-min pitch video below (feedback welcome!): 

See more about Inventure$ Canada 2020 below and to check out the other participants’ click here.

Swae Celebrates the 2-Year Anniversary of Winning the Global Challenges Foundation’s New Shape Prize

Swae Celebrates the 2-Year Anniversary of Winning the Global Challenges Foundation’s New Shape Prize

Part 1 of 2: Quick Recap on the purpose of the Prize, How We Won, and What We’ve Done Since

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Two years ago almost to this day, The Global Challenges Foundation in Sweden generously awarded Swae as one of three winners of the New Shape Prize (a $600K USD grant amongst 14,000 global applicants) for having a unique and innovative solution to fundamentally improve global governance, decision-making, and our democratic institutions to be more compatible with 21st-century technology, culture and socio-political developments. Our team was incredibly honored and grateful to be given this recognition and it served as an important developmental milestone for us.

Below we share details about the award, our winning pitch, and a summary of how we leveraged the resources to build a working prototype and begin piloting it in real organizational and political environments.

Goals of the New Shape Prize

The New Shape Prize (originally a $5M grant) was generously financed by the Foundation’s benefactor, Mr. Laszlo Szombatfalvy, and designed to inspire ideas and stimulate debate around new, more effective forms of global cooperation at the highest levels about how the world community manages global catastrophic risks, ranging from climate change effects to weapons of mass destruction.

The short 1min explainer video below better describes the New Shape Prize (for those that are unfamiliar with it):

 

The Problem Swae Identified

Today’s international institutions are poorly suited to building experimental or creative win-win solutions to the problems we face as a globe or a collective species. Consequently, there are dangerous emerging under-managed macro risks stemming from the limitations of our governance structures. Our system is no longer fit for our new age and we need new actors, new operating assumptions, and new norms to help reframe our priorities and uphold humanity-first, and nations second. We need new processes and improved participation methods in order to create new solutions that prioritize and give political weight to ideas that advance humanity, preserve and benefiting all in our species, above a narrow set of national self-interests.

Swae’s Winning Submission

The submission on behalf of Swae proposed the introduction of a technology platform to decentralize global governance to participatory and deliberative models. Using an AI-based collaboration platform (which we were in the early stages of prototyping), we intended to fuel much greater citizen collaboration and ideation around policies and budget suggestions, as the entry point for decentralized and meaningful citizen participation in governance. By using technology and AI for the good, Swae intended to create alternative forms of sovereignty, across the local, national and international spheres, to challenge or complement the authority and sovereignty of nation-states to make decisions about our collective well-being.

Here’s our in-depth proposal “Reinventing Global Governance and Democracy through AI-supported Bottom-up Deliberation”: Download the PDF or View Online.

How we used the award?

Two years really seems to fly by when you’re building a company and trying to democratize democracy! The win was an incredibly important milestone in our journey so far and helped really kick off the growth of Swae through the financial and reputational outcomes of this award.

Immediately upon the win, our startups financial pressures were (temporarily) alleviated, and the news of the award provided validation of and interest in our concept. Because of this, it attracted new interest from angel investors, new potential clients, and a host of enthusiasts (researchers, philosophy and political theorists, documentary film makers, activists, other technology providers, etc.) who had worked on similar ideas or were absolutely thrilled to see a group recommending a non-incremental change to our democratic processes and the management of global affairs. The award, and this relative validation, created pilot opportunities for us to scope out. We were able to grow our user base and much, much more (see more below).

Here’s a shortlist of some of the things that we were able to achieve with this award.

  • We got the financial runway to build a MVP of our platform and really move forward in a more progressive manner
  • We were able to recruit important members of our core team (CTO and Co-Founder, strong advisors, Marketing Lead, etc.)
  • We launched 5 pilot programs and signed our first commercial annual contract
  • We were able to grow our user base from 0 to over 15,000+
  • Since being able to initially grow the team, we retracted twice given market uncertainties and now we face the latest issues caused by the COVID-19 crisis

Below is our winning pitch and below that we the slide deck that won us the prize.

Click here to see our presentation deck

In part two of this series, we’ll provide a more in-depth look at what we’ve accomplished, learned and struggled with since the win — stay tuned!

And, once again, our sincere thank you goes out to the Global Challenges Foundation for this award!

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