Does your company’s culture empower people to speak up? [Brief Survey]

Does your company’s culture empower people to speak up? [Brief Survey]

Does your company’s culture empower people to speak up?

[Brief Survey]

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The new world of work can be frustrating, and giving employees a voice can feel difficult. Nothing is more demoralizing than a culture where no-one listens to your issues or ideas.

With many remote workers feeling it’s hard to raise important issues and get a reciprocal feedback loop going, now is the time to find out if your organization can be more ‘open’

Swae is an all-in-one platform to bring together ideas, problems, solutions, decisions and discussion- and has employee engagement and inclusivity at its heart.

From Teams to DAOs, and Enterprises, Swae’s results speak for themselves- but how do you know if Swae can boost your engagement?

Answer these questions (survey takes about 2 minutes) to analyze how your organization measures up around this idea of an inclusive culture…

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In 2022, culture is now more important to employees than salary but 86% of employees feel they are not heard ‘fairly or equally’…63% believe their views & opinions are completely ignored!

If people are going to be afraid, I’d rather they’re afraid of what will happen if they stay silent than being afraid of what will happen if they speak up.
We’re not going to have a culture where the messenger gets shot. We’re going to celebrate the person who called a potential threat or risk to our attention.’

Elon Musk SpaceX, Tesla,

More to explore…
High Performers in Companies Around the Globe Use Swae [Here Are 3 Reasons Why] 

High Performers in Companies Around the Globe Use Swae [Here Are 3 Reasons Why] 

High Performers in Companies Around the Globe Use Swae

[Here Are 3 Reasons Why]

1 June 2022 4 min Read

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What makes a high-performance leader or employee tick? Research shows that companies win more often when they build genuinely diverse, equitable, and inclusive cultures (learn more here).

These can be high-performing companies or individuals stepping into bold, authentic leadership styles that set them apart from others. Companies and leaders considered to be “high performers” are spread throughout key, identifiable workplaces around the globe and the one thing that binds them together is that to be consistent in high performance they’re setting themselves apart from the status quo and fighting for a new way to do work better.

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Thanks to the Covid pandemic and other social and demographic changes, we’re living through a once-in-a-generation power rebalance between employees and employers. Gone are the days of top-down hierarchical dictatorships in workplaces. We’re seeing a new era emerge with new norms, where people have their voices heard —and feedback turns into new possibilities for organizations to pursue.

High performers win more not because they go against the status quo and this is due to the way that they solve problems. The best way to solve modern-day organizational problems is to have competing ideas on the table to thoroughly discuss, not just the wisdom from a few of those at the top or who are the loudest. New research from Harvard Business Review titled  Approaches to Solving Problems in the Workplace , states that, “Highly effective teams solve problems the right way and have common features: the teams are cognitively diverse and psychologically safe.”

So, companies who build more diverse teams and create “speak up” cultures where there is trust and respect amongst cognitively diverse people do far better at solving everyday challenges than those that who have a more traditional and less cognitively diverse and psychologically safe spaces for problem and solution discussion.

According to Boston Consulting Group’s 2017 Diversity and Innovation Survey, companies with above-average diversity scores (via investing in creating conditions for cognitive diversity) generate nearly 20% more average revenue from innovation than companies that have below average diversity scores (and subsequently have not invested in creating the conditions for cognitive diverse in their organizations).

Companies with more diverse Leadership report higher Innovation Revenue
Companies with below average diversity scores

Average innovation revenue 

%

Companies with above average diversity scores

Average innovation revenue 

%

Source: Boston Consulting Group’s 2017 Diversity and Innovation Survey

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The latest research from Kaspersky, a leading enterprise innovation and security company states that, “88% of successful high performing organizations encourage innovation at every level, in every team,” and don’t silo innovation into one small department. And, in their follow up report on Bottom-up Innovation in Enterprise shows they share the most important values required for building high performing and innovative organizations.

    • Instilling Entrepreneurialism
    • Creating Diversity (of thought and personnel)
    • Empowering individuals
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Not convinced by the research? We can tap into the wisdom of others, so let’s analyze what Steve Jobs has said.

“If you want to hire great people and have them stay, you have to be run by ideas, not hierarchy. The best ideas have to win.”


Steve Jobs Apple, NeXT, Pixar

Working with the world’s most innovative companies at Swae, we know that high performers thrive in workplaces where there is an idea meritocracy, not top-down authority and dictatorship.

An idea meritocracy is defined as a decision-making system where the best ideas (irrespective of who proposes them) win out. The concept has been around for a long time but was popularized by Ray Dalio in his best-selling book Principles: Life & Work, which shares an in-depth exposé of his organizational and operating strategy within his company called Bridgewater (learn more here), which is arguably the most successful hedge fund.

Dalio attributes the “idea meritocracy” at Bridgewater as a decision-making system where new investment and policy ideas can come from anywhere in the hierarchy, can be challenged by anyone, and the most debated are the ideas put forward for institutional decisions, as the system responsible for the quality and quantity of good decisions made to lead to such an outsized performance gap against all other competitors in their space.

“Our success occurred because we created a real idea meritocracy in which the goal was to have meaningful work and meaningful relationships and the way we went after them was through radical truthfulness and radical transparency.”


Ray Dalio Founder Bridgewater Associates

Examples from these cultural icons and highly innovative business tycoons helps paint the picture of the powerful underlying constructs that Swae brings to the table. It’s built for any organization or leader who wants to unleash the collective intelligence that lies within a workplace.

Swae is not a fickle chat or upvoting app. 

Swae is not a boring idea enablement workflow platform. 

Swae is not just a product innovation platform.

It is so much more; turning feedback into organizational change and creating a bottom-up idea meritocracy.

Swae can help your workplace become an industry example and high-performing entity due to the help in building a more constructive speak up culture. As demonstrated above, this is a critical step for driving more innovative ideas forward, faster.

Swae’s AI and Collaboration features help people refine ideas together in an inclusive way. Imagine an open suggestion box combined with a conditional guarantee of a decision. Anyone can suggest ideas within the organization they belong to, and ideas compete for decision attention equally. The ideas that receive the most debate graduate to a decision. Leaders commit to making a decision about the fate of popular ideas directly on the platform.

Fair, transparent, bottom-up, and meritocratic decision-making. That’s the Swae way.

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How Swae supports high performers everywhere:

Swae serves the people that love to disrupt the status quo (for the good).

Swae serves DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) by using Swae’s collective intelligence, collaboration, and crowdsourcing features allowing members of DAOs to create proposals anonymously with the support of AI that will improve the quality of those proposals and then open them up for the input of the larger community.

