LifeLabs Partners with Swae to Crowdsource COVID-19 Business and Operation Adaptations While Keeping Employees Feeling Engaged and Valued

LifeLabs Partners with Swae to Crowdsource COVID-19 Business and Operation Adaptations While Keeping Employees Feeling Engaged and Valued

Swae’s AI-empowered technology drives employee engagement and encourages collaboration building inclusive decision-making processes and healthy, high-performing organizations.

 

lifelabs-canada-partners-with-swae

The Business Case for Swae

The COVID-19 crisis has magnified the importance for most business leaders that investing in technologies to keep their employees engaged day-to-day, as well as included in important decision-making processes, isn’t a feel-good measure but critical for driving success.

During these difficult times, forward-thinking leaders and companies know they must maintain alignment, encourage collaboration, and boost engagement in order to get the most out of the workforce and make it through this crisis.

Employees that feel valued and feel like they’re still a part of decision-making processes will be more engaged, will feel comfortable being “in the know” and will be happier in their roles. When people in an organization believe their voice matters, and believe in the opportunity to influence the agenda, they trust the process and engage more deeply. An engaged employee who has trust invests more discretionary effort and emotional equity than the bare minimum expected. 

This leads them to unleash their creativity and ideas, engaging with others’ ideas to improve upon them, and ultimately helps shape and generate better quality ideas for the organization to select from, helping leaders make more effective decisions (from the bottom-up).

Accordingly, happier employees see a ~12% increase in productivity, and companies with highly engaged employees experience 2x higher net income and grow profits 3x faster than companies with poor engagement scores.

The opposite is also true. When employees feel excluded from decision-making or feel that there is a lack of transparency about core decisions (especially during a moment of existential crisis like COVID-19), they become disengaged. Disengagement prevents people from feeling like they want to be a part of anything so they’ll stop coming forward with potentially great ideas and useful insights. What follows in this vicious cycle is a lack of trust and lower morale which ultimately negatively impacts productivity, culture, and organizational performance.

Employees that don’t have the opportunity to feed their ideas forward, feel like decisions are being made top-down without consultation or transparency are 3x more disengaged, 3x more likely to leave their roles within a year, 2.6x more likely to without market-ready ideas, and about 34% less productive than employees that experience more inclusive cultures and decision-making processes.

In a world where more frequent in-person meetings or drop-ins to exchange ideas don’t happen, finding alternatives to encouraging productive ideation is critical.

That’s why LifeLabs decided to do a pilot program with Swae. Our team is excited to help them create an inclusive culture welcoming bottom-up ideas so that they can start to activate the full potential of their workforce!

LIFELABS-AND-SWAE-PARTNER

LifeLabs performs over 112 million laboratory tests to help diagnose, treat, monitor, and prevent diseases for millions of Canadians. They are the largest private-public laboratories and COVID-19 testing facilities across Canada. 

In this 60-day pilot program, the LifeLabs leadership team is planning to use Swae to engage employees to gather insights and source idea innovations for adaptations to their operational and business models for their now distributed workforce (due to COVID-19). This pilot program with Swae will also help LifeLabs think about the Future of Work and understand how they can adapt processes at the patient services centers in a post-COVID world (a time or circumstance that most of us struggle to see and predict).

With all of this uncertainty, new values are reshaping the workplace every single day, and by using Swae, LifeLabs can turn the participation of their people into a powerful source of innovation potential for their organization. And this isn’t only about employee engagement, but also about providing high quality, defensible ideation, and innovative solutions for the future of the organization.

“Swae is a tool I have been hoping to see developed for many years. It dispels many of the implicit and explicit biases often seen in brainstorming exercises.”

 — Jamie Lepard, LifeLabs Business Continuity Program Manager

Building a “speak up” culture can (as our customers have seen) 10x employee engagement!