The crowdsourcing feature will enable the proposals to be debated on their merits, edited with others’ perspectives, and voted on by all active members of the community. The proposals that receive the highest engagement (positive or negative) automatically percolate upwards to a decision DAO community and its “council,” where projects can be funded or supported in whatever way the DAO chooses.

This process for revealing decision-ready ideas from the bottom-up can be adapted to any organization that is bold enough to desire it and for the leaders ready to disrupt the stale and boring hierarchical status quo and create environments that value people and what they have to say.

To further expand on the Kaspersky’s Bottom-up Innovation in Enterprise report, the top three barriers larger organizations face when trying to innovate more include:

A. Organizational structures add too much complexity (48% agree)

B. Too many people are involved in the [decision-making] process (42% agree)

C. It takes too long to make decisions (40% agree)

48%

Organizational structure adds additional complexity

42%

Too many people are involved in the [decision-making] process

40%

It takes too long to make decisions

Swae helps to create diverse and inclusive environments with less pain and less noise.

We know that when employees speak up, good things happen. An MIT Sloan study shows that when employees are comfortable in speaking up more often about many emerging topics, they are more likely to stay at the company longer, and to exhibit positive employee behaviors.

92%

Employees who spoke up more were 92% more likely to want to stay with the company (even if offered a comparable position elsewhere)
96% of the employees who speak up on all the survey topics said they work in teams that value diverse perspectives and feel safe to express their viewpoints.

96%

The more diverse and inclusive the teams, the better because people feel comfortable and safe to be more open, engaging, and speak up more often.

Swae is for the brave.

Swae exists to build positive workplaces that debias decisions, empower constructive debate, deepen collaboration, and tap into intrinsic motivations for engagement.

Breaking down the biases and structures that zap out our motivations in the workplace is critical for creating high performing organizations and cultures.

Unchecked bias has a massive impact in the workplace that can derail businesses from finding great ideas and making significant decisions every single day. An article by McKinsey & Company How Biases, Politics, and Egos Trump Good Strategy  shows data that proves cognitive bias eats away at the positivity within a company’s culture.

Here are a couple of the top biases according to McKinsey & Company to look out for:

  • Overconfidence: this type of bias leads people to ignore contradictory information. They don’t hear anything other than their “own voice” when considering options.
  • Confirmation Bias: refers to the human tendency to search for, interpret, favor, and recall information in a way that confirms or supports one’s prior beliefs or values. One study found, for instance, that 80% of executives believe that their product stands out against the competition—but only 8% of customers agree.
Eight studies with 147,000 people show that dominant, competitive leadership has the unintended consequence of zero-sum thinking — the belief that progress can be made only at the expense of others — among subordinates. Such environments disincentivize workers from helping or supporting their colleagues. 
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A more empowered and engaged way of doing business is on the rise…

We see a bright future ahead!

We at Swae envision a world where everyone understands their value and is seen for that value in their workplaces and where everyone can feel included and have a voice. Call us crazy, but we’re passionate about this vision and are working hard to make it as obvious as the current system that works in the opposite manner.

Swae is helping organizations across the world to solve today’s problems and create tomorrow’s strategy. From Start-ups to Charities, and Enterprises to DAOs, our clients find that their greatest resource is their people, and Swae is proven to help get the best from the untapped potential within their workforce.

Find your next winning ideas using Swae

More to explore…

Swae sponsors innovative Blockchain community Rutanio – enabling a commercial Columbian ecosystem that fosters Entrepreneurship & Creativity

Swae sponsors innovative Blockchain community Rutanio – enabling a commercial Columbian ecosystem that fosters Entrepreneurship & Creativity

Swae sponsors innovative Blockchain community Rutanio – enabling a commercial Columbian ecosystem that fosters Entrepreneurship & Creativity

4 min read, 11 April 2022

FOFO business leaders not listening

Swae partners with Rutanio to support their process for broader distribution of RUTA tokens towards innovative entrepreneurial grant projects enabling community-based decision-making

The Vision: A Participatory and Knowledge-based Economy 

Medellín, Colombia, is in the process of engineering its reinvention. In less than three decades, it’s attempting to reposition itself from a hotbed for cartel violence and “the most dangerous city on earth” to the “Silicon Valley of South America.”

At the forefront of this transition is the Ruta N center, an innovation hub responsible for spearheading and coordinating the transition to a more prosperous and future-compatible economy. 

Ruta N’s job is to connect people, businesses, and companies to create new economic opportunities while supporting progressive and innovation-friendly public policy development to encourage digital acceleration and entrepreneurial growth. The organization cooperates with different international organizations to bring disruptive solutions to the city. They’ve created a hub, academy, and Distributed Innovation Platform to experiment with technologies and develop capacities to execute projects in a creative learning environment for innovative initiatives that will connect with global innovation and entrepreneurship communities.

Entrepreneurship and innovation have grown to become essential pillars for future growth in the city’s region of Antioquia and nationally in Colombia.

As such, the Ruta N group is trying to shape a model where innovation is the primary driver of the economy and well-being of Medellín, with the mission to transform the city into a “knowledge economy” working closely with the government and other industry-leading stakeholders.

“What makes Ruta N unique is that this is an initiative backed up by public policies, and we are working on innovation and technology for almost 10 years because Medellin thinks that if we have a sustainable economy, this needs to be based on knowledge,” said Sin Kit, CTi solutions developer at Ruta N.

Elkin Echeverri Garcia, the former planning and foresight director at Ruta N, said that “The system we’re searching for isn’t to have more unicorns or to win the Nobel Prize…but to improve the standard of living.”

Rutanio and the RUTA Token: The MVPs of this Future Vision 

The Rutanio Project is an initiative catalyzed by Ruta N, supported by Medellín’s Mayor Federico Gutiérrez and local startup advisors, international Colombian business leaders, and diaspora community members.

The goal of the Rutanio project is to create a “Minimum Viable Economy” through the use and proliferation of an Innovation Token, the RUTA, which will facilitate the exchange of services, force digital adoption and digitization, eliminate high transaction costs, and generate value in the knowledge and innovation economy.

Rutanio intends to internationalize and accelerate the ecosystem of innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity to provide the world with a simple, transparent and reliable way to access resources, capabilities, and talent.

Rutanio has developed the RUTA, a Complementary Digital Token and network that uses cryptographic techniques and provides top security to prevent counterfeit or duplication of token transactions. The purpose is to allow and facilitate, both in public and private sectors, the exchange of services, support of profit systems, elimination of friction in transactions, and generation of value in the knowledge and innovation economy.

Rutanio has also developed a blockchain ​​platform for the RUTA social token and an exchange market that desires to foster connections and support progressive entrepreneurial development. You can learn more about Rutanio and its mission by watching this video here.

Swae’s Role in Supporting a New Economic System Built on Collective Decision-Making

The Rutanio team initially approached Swae to request access to the platform to begin decentralizing decision-making and helping them include their community in important strategic decisions. Originally, they planned to invite their community members into a grant funding program to request RUTA tokens to build projects and initiatives that improve the value of the entire Rutanio ecosystem, and the usability of the RUTA token, for every member. 

Since Swae was built to provide everyone inside an organization an equal voice to raise solutions and shape decisions to create an inclusive decision-making environment, we chose to sponsor an annual license for Rutanio to help them realize their mission. 

Rutanio will utilize the Swae platform to help them: 

    1. Collect feedback from community members.
    2. Increase knowledge and adoption of blockchain technology in the city.
    3. Generate business opportunities.
    4. Accelerate the development of the technological capabilities of ecosystem members.
    5. Advance regulatory issues for distributed ledger technologies.
    6. Democratize and internationalize the Ecosystem of Innovation Articulated by Ruta N.

Swae’s collective intelligence, collaboration, and crowdsourcing features will allow members of the Rutanio community to create proposals anonymously with the support of AI that will improve the quality of those proposals and then open them up for the input of the larger community. The crowdsourcing feature will enable the proposals to be debated on their merits, edited with others’ perspectives, and voted on by all active members of the community. The proposals that receive the highest engagement (positive or negative) automatically percolate upwards to a decision by the Rutanio Community Council to fund the projects with RUTA tokens.

Using Swae, community members can apply for 3 streams of funding:

  • Less than 250,000 RUTAs
  • Between 250,000 – 750,000 RUTAs
  • More than 750,000 RUTAs

The process set up by Swae helps Rutanio’s Community Council gather a greater level of truthful input, arguments, and data points to improve proposals to drive distribution and usability of Rutanio without creating a tremendous burden of added work for the members.

This new space facilitates community-driven decision-making, giving their community an intelligent decision-making platform combining anonymity, artificial intelligence, and collective intelligence to help the organizations unleash the creativity of their members and make better quality decisions.

How Swae’s Technology Supports Tokenized Communities and Facilitates Bottom-Up Decision-Making

As more and more tokenized communities/Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) seek to build genuinely community-driven programs, Swae is poised to become the platform to support these efforts. The uniqueness that Swae brings is that it’s much more than a crowdsourcing and voting platform; it’s a robust, community-driven, and consensus-building platform that enables decision-making driven by collective intelligence. 

The world of Web3 and the explosive growth of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs) will be a hotspot for experimentation around community governance. 

The features and functions that Swae offers that benefit tokenized communities includes, but are not limited to, the following: 

  • Rich formatting options when creating proposals
  • The affinity with AI-supported tooling, such as the NLP writing tools built-in
  • The ability to contribute Proposals, Comments, and Suggestions anonymously, allowing the difficult things to be said openly and discussed 
  • Interactions are fully accountable and transparently tracked to allow for open community-based interactions
  • The team at Swae can collaborate for customized developments within the platform that can enhance roadmaps and allow for the co-creation of more elaborate new features as desired.

Today provides a unique opportunity for Swae to become the grant management and governance platform of choice that can support progressive DAOs (Decentralized Autonomous Organizations) across the globe. 

The blockchain business models of DAOs are forging a promising new ecosystem for the exchange of services (internationally), entrepreneurial projects, and other digital startups. Swae strengthens a DAOs community by allowing more people to have a say in the decisions being made, providing an open and safe space where there’s accountability for the decisions and processes implemented, and a place to document outcomes creating an ongoing learning-based system of what works and what doesn’t. 

Swae sees the city of Medellín and Rutanio’s innovation and development center as progressive concepts. Many regional and local systems can mirror this approach to help solve real problems that provide a benefit to society and generate value through an open, collaborative and multidisciplinary approach. 

Swae is a powerful tool for bottom-up and community-led governance to structurally and culturally prepare governments and organizations for a management philosophy that is less hierarchical and where everyone can be included. 

At its fundamental essence, Swae provides organizations, government agencies, and DAOs an end-to-end proposal development and collective decision-making system, helping the collective users make sense of their members’ desired wants and needs, revealing hidden opportunities for consideration, and turning these into positive implementations.

As more and more tokenized communities & DAOs seek to build genuinely community-driven programs they need more sophisticated and transparent systems to help build trust and progression. 

Swae is much more than a crowdsourcing and voting platform; it’s a robust, community-driven, and consensus-building platform that enables decision-making driven by collective intelligence.


Soushiant Zanganehpour Swae Founder and CEO

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Swae is helping organizations across the world to solve today's problems and generate tomorrow's strategy. Our clients are finding that their greatest resource is their people, and Swae is proven to help get the best from the untapped potential within their workforce. We'd love the chance to show you how Swae can 'pay off' for you...

Ready to learn how Swae can help your organization?

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Entrepreneur Mag: A deep dive into the ups and downs of building a tech startup in uncertain times

Entrepreneur Mag: A deep dive into the ups and downs of building a tech startup in uncertain times

Swae: A roller coaster ride

A deep dive into the ups and downs of building a tech start-up in uncertain times.

10 min read, 7 April 2022

Entrepreneur Middle East April 2022 issue is here featuring Swae CEO & Founder @soushiant‘s story of building Swae duding uncertain times [read ‘global pandemic] as well as enforced work, from home, team building and a host of other issues. Nobody ever said it would be easy, but every cloud has a silver lining and the Swae team is more dedicated than ever to help make the workplace more inclusive and help decisions beceom more democratic. 

The issue is headlined by @Mhdgroupoman‘s @mohsinhani and also features @Amazon‘s Paul Misener, @FarEye‘s @kushalnahata, and the winners of@MastercardMEA‘s #WomenSMELeaders Awards 2022. 

You can read the magazine here, read the virtual magazine below or keep scolling for the full text:

Back in 2019, I shared with Entrepreneur Middle East my company Swae’s founding story, and our big vision of the need to upgrade the decision-making process for organizations and government  institutions, so that they become more compatible to the needs of the future, as well as the direction the world was headed in. 

In it we shared a common trend we saw across many types of organizations – that most people feel they lack voice and cant influence the major decisions made inside the organizations they belong to. This is often the consequence of closed cultures, outdated structures, or an over reliance on a top-down decision-making process. As a consequence, many are disengaged and the impact on the organizations is very visible – 3x higher disengagement rates, 3x higher absenteeism rates, and 34% lower productivity rates per employee on average.  Thankfully, though slowly, this trend is leading many decision makers to come to terms with their structural or cultural shortcomings and begin reconsidering how they include others in decision-making processes or shift culture to be more inclusive.