The goal of this relationship is that by implementing Swae’s AI-empowered technology platform, LifeLabs will get more ideas from their stakeholders, include more voices, and raise the quality, intelligence, and legitimacy of decisions. By removing the barriers to inclusion, the process they will reveal. Doing so will boost engagement and all of these things have a long-lasting impact on morale, culture, and performance.

swae-idea-management-and-idea-workflow-technology

ABOUT OUR PLATFORM: 

 

At the most basic level, we are a high-tech suggestion box that can’t be ignored. Unlike the old school suggestion boxes that collected more dust than ideas, helps organizations create a competitive idea marketplace to source from, evaluate, and improve upon the ideas in a collaborative manner.

What’s different about our methodology is that we’ve built the foundation around meritocracy and idea improvement. 

Our platform encourages decision-makers to set metrics upfront around the amount of improvement to the idea, not just popularity, to ensure that only the ideas that have been significantly improved and meet the metrics graduate to a management review to receive the attention they deserve. This makes the process fair, transparent, meritocratic, and efficient.

Our AI algorithms help users write more logical arguments and turn opinions into well-written proposals.

Our collaboration features allow others to comment, suggest revisions, point out risks and strengths, and vote, improving the substance of ideas on the platform collaboratively.

The combination of our methodology and features helps organizations include as many voices as they like, benefit from the collective intelligence that resides within, but only pick the best ideas that survive through the process and meet the pre-set improvement metrics determined by decision-makers.

This ensures the process remains efficient and useful for the organization while baking in meritocracy so that ideas that are “decision-ready” graduate to a management review to receive the attention they deserve.

For 2 years now, we’ve helped many companies like Bosch, Etihad Airways, and Doctors Without Borders [and more] dramatically increase the number of investment-ready decisions, business-wide engagement, and user participation.

Our platform is used globally by over 25,000+ humans in large teams, corporations, and smart cities. Most who use our platform believe that our process helps efficiently tap into the imagination and initiative of the people in an organization’s ranks while removing the bureaucratic wall they often hit when they propose new solutions.

If you’d like a demo and a chat with our team, please click here.

Key topics: employee-engagement, ideation, innovation

Our Response to Covid-19: Announcing Swae Public

Our Response to Covid-19: Announcing Swae Public

Helping Teams, Organizations, and Governments Adapt to Digital Decision-Making

TLDR: Swae is launching a publicly accessible version of Swae to empower Teams, Organizations, and Governments to rapidly adapt to digital and remote decision-making during and after the coronavirus crisis

If there was ever a time for Swae, it’s now.

The Covid-19 Crisis is a watershed moment for reorganizing society to embrace a remote and digital-first reality. While most institutions have been unprepared to work and make decisions remotely, adapting decision-making process to embrace this remote reality is vital to the world’s progress at government and organizational levels. Almost every decision is one we’ve never faced before, and the need for inclusion, transparency, competition for the best solutions, and quality data and arguments has never been more important.

To help teams, companies, and governments adapt accordingly, over the next 4 weeks Swae will be launching a public open version of the platform that allows any organization or local government that is finding the ability to make collective decisions during this time quite difficult, to sign up and launch their own Swae environments.

Swae’s platform works a lot like Slack, which most teams and companies are already comfortable with, and enables them to make collective decisions over the internet quickly, conveniently, and safely.

Use cases include 1) digital annual general meetings, 2) remote team decision-making, and, 3) digital policy making and governance, and many more.

Background

As the situation with Coronavirus (Covid-19) unfolds daily, we incrementally accept that this pandemic isn’t going away anytime soon and will have very long term consequences. While experts ponder the full extent of the implications, one thing is for certain: Covid-19 has created a watershed moment for remote work and digital alternatives to physical meetings.

From team coordination, alignment, consensus building, strategic formation, governance and policy-making, our physical decision-making processes need to adapt to a world where much more must happen online. Remote work, remote collaboration, and remote and digital decision-making is here to stay and we must adapt our teams, companies, and governments accordingly.

Earlier in March 2020, British Columbia’s Premier, The Honorable John Horgan, discussed how badly they needed digital alternatives to a physical parliament convening, so that the policy makers could exchange a healthy debate about possible legislation the government was considering to enact into law. I imagine this is the case all around the world, where every government needs to ratify certain decisions into legislation and requires the benefits of healthy deliberation to identify and address any inherent biases or unintended consequences to make the best possible programs, policies, and solutions under the circumstances.

There are many actions that require digital alternatives that can work just as well as an in-person reality which includes;

  1. team alignment, collaboration, brainstorming, and decision-making,
  2. citizen inclusion in the policy design process,
  3. stakeholder inclusion in data gathering and solution formation for executive policy and strategy decisions, 
  4. digitizing annual general meetings.

Now more than ever, people need the right tools, platforms, and safe environments to make high quality collective decisions about a lot of things that remain uncertain.

Now more than ever, people need the right tools, platforms, and safe environments to make high quality collective decisions about a lot of things that remain uncertain. We are having to make decisions around topics that we’ve never had to face previously. Decisions such as possible changes to mortgage laws, employment insurance, rental vacations, policies at work around compensation, benefits and entitlements for small businesses, public policy about self-isolation, the border, etc.

The need for inclusion, transparency, a competition for the best solutions that includes high quality data, input, and arguments/perspectives has never been more important to ease the tensions and move forward with legitimacy.

The need for inclusion, transparency, a competition for the best solutions that includes high quality data, input, and arguments/perspectives has never been more important to ease the tensions and move forward with legitimacy.

 

Swae for the Public

 

Until now, Swae has been serving enterprise clients and government entities with its business-to-business platform. Swae has, for example, handled organizations such as Etihad Airways, Bosch, Doctors without Borders, amongst others with over 25,000 employees and over 15,000 active users. While we’ve experienced great results since launching our MVP product 16 months ago, the platform required a lot of customization and further integrations to make it work well for each organization.

Given the times we face and the need for remote inclusion, over the next 4 weeks Swae will launch a platform open to the public, that will allow any organization or local government to sign up and launch their own Swae environment (that is similar to using a Slack environment) to help teams, companies, and governments adapt accordingly.

Leveraging all our learnings and feature improvements to date, users will initially walk through a light configuration and integration process, and then begin inviting other users into Swae to begin ideating, and creating competing solutions to various challenges and inviting competing proposals from stakeholders to make high-quality and legitimate collective decisions over the internet.

With a few clicks and an easy onboarding process, remote teams, NGOs, small businesses, companies, and governments will be able to make inclusive, transparent, AI-supported, and merit-based decisions collectively during this crisis.

Use Cases & Pricing

Use cases for this public version of Swae can include:

Digital Policy Making — convening governments remotely to deliberate over legislation,

Digital Annual General Meetings (AGMs) — to digitally host your upcoming annual general meeting

Remote Team Decision-Making — teams can crowdsource a variety of solutions to a common challenge for survival strategy or compensation policies during any crisis.

Swae will offer flexible or, in some cases, free pricing in order to make sure that cost is no barrier to helping people use the most robust digital and remote platform for decision-making during this time.

Next week we’ll release more details of the features and a timeline on how we’ll be opening up Swae to the public to help all types of organizations, local governments, and communities leverage our technology to make the collective ideation and decision-making process much more technologically savvy, remote, safe, and convenient.

This is the moment that we all can come together to hear all of the relevant solutions and alternatives that matter, and use a fact and merit-based process for deciding the important decisions that we need to make. Our response matters. Please stay tuned as we release more.

Latest News

Entrepreneur ME Mag features Swae

Entrepreneur ME Mag features Swae

Swae has been featured in Entrepreneur Middle East and Entrepreneur magazine. You can read the full article below:

Thank you, Entrepreneur ME, for your interest and coverage of Swae. Swipe to view the pages (4).