“Today’s most consequential institutions (governments, corporations, city councils) make their most important decisions through hierarchical processes. They interpret stakeholders’ preferences through periodic surveys or consultations, and leverage representatives to filter information up and down the hierarchy, precluding regular, meaningful, and unfiltered participation of most stakeholders into the process. But, our ever-advancing communication technologies are challenging this outdated proces, enabling direct and instantaneous communication, allowing for efficient access to distributed intelligence, and even helping create the first ever distributed organizations.” 

Over this period, Swae began carving out its niche and penetrating the market. The platform amassed close to 40,000 users from clients all over the globe, including some of the world’s top organizations such as the United Nations, the governments of Mexico and Chile, blue chip corporations such as Bosch, Etihad Airways, LifeLabs, and EMC Insurance. After winning the New Shape Prize, and securing a $750K CAD non-dilutive grant, 20 months later we were able to successfully fundraise an additional $750K CAD seed round – a 50% increase from the initial $500K offer – led by the former head of Engineering at Netflix and other notable investors, and, we even had time to produce a swanky new explainer video showing how Swae works to condense the technological concept and narrative down into something digestible and fun for all audiences.

But since publishing the article in 2019, no one really could predict there would be a global pandemic that would turn every assumption all of us had on its head. From the unique lens of Swae, the pandemic was a positive forcing function – the challenges that organizations face only accelerated and came to the forefront. There was no more hiding them between the natural cracks an organization faces during growth. They became prominent issues to solve for today. 

THANKFULLY (THOUGH SLOWLY), THIS TREND IS CAUSING MANY LEADERS TO COME TO TERMS WITH THEIR STRUCTURAL OR CULTURAL SHORTCOMINGS, AND BEGIN RECONSIDERING HOW THEY INCLUDE OTHERS IN DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES, SHIFTING COMPANY CULTURES TO BE MORE INCLUSIVE.

 

Thanks to Covid 19 and the ensuing the market volatilities and revamped nature of work, the need for such a wake up, to create an environment of psychological safety and inclusion, to create a system that helps organizations listen at scale, to hear as many voices as possible (instead of the loudest or most powerful few at the top), to source creative solutions to new problems and enable good ideas with meaningful action, is more important today than ever before.

“In today’s era, there really is no excuse for organizations and leaders not to leverage the available but untapped collective intelligence that resides within them. We have the technology to do this efficiently, research shows that crowdsourcing reveals high enough quality of solutions to problems to be worthwhile, and modern culture has progressed enough so people expect this level of transparency and inclusion in the decision making process, especially decisions that have a big impact on their lives. Leaders and organizations that fail to listen and update their processes to meet the world where it is and where it’s headed will be left behind. No one wants a part of the outdated reality they have to offer.” says Soushiant Zanganehpour, founder and CEO of Swae

 But the Covid-19 pandemic did not discriminate between organizational types. Swae nearly went under. 

Covid-19 & its Impact on all Organizations 

As it generally goes, building a tech startup or any startup for that matter is indeed a roller coaster ride. Building a tech startup during a global pandemic brought a level of challenge I had never faced in my life before.  At the outset of Covid-19, Swae was thrown into a number of crises, and had to overcome many headwinds to adapt itself to the new reality.  We’ve had a lot of learnings since our 2019 launch. The challenges that hit when 2020 came all centered around planning and maneuvering through massive uncertainty – uncertainty about what our clients were going through and if they had the available budgets to invest in our solution; uncertainty about where funding would come from and how to fundraise without in-person roadshow and meetings; uncertainty about the impact of the pandemic on recruiting global talent and team formation; and uncertainty about how to grow a team and instill the right culture while being entirely remote! 

“Since 2019, the landscape and market we’ve entered has changed in ways that I couldn’t have predicted. Covid-19 came and hit everyone like a wrecking ball; the workplace instantly became remote, and decision-making, team collaboration, and innovation (the things that Swae does) are now far more complex and fragmented than we ever imagined before. The toll the pandemic has had on people on all levels means what we do for employees (and leaders) is so much more profound.  This shift certainly forced us to re-evaluate and reinvent how we support organizations, and we’re far stronger for it.

Initially we resisted the changes thrown unto us but learned quickly not to fight them. We reminded ourselves that we aren’t the only company that was massively affected during these highly unstable times, and it ended up being an opportunity for us to get really clear on what we’re doing and how to overcome big hurdles as a team. Embracing the uncertainty helped us find solutions and come a long way. 

Top 5 Challenges Faced and Lessons Learned

 From all the ups and downs we went through resulting from Covid-19, to some early learning moments predating Covid, here are the top 5 challenges we endured since launching Swae, how we overcame them, and what we learned about about hiring, team formation, strategy, as well as ways to enhance the technology.

Losing Anchor client at the outset of the Pandemic

At the outset of Covid 19, we lost our first and largest paying customer, Etihad Airlines. When the wrecking ball of Covid came crashing in, the impact on global airlines was swift, immediate, and painful. Etihad saw an 80% reduction in sales and canceled all major enterprise contracts to reduce their bleed, including ours. 

Our entire pipeline of enterprise deals also went up into thin air as well. Covid-19 indefinitely delayed the start of many projected client projects and or made the business case challenging to argue for. 

Mitigation & Lessons Learned

To respond, we quickly turned on a dime to minimize our burn rate and preserve cash flow. To replenish our lost projected cash flows, we began applying for grants and thinking of new markets for our product. We eventually leveraged government support and grants to help us recover 40% of the lost revenue to manage through this period of uncertainty.  

Knowing we weren’t the only ones facing difficult times, we understood that many organizations and local governments were struggling to adapt to virtual, all-digital, decision-making during this prolonged period of uncertainty. We came together and began brainstorming more immediate and shorter use cases of Swae. From listening to clients, we learned that people could use Swae to manage remote annual general meetings and even use it to crowdsource content and agendas for virtual meetings and events. We felt there was a way to adapt our core product to be more nimble to launch and easier to configure, to help others while allowing us to earn short term revenue.  Two months after losing Etihad, in May 2020, we launched three complementary products to enable teams to make collective decisions over the internet quickly, conveniently, and safely. These include: 1) Swae for digital annual general meetings, 2) Swae for digital policy making and governance 3) Swae for remote team decision-making.

Losing Anchor funders at the beginning of the pandemic 

In January 2020, we launched a $500K seed round and quickly closed the first $150K. As shared above, in February 2020, we also closed our first 6-figure annual commercial contract with Etihad Airways, after a year long pilot of our platform inside their organization. The year was off to a great start, so we thought. With enough investment closed and expected revenues from our first $ARR contract (as well as a pipeline of $500K-$1M worth of enterprise deals), we decided to pause our fundraise and instead focus on going to market with our product. Anyone who has built an early stage startup knows that fundraising is a very intense and distracting process, and we thought the time would be better spent closing new deals. Hindsight is 2020 (no pun intended)… When you have momentum, never stop! That was our biggest mistake. After we paused our round, in March, everything changed. Etihad canceled the contract and our entire pipeline of enterprise deals also disappeared, thanks to Covid. Now, with no anchor deal, and no pipeline of deals, how easy do you think it was to raise funds?  When we tried to revive the fundraise two committed anchor investors immediately retracted their commitments to invest due to the impact of Covid on their portfolios, general cash availability, and the grim future that presented itself. 