Soushiant Zanganehpour, founder and CEO of Swae, on how his startup aims to upgrade the decision-making process

by TAMARA PUPIC

(originally published in Entrepreneur Middle East and Entrepreneur Magazine)

August 2019

More often than not, we witness or hear about the lack of voice or influence most people have on systems, institutions, and organizations that have significant impact on their lives, which has led many to try to upgrade the decision-making process. “This frustration, coupled with the countless examples of abuse of power, the elitism of experts that exclude others due to their perceived ignorance, the limited feedback loops and tools we have to ensure leaders remain accountable to promises, and most importantly, the generally uninspiring decisions produced by this way of decision-making really inspired me to explore alternatives,” says Soushiant Zanganehpour, founder and CEO of Swae, an AI-enabled platform giving users tools to better express themselves, and participate and influence decision-making processes and governance.

Officially established in 2018, the Vancouver-based Swae aims to create more intelligent, meritocratic, and higher quality decisions in organizations by disrupting the overly-centralized, top-down and outdated hierarchical process of decision-making. “We do this by combining anonymity, artificial intelligence, and collective intelligence to give people the ability to build powerful proposals from the bottom- up without much expert intervention and dependency,” says Zanganehpour. “This allows them to participate in consequential and complex decisions that have impact on them– from government policy, community budgets, to workplace decisions. The platform also helps organizations unleash the creativity of their stakeholders, discover unrevealed truths, data and well- crafted bottom-up solutions, so decision-makers can make more intelligent decisions around products, services, policies, and strategy.”

Prior to his work on Swae, the whole of Zanganehpour’s career trajectory shows his tendency to solving problems at the intersection of public policy, business, technology, and systems change. Swae is his fourth entrepreneurial experience- the three previous startups that he worked on, which focused on large event promotion and production, digital advertising technology, and education, have been led to profitability and a buy- out. Zanganehpour is also currently engaged as a board member of Harvard Business Review’s Advisory Council and Biocarbon Engineering (a reforestation startup using drones to replant a billion trees per year), as well as an advisory board member of RADIUS ventures, a social venture accelerator based out of Simon Fraser University’s Business School in Vancouver, Canada. His academic career includes him working as an adjunct professor at Sciences- Po in Paris, France, and a lecturer at the Masdar Institute in Abu Dhabi, UAE, teaching business models for social progress and impact investing at the master’s level.

“I REGULARLY WITNESSED SEVERAL OCCASIONS WHERE POORLY DESIGNED, NON-MERITOCRATIC, AND POLITICALLY MOTIVATED DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES LED TO POOR DECISION QUALITY, AND POOR ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE.”

It is thus his career so far that offered him an insight into the quality and efficiency -or the lack thereof- of decision- making processes in organizations of all sizes. “I came up with the idea of Swae in 2014, as a result of my experiences working in senior management roles inside small and large organizations,” says Zanganehpour. “Here, I regularly witnessed several occasions where poorly designed, non-meritocratic, and politically motivated decision-making processes led to poor decision quality, and poor organizational performance. I felt strongly that these processes and their end outcomes were a disservice to the organization’s potential, and the available but untapped collective intelligence that resided within them.”

Swae is a sector and organization-agnostic platform that combines anonymity with artificial and collective intelligence, and guides users through a methodical discovery process to help articulate their solution into a problem. In doing that, the platform provides conditional anonymity, allowing users to feel comfortable expressing unconventional ideas, and revealing their identity only if their idea is selected. Natural-language understanding (NLU) and natural-language processing (NLP) algorithms help improve the quality of the initial solution, functioning as a proposal editor to strengthen effectiveness. All proposals can be improved through distributed crowd input and deliberation, as well as be upvoted/down- voted to symbolize political support in order to garner the attention of decision-makers. The most engaged proposals automatically escalate up- wards to a feasibility decision round. This process creates bottom-up solutions that are well-written, researched, and deliberated.

The actual process of developing Swae started in 2016 when Zanganehpour was accepted to Singularity University’s Global Solutions Program, and he began working on the conceptual validation of the idea. “While there, learning about future exponential technologies, and the impact on our social and business institutions, my initial hypotheses were validated that most decision-making processes are outdated, and unfit for our times,” he says. “Today’s most consequential institutions (governments, corporations, city councils) operate through hierarchies, interpret stakeholders’ preferences through periodic elections and consultations, and make decisions leveraging proportional representation, precluding regular, meaningful, and substantive participation of stakeholders into the process. However, our ever-advancing communication technologies are challenging old organizational structures, enabling direct instantaneous exchange, the creation of distributed organization and new business models, and the aggregation of distributed intelligence, efficiently.

Given these possibilities, people expect more transparency and inclusion in decisions that have a big impact on their lives. Institutions and organizations that fail to update their decision-making processes will be left behind.” The following year, Zanganehpour began working full-time on the concept, bootstrapping the development with personal savings. In June 2018, the Swae team was awarded a US$600,000 non-dilutive grant by the Global Challenges Foundation, winning their inaugural 2018 global New Shape Prize competition for Swae’s model, technology, approach and vision for governance and 21st century decision-making. The funds were used to expand the team (currently oscillating between six and nine people), build the first version of the Swae web app, test it in organizational settings in order to experiment with bottom-up ideation and decision-making, and also gain commercial and operational validation.

Since then, Swae has proven to be a SaaS platform that is highly customizable to the needs of any organization, and as such has already garnered significant interest, listing MSF/Doctors without Borders, Bosch, the government of Chile, and the city of Juarez, Mexico, among its clients. In early 2018, the Swae team participated in NYU Abu Dhabi’s Venture Launchpad program, an AI and robotics focused sprint accelerator, which supported them with access to market and pilot opportunities with state-owned corporations in the UAE.

“Thanks to startAD, it was during this program where we met the innovation team at Etihad Airways, and through a competitive process with several rounds of pitching, follow-up meetings, legal and technical due diligence, and compliance, their team helped curate and land the opportunity to deploy the platform across the organization to support internal intrapreneurship and innovation management,” says Zanganehpour.

Today, the Swae platform digitally enables and powers the Etihad Airway’s Entrepreneurship and Employee-Driven Innovation Program, iFikra, allowing it to function and scale across the entire work- force. “Having the convening power and support of the NYU startAD program gave us an initial leg up in brokering the relationship and getting to a quick ‘yes/no’ decision about a possible future,” says Zanganehpour. “This was extremely valuable because getting to a ‘yes/no’ decision with potential pilot customers is key for an early stage start- up with limited resources. Having an internal champion that helped clear the way, protect the idea and fight for the opportunity, amidst all the competing internal priorities has been the game-changer.

Our partnership with Etihad would not have been possible without the tireless and ongoing support and internal championing of Kai Ling Ting, Senior Manager, and the rest of her Strategy and Innovation team at Etihad Airways.” As an entrepreneur who is as active in the GCC as in other parts of the world, Zanganehpour is full of praises for the region’s intentions to support innovating and developing new products and services, but points out to legacy systems, cultures, and mindsets that constrain the existing potential, and limit the extent to which the GCC competes with global standards, when it comes to customer centricity, cost, long-term thinking, appreciation of risk, and innovation tolerance.

“The region is restrictive and very costly for early-stage startups and entrepreneurs,” he adds. “The high costs and short- term commercial pressures in turn limits the types of innovation and ventures that are pursued. Lastly, there is a lack of real investment into startups, because very limited real funding is provided, and instead, a lot of attention is paid to potential POC contracts.” At this stage, Zanganehpour and his team are focusing on building Swae 2.0, which should be available by Q4 2019, and finalizing the details of its pricing model which, he explains, will be based on a combination of variables including the numbers of users, management users, duration, and of successfully graduated decisions. Due to its many unique details, Zanganehpour believes that the Swae platform has, at the moment at least, only indirect competitors that provide solutions in the areas of employee engagement, innovation management, stakeholder consultation, crowdsourcing, participatory budgeting, and big data decision-support.