Their cancelled commitments combined with the comical series of other debacles SIGNIFICANTLY changed our cash flow projections and reality.  One day, we were projecting more money than we needed, the other day we could barely fund ourselves.  It was a vicious circle that would not cease. Without any new confirmed investment or revenues, we were projecting an end date of Swae for December 31, 2020. 

Mitigations

With a clear end date in site, we knew we had to prolong our burn rate as long as possible. So we came together as a team and decided to restructure and opt to reduce our salaries as a last ditch attempt to save the company. Each of us came to the table with an open mind and depending on our individual situations, each offered to give up some portion of their salary they derived from Swae.  The minimum amount reduced was 30% and most offered to give up 100% of their salaries.  Instead of salary, the team would earn what they had sacrificed in equity with a sizeable risk premium and bonus. That seemed fair. 

 I took the first heavy paycut, then all other part-time contractors voluntarily contributed their entire salaries to Swae in exchange for equity. Finally, the leadership at our outsourced tech team bravely offered to contribute some engineers to our cause without pay for a long enough period to help us with ongoing client implementations and progress against our roadmap. This experience was a transformational and cathartic moment for us as a team. During a global pandemic, amidst all the uncertainties surrounding our individual lives, the team came together and collectively decided to do whatever we all could to keep the mission and dream of Swae alive. That experience brought everyone together in ways that superficial team building exercises simply don’t. When faced with crisis, the team stepped up. Until this day that moment acts as an an enormous source of mutual trust and kinship – like a binding agent between all of us. It’s cemented part of our culture that we simply don’t give up when we face adversity, and instead we come together to look for solutions. That crisis gave us a resounding amount of  confidence to face the future, whatever it presents. 

The internal restructuring allowed us to extend our runway by an additional 9 months, allowing us to get to the other end of 2020 and successfully enter 2021. During these turbulent months, a silver lining emerged. Investors stopped seeing Covid-19 as a massive interruption and began seeing the long term implications of it on the future of work and society. Instantly, many began to see Swae as a potential source of solutions for the new complexities of working remotely during a pandemic. The explosion and irreversible long term impacts of Remote Working, the accelerated adoption of digital tools, and new challenges associated with collaboration, maintaining engagement, and decision-making increased the projected market size and opportunity for remote collaboration tools from $18b to $60b (almost a 4x increase) from 2021-2024. This new framing of the needs of the future workplace began changing Swae’s market perception and only increased interest in Swae. 

After a few short months, we were able to land our lead investor, Mr. William Eisenman, the former CTO and Head of Engineering of Netflix, and were able to finish raising our seed round and it was oversubscribed. 

Parting ways with two different CTOs and still building a great product

We went through two (yes, two!) CTOs but still built the platform without that leadership position filled. Here’s the backstory: when Swae initially launched, I bootstrapped the company from my savings and we didn’t have a CTO. We used the limited resources we had and our intimate knowledge of the problem to outsource the build out of a prototype (the team that did it is the team we still work with to this day). At that time, our needs were basic. 

After winning the New Shape Prize, getting a $750K non-dilutive injection of cash and some validation, we were ready to expand the team.  We began recruiting for a CTO, searching for a strong technical lead, full stack developer, and AI programmer with expertise in Natural Language Processing to assume the responsibility of shaping our product, prototyping new features, building beautiful, consistent, scalable and intuitive software, and leading our AI development. 

We received over 400+ applicants, and successfully hired a former Amazon Alexa Natural Language Generation Team Member, a Full Stack Developer + Architect (Natural Language Processing and Generation specialist), as our new CTO. 

Unfortunately, after working with this individual for a short 7 week period, things did not work out as we had imagined.  He was brilliant but the interpersonal fit was quite off.  Our working styles and expectations about how to manage Swae became more incompatible over his short tenure. 

Fast forward 6 months after his departure, we were able to find a more suitable CTO with the right balance of interpersonal, leadership and technical skills to be a better fit for what we needed. She helped improve the product and launched the newest version of Swae. Though she was with Swae for nearly 2 years, in May 2021, she also parted ways due largely to strong differences in opinion about the responsibilities and trade-offs of being a co-founder, the overall product experience, and the company’s direction. 

Mitigations: 

When we were recruiting for either CTO, we identified some red flags and the potential for some of the behaviors we saw later in the working relationship to arise, but we decided as a team to be practical – that we would try to manage these concerns as they came up. Truth was that we thought we really needed a CTO with the skill set they had to accomplish the technological goals we had in mind with the product, and we thought there skill set was a priority than fit. This was a costly mistake – something we will not repeat when our gut is telling us not to go ahead. 

Though exhausting and expensive, we learned very valuable lessons in both cases about how to pick the people we want to work with. Moving forward, we only make hiring decisions if the gut feels right, and won’t compromise that intuitive feeling on being “sensible”. We will never make the same compromises we did previously because they are unsustainable.

Initially we panicked about the fact that we couldn’t build a tech platform without a strong technical lead. The experience of going through two CTOs and having to launch a product without them proved we were wrong. We realized instead that we could distribute the tasks of the CTO into the existing roles we had amongst our team. Distribution of responsibility, combined with strong spring defining, demo, and quality assurance processes meant we were able to develop new features and iterate the product consistently and affordably without needing to rely on a figure head. 

With hindsight we also realized we were too early to need the skill set and seniority of a CTO, and instead could make similar progress with a strong senior developer instead. Adding the layer of CTO would only be relevant after a few more years of traction and progress of the product. 

Without a CTO, the engineering process and team did not fall by the way side. The team stepped up on both ends (in Vancouver, and India), to ensure things remain on track, features are released under the expected conditions, and the platform relaunch timelines are met. To make up for the gap, we have instituted new processes and meetings that include more critical roles (like weekly demos by the engineering team, priority setting meetings that include design, product and engineering together, etc.)

Not having a CTO also allowed us to save a significant amount in monthly recurring salaries and expenses, to help prolong our burn rate. 

At the moment, we don’t have a CTO. We decided that our ‘departments’ would be headless as we realized that we didn’t need a multi-layered C-level or VP-level role in every department of our startup. When everybody has a voice and everyone is equally accountable, this becomes the bottom-up way (or “Swae way”)  to drive all the important aspects from marketing, sales, product development, and customer success and improvement. We’re doing some radical things and practicing what we preach. 

“Ultimately, what we decided is that everyone has autonomy but everyone owns unique directives. Often things come back to me because the ultimate vision of any organization has to be driven by the core person(s) and I’ve been thinking about Swae and what it can be in this world for a much longer time than anyone else on the team. This has worked really well thus far and makes us much more responsive so we truly are practicing what we preach,” says Zanganehpour. 

Lacking Essentials for Strategy and Go-to-Market: 

As is typical in a startup’s initial launch phase, often there’s a lack of clarity in some key areas around marketing and sales. We had a bit of a rough start when we realized that we didn’t have some key strategic details fully fleshed out. Since Swae had so many use cases and was an organization and use case agnostic tool, we didn’t have a rigid and well defined understanding of who our ideal customer and archetype was. This lead us down the path of being everything to everyone initially, which is a perfect recipe for failure. 

Mitigations:

Realizing this was a flawed approach, we invested time in gathering information and conducting research to create archetypes (or personas) of who we serve – this was critical to success. Once the archetypes were in place we began learning what objections people had to saying yes or no, and redesigned our pitch to address those upfront before we face long sales cycles that go nowhere real fast. Not having that sound structure led us to realize it was necessary to deeply understand the people that we need to connect with, and understand how to work through the objections. We’re making these powerful changes for our sales and marketing output to help us make a larger impact overall. 

  1. Fundraising and Hiring Remotely: Fundraising without face to face meetings was much more challenging than anticipated, as was building a team totally remotely. When face to face interactions became undoable, we had to get to the core of creating important systems and building structures to support this effort. As most know, video conferencing is laborious and taxing as well.  Anything else here?

    “Even with these challenges, we were able to fundraise $750K CAD seed funding round – a 50% increase from the initial $500K offer from some notable investors and we’ve got the financial runway to build a MVP of our platform and really move forward in a more progressive manner. And we’ve been able to grow a solid team that is now in place as of 2022, even though we had retracted twice since 2019 given market challenges and global uncertainties due to the pandemic,” says Zanganehpour. 

The Future of Swae and the Creation of More Inclusive Bottom-Up Organizational Models

2022 Milestones for Swae 

With these great lessons behind us and more important insights to face head on, over the next year we expect: 

  • To grow revenues to $1M+ ARR
  • To double our team from 8 to 16 people 
  • To grow the platform user base from 40K to 100K+ users 
  • To add significant features to the core platform including Chats, Polls, and Brainstorms
  • To add to proprietary features to our existing AI algorithms, including bias detection and evidence suggestion features 
  • To add important integrations such as MS teams, Slack, and other collaboration platforms.
  • To launch a second product based on the core feature set tailored more to use cases in Web3, DAOs and participatory governance in Crypto projects
  • To partner with some smart cities to launch citizen engagement, bottom-up and participatory policy making initiatives 
  • And many more…

At the core, Swae’s mission stayed the same; to give everyone an equal voice in raising solutions and shaping decisions, allowing organizations (even government systems) to uncover and benefit from the untapped collective intelligence from within, through a robust and innovative idea management and bottom-up decision-making platform. 

The sheer pace of adaptation to change that’s required of organizations today thanks to Covid-19 has set the scene for Swae. Our three biggest use cases include collaboration during remote work, increasing collaboration without unwanted noise, and building more inclusive cultures supporting growth and DEI initiatives. All of these points are extremely important in today’s organizational realities, no matter the company size.

The ROI of Swae so far 

Over the past 12 months, the results from implementing Swae for various clients speak for themselves and this has made us more proud than anything else during such harsh times. Some of our clients include the United Nations, LifeLabs, Etihad Airways, and more.

Having compiled results from over 40,000 unique users and several large organizational pilots from around the world that demonstrates we’re delivering on our promises – even though we’re just getting started. Some of the great things that have come back to us: 

  • $5M+ USD – the value of innovation ideas that have been sourced through Swae (so far).
  • $1M USD – average value of innovation pipeline developed over 12 months
  • 200K+unique collaboration exchanges have happened between Swae’s users.
  • 94% of users polled say Swae increased their engagement, motivation and happiness by helping them have a meaningful voice in decisions.
  • 90% of users polled claim Swae surfaced ideas that would not have otherwise surfaced using other available collaboration tools. 
  • 84% of users polled say Swae made idea sharing and collaboration easier & more accessible to their whole community
  • 3-months is the payback period – either resulting from cost savings ideas generated from the platform, revenue generating ideas sourced from the platform for investment and development, or efficiencies resulting from replacing more manual idea management and decision-making tools.
  • 70% increase in engagement (compared to other experiments and efforts to date)

While Swae is all about helping organizations shed more light on their challenges and providing a reliable platform where they can source ideas from the people within to create more inclusive cultures and a more equal playing ground, we do have a more grandiose vision that is the next evolution of our technology.

“Swae is ultimately designed to inspire ideas and stimulate debate around new, more effective forms of global cooperation at the highest levels in the biggest governments whether it be in cities, states or countries. We must realize that 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 benefit all in our species, above a narrow set of national self-interests. This can happen using the foundation we’ve built for Swae and will be our next big evolution of the technology we’ve built,” says Zanganehpour.

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Swae is helping organizations across the world to solve today’s problems and generate tomorrow’s strategy. Our clients are finding that their greatest resource is their people, and Swae is proven to help get the best from the untapped potential within their workforce. We’d love the chance to show you how Swae can ‘pay off’ for you…

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Swae Chosen as SingularityNET’s DAO Grant Funding Platform –Helping Distribute $1M in Grants for Newly-Launched Deep Funding Program

Swae Chosen as SingularityNET’s DAO Grant Funding Platform –Helping Distribute $1M in Grants for Newly-Launched Deep Funding Program

Swae Chosen as SingularityNET’s DAO Grant Funding Platform –Helping Distribute $1M in Grants for Newly-Launched Deep Funding Program

Swae’s platform will also support SingularityNET’s plans for progressive decentralization and community-driven governance for their DAO

7 min read, 29 March 2022

FOFO business leaders not listening

Swae, a Vancouver-based technology startup operating a bottom-up idea management and decision-making platform, has been chosen by SingularityNET’s executive team to support their Deep Funding grant allocation program, which offers their token holders from around the globe a chance to apply for up to $1M in grant funding for winning AI projects.

The Deep Funding program intends to distribute up to $1M USD equivalent value in AGIX tokens (valued at 0.11 USD per token) in the first funding round between March and May 2022. These rounds are expected to grow in size and scale after this initial implementation.

A budding partnership to power next generation DAO governance and their plans for progressive decentralization and community-driven decision-making

About SingularityNET’s DeepFunding.AI Grant Program

The Deep Funding program is an initiative from SingularityNET to seed the decentralized AI platform. In this program, they will offer a total of $1 Million in grants in round one. The project is searching for AI and app developers working on innovative AI products that will help grow the AI platform, to send in their proposal. The chosen project winners that will receive funding will keep ownership of their AI model, and be able to monetize their intellectual property and contribute to building a global ecosystem of decentralized AI (see DeepFunding.ai).

Hear about the Deep Funding Program directly from SNet’s Founder, Dr. Ben Goertzel

The Community’s Role in the Deep Funding Program

Deep Funding is intended to be a genuinely bottom-up and community-driven program where community involvement is essential for reviewing proposed grants and projects to ensure the best make it to the top.

Community members are invited to submit new grant proposals, read and review other proposals that come in, and help improve them through collaborative edits to help make the proposals cleaner and without errors. Collaboration will include the ability to point out strengths, risks, ask questions, as well as rate them against other idea proposals.

The collection of constructive and collaborative changes will signal to the wider community which proposals are gaining the most traction and are best positioned to be considered for an official vote and potential grant win.

Through the process of collective intelligence and constructive criticism from the community, the best proposals and projects will be prioritized and supported to implementation, and SingularityNET will begin practicing how best to implement community-driven governance for its DAO.

 

How Swae Powers the Deep Funding Program

Using Swae, Singularity NET will invite proposing teams and community members the following top goals: 

  • The program will gather a constant supply of high quality AI project proposals that are a good fit for the Deep Funding Program
  • Create continuous and constructive community involvement
  • Prepare for scalability to support a longer term program potential

AI project teams from around the world will use Swae to introduce themselves and promote their project proposals into the greater community and receive valuable feedback.

The projects that are chosen as grant winners will receive funding through grants to develop their AI project using AGIX tokens from SingularityNET’s DAO platform called SingularityDAO.

Once the winning projects have been funded, the winning teams will launch their AI service on the decentralized AI-platform to start monetizing their service. There are two levels of grants that will be offered in round one:

1) $500.000 USD of AGIX will be distributed for smaller proposals with a maximum of 40.000 USD worth of AGIX per proposal

2) $500.000 USD In AGIX distributed to larger proposals with a maximum of 150.000 USD worth of AGIX per proposal.

See https://deepfunding.ai for more details. 

 

Why Swae was Chosen to Support the Deep Funding Program

Swae was chosen by the SingularityNET team as they found Swae to have all their desired features and function sets. They’re seeking to build a genuinely community-driven program, and Swae is much more than a crowdsourcing and voting platform, it’s a robust community-driven and consensus-building platform that enables decision-making that’s driven by collective intelligence. Swae was chosen for many reasons, including:

 

  • Rich formatting options when creating proposals
  • The affinity with AI-supported tooling such as the NLP writing tools they already have built-in
  • The ability to contribute Proposals, Comments or Suggestions anonymously- allowing the difficult things to be said.
  • The way that interactions are fully accountable and transparently tracked is a solid starting point for community-based interaction.
  • The willingness of Swae’s team to collaborate in developing the platform gives the SingularityNET foundation and community an opportunity to enhance their roadmap, or even co-create with them, on the development of elaborate new features.

Pictured above shows Swae’s AI capabilities and reviewing process, whereby users benefit from various NLP AI algorithms to improve the quality of their initial proposal or idea. Some of Swae’s algorithms improve basic grammar, tone, sentiment and emotion, and more advanced algorithms under production will help detect bias in language and suggest evidence to further strengthen their ideas.

“Swae’s bottom-up, self-organizing-creativity based philosophy has proved a great match for our decentralized cross-disciplinary organization. Their active embrace of web3 technologies promises to position them excellently as leaders in idea management for the emerging decentralized tech ecosystem.

We’ve started out at SingularityNET with Swae as a framework for a community-driven grants program, DEEP Funding, but are now exploring further potential uses of the platform within our ecosystem. The miracle of Swae is the judicious product design that provides enough structure to guide the creative collaboration and decision process, but not so much structure as to become constraining and bureaucratic.

My colleagues and I are excited to continue exploring what Swae can enable as the platform grows and adds new features.

Swae_Dr_Ben_Goertzel
Dr Ben Goertzel CEO of SingularityNET

“Deep Funding is a very important initiative for SingularityNET and the growth of our AI platform. But it is more than that. I see Deep funding as a catalyst and experimentation ground for community governance.

We want Deep funding to become a true community driven initiative eventually evolving into a full DAO. Therefore I am extremely happy with the feature set and capabilities of Swae. We count ourselves lucky to have found such a great partner that feels like an extension of our own team.

With our joint collaborative and innovative approach and the constructive feedback of our community, I am confident we will be able to develop Swae even further into the best tool for governance processes of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations.


Jan Horlings, VP of Products at SingularityNET

Swae was founded to give everyone inside an organization an equal voice in raising solutions and shaping decisions – something that is currently foreign and missing from most experiences inside small and large hierarchical organizations.

We want to prove that a bottom-up system of decision sourcing can be as equally good or more effective than the top-down processes we have in place today in most organizations.

Nowhere do we see a greater opportunity for our ambitions and vision to be realized than within the world of Web3 with the explosive growth and mainstreaming of Decentralized Autonomous Organizations (DAOs).

Soushiant Zanganehpour Swae Founder and CEO Swae_io_Logo

Deepfunding program is designed to support new ideas in decentralized AI. We are happy to be able to contribute to the benefit of the next generation of projects across the globe. Our NLP work at Swae is truly making the future possible as we observe current AI solutions helping to create new ones.


Vlad Sokol Head of AI & Engineering 

About SingularityNET

SingularityNET is one of the most ambitious web3, blockchain, and AI projects ever conceived in the world. 

Lead by Dr. Ben Goertzel, former Director of Research of the Machine Intelligence Research Institute, former scientist and chairman of AI software company Novamente LLC; chairman of the OpenCog Foundation; and former Chief Scientist of Hanson Robotics, the company that created Sophia the Robot, SingularityNET intends to combine artificial intelligence and blockchain to democratize access to artificial intelligence.

SingularityNET features a decentralized AI platform that enables developers to monetize their AI services on a global market without sacrificing ownership.

The next cornerstone of the AI platform is ‘AI-DSL’, a protocol that allows individual AI services to dynamically find and communicate with each other, forming ad-hoc collaborations that are capable of much more complex tasks than any individual service would be.

This way, the project aims to remove one of the major limiting factors to AI growth today — the lack of interoperability — which severely restricts the ability to leverage the strengths and capabilities of individual AIs. The Sophia robot, the world’s most expressive robot, is one of our first use cases of this vision.

SingularityNET’s vision is to combine AI and blockchain to create a decentralized marketplace for different types of AI. This ecosystem is powered by the AGIX token that enables companies, organizations, and developers to buy and sell AI, but will also facilitate large numbers of autonomous transactions between all individual ai services. This capability will be further enhanced by HyperCycle, a novel Cardano Sidechain protocol, specialized in decentralized AI and capable of supporting the massive number of transactions needed for the future AI economy. SingularityNET’s “AI-as-a-service” aims to become the key open-source protocol for networking AI on the internet. A long term goal is to form a coordinated Artificial General Intelligence within the market network. It is an ambitious mission but the whole AI field is in its infancy (see SingularityNET.io).

In December 2017, @SingularityNET carried out an Initial Coin Offering (ICO) to raise funds for its ambitious vision and project. It is reported that their ICO was fully subscribed and raised $36 million USD in just 60 seconds! The Singularity team reported that the crowdfunding was capped after receiving $361 million in investor interest on its white list from more than 20,000 erstwhile investors.

For more info about SingularityNET, watch Dr. Ben Goertzel presenting SU Net at the World BlockChain Forum

About Swae

Swae is an idea management and decision-making platform that reveals solutions to problems directly from employees or stakeholder groups.

Founded in 2018, in Vancouver Canada, Swae’s platform disrupts the traditional hierarchy found within large organizations and provides a transparent and inclusive hub for ideation and collaboration. The combination of collective intelligence, AI and anonymity provide the foundation for users to provide critical feedback, improve ideas and vote on which ones move forward.

Organizations around the world use Swae to bring all voices to the table so they can uncover and benefit from the untapped collective intelligence from within.

For more information, visit www.swae.io or contact Swae’s Media Relations Team here.

Swae is helping organizations across the world to solve today's problems and generate tomorrow's strategy. Our clients are finding that their greatest resource is their people, and Swae is proven to help get the best from the untapped potential within their workforce. We'd love the chance to show you how Swae can 'pay off' for you...

Ready to learn how Swae can help your organization?

More to explore…
Why Should I Care About the “Future of Work” [And What Does That Even Mean]

Why Should I Care About the “Future of Work” [And What Does That Even Mean]

Why Should I Care About the “Future of Work” [And What Does That Even Mean]

8 Minute Read
FOFO business leaders not listening

The future of work describes changes in how work will get done over the coming years as influenced by technological, generational and societal shifts.

What does Future of Work even mean?

Like many phrases, the “future of work” has been a term thrown around for a long time in conferences and such and is a buzzword people use, but many don’t really understand what it means.

We found Deloitte has a pretty good (and simple) definition:

“We define the future of work as a result of many forces of change affecting three deeply connected dimensions of an organization: the work (the what), the workforce (the who), and the workplace (the where).”

When we dig into the technological, generational and social shifts taking place, we see very clearly that organizations today face extraordinary challenges. So, the “future of work” can be very elusive and difficult to map out when things change at speeds never seen before. From the likes of the global pandemic situation, to adapting to new technologies, competitors, customer needs, and social norms, it seems that every development is coming in at rates that we haven’t seen before.

What we see happening right now is that major companies are being disrupted daily, staff is feeling more and more disengaged, and customers are demanding new, innovative ways to connect.

Technology and the Future of Work

McKinsey & Company released a study in 2020 that explored How COVID-19 has pushed companies over the technology tipping point—and transformed business forever.

What they found surrounding COVID-19 in particular is that it pushed companies over the “technology tipping point” and transformed business forever. According to the Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, “We saw two years-worth of digital transformation take place in the first two months [of COVID-19]”.

In the eCommerce space, the changes were even more dramatic as the need to replace physical channels prevalent prior to COVID-19 became a life-or-death decision for many companies. Numerous reports and analysis confirm that COVID-19 forced more digital transformation to organizations in 3 months than over the past 10 years-worth of efforts by organizations and consulting firms combined. Every single industry has had to face new challenges that they need to learn how to overcome.

We’ve seen two years’ worth of digital transformation in two months”
Satya Nadella Chairman & CEO of Microsoft

To help organizations adapt to these challenges, technology platforms have had to step up, with many reports showing how tech outperformed the broader market. Specifically, the entire sector was up about 40% in the calendar year of 2020 alone.

The study by McKinsey & Company also looked at how the workplace environment has shifted and digitization has accelerated supply-chain interactions and internal operations by three to four years! Even more shocking, was that the share of digital or digitally-enabled products in their portfolios accelerated by seven years!

The point? In order to stay competitive in this new business and economic environment it requires companies to think outside the box and come up with better ways to collaborate and to dramatically change their internal practices.

Senior Executives are taking note and recognize technology’s strategic importance as a critical component of the business, not just a source of cost efficiencies.

In another study, G2’s 2022 Trends report on Software for the Hybrid Workplace showed that businesses in 2022 have begun to shift their focus from managing a hybrid office to achieving and maintaining efficient modes of communication in the post-pandemic work environment. 

The future of work around technology is that companies must find better solutions to remote working and remote collaboration. These two priorities sit at the top of the list that executives and organizations MUST look at and respond to immediately, or be left behind. 

The future of work around technological changes isn’t in the future anymore, it’s imperative to look at ways to enhance the hybrid work model, collaboration and employee engagement – and permutations of “work from home” – right now.

Generational and Social Shifts and the Future of Work

According to G2, companies will need to continue to offer a hybrid or fully remote option in order to retain top talent, especially after The Great Resignation of 2021 (the government’s jobs report released that over 20 million people quit their jobs in the second half of 2021. Some are calling it the “big quit,” others the “great resignation”).  

The desire for more freedom and flexibility has changed the employee experience forever and is now a huge social shift and generational priority. Therefore, communication and collaboration will be affected if teams are unable to adjust properly. Unfortunately, the standard video conferencing software will likely not be enough for teams in the long run. Part of adapting to this new environment will include a larger focus on tools that can enhance the virtual employee experience. 

High-quality communication and collaboration will become a priority for teams moving forward. Additionally, employers must consider individuals who may feel isolated if there is not enough team bonding time or face-to-face meetings. Finding ways to cultivate a healthy company culture and effective methods of communication in the current environment is vital.  

This is where Swae has been most helpful to organizations. We know that the world has changed irreversibly and new threats and opportunities arise daily for organizations. To source the best solutions to these challenges, the need for diverse options and competition for the best solutions has never been more important.  

A study by PwC Pulse Survey: Next in work states that we are at a pivotal moment for the future of work, and companies can help their businesses and employees thrive if employees remain the number one source of finding good solutions to internal and external challenges.

This is where Swae comes into the picture.

Swae solves this by helping organizations tap into the intelligence of their people with the ability to leverage the power of AI and a merit-based, bottom-up methodology. The outcome is the ability to develop smarter decisions without sacrificing speed