But Swae stands out for two core reasons- the design of its decision-making workflow and methodology, and the way AI is integrated in the process. “We believe AI can be used to level the playing field, so those with poorer language skills who do have valid insights can also have an equitable chance at making their ideas heard for the benefit of the collective decisions,” says Zanganehpour. “We therefore use NLU/NLP algorithms to help improve the quality of initial solutions articulated on the platform, functioning as a proposal editor, to strengthen the proposal’s effectiveness. This process creates bottom-up solutions that are well-written, researched, and deliberated.”

TREP TALK

Swae founder and CEO Soushiant Zanganehpour on how entrepreneurs can execute better decisions at their enterprises:

 

  • Design for meritocracy and transparency “To radically improve the quantity and diversity of input, design a more transparent and meritocratic system.”
  • Encourage anonymity “To improve the quality, diversity and truthfulness of input, encourage anonymity.”
  • Have a clear process and selection criteria “To attract broader participation, commit to a process and define the selection criteria up front.”
  • Broaden the scope of contribution “To attract broader participation, encourage ideas that are not limited to a particular scale and scope.”
  • Provide some paid time to participate “To encourage higher quality input, provide paid time for employees to get involved.”

Latest News

Swae CEO speaks at Nesta London | Tata Spark Salon

Swae CEO speaks at Nesta London | Tata Spark Salon

What positive change can digital technologies have on the democratic process?


Swae’s CE Soushiant spoke at at Nesta London at the Tata Spark Salon on the opportunities and challenges for spreading digital democracy, and how Swae can bridge that gap.

Educatefor.Life Pilot Partnership

Educatefor.Life Pilot Partnership

We’re so incredibly proud to announce the launch of a 12-week pilot with Educatefor.Life, an experiment of the Fast Track Institute, and a global community of passionate Students, Businesses, Educational Leaders, Institutions, Investors, and others collaborators creating and testing new education curriculum and experiences that deliver more accesible, effective and personalised education solutions reaching anyone, anywhere in the world.

Over the next twelve weeks, the open innovation and ideation challenge will allow distributed teams to leverage Swae’s platform, idea discovery methodology, AI augmentation process, and open deliberation interfaces, to conceptualize and prototype future-compatible education solutions. A driving purpose of this experiment is to try to create solutions that make access to high quality education much more equitable around the world.

Leveraging Swae, those participating in the pilot aim to create and test new education curriculum and experiences that deliver more accessible, effective and personalised education solutions reaching anyone, anywhere in the world.

Launching today,March 5th, and continuing through to May 10th, 2019, the Educatefor.Life community will complete two distinct iterations of the Swae methodology.

4 Phases of the Educatefor.Life Innovation Sprint

In the first phase (Ideate), the teams will go through our idea discovery process, AI Augmentation, collaboration, and voting. They will leverage our core features to gain access to constructive criticisms and potentially overlooked unintended consequences of their idea — helping improve them substantively. In the second phase (Solve), ideas will be refined with the feedback from phase one, and will culminate into experiments and possibly prototypes to test their real-world feasibility.

Throughout the course of this pilot, the Educatefor.life participants will be providing crucial feedback and insights to our team on Swae’s core methodology and platform functionality.

We’re incredibly excited to have this inspiring community of education leaders and thinkers “kick our tires” so-to-say, and feed into our evolving understanding of Swae’s role in facilitating intelligent, bottom-up, inclusive decision-making.

To join the innovation sprint visit: https://www.educatefor.life
To submit an idea of your own, visit: http://educateforlife.swae.io/, build a profile and create your idea from the ground-up.

If you would like Swae to help your company, organization or community raise the inclusivity, quality, and intelligence of decisions, please get in touch

More Information

Please visit: https://www.educatefor.life

About Swae

Swae is an AI-driven decision-making platform that helps raise the inclusivity, quality, and intelligence of decisions within organizations. The platform allows people to create decision-ready solutions from the bottom-up to contribute to key strategy, budgeting, policy, and operational decisions. By combining anonymity, artificial, and collective intelligence Swae helps organizations unleash the creativity of their stakeholders, discover new unrevealed ideas, and collectively build bottom-up solutions to strategy and resource allocation decisions, and improving overall decision quality without complexity for management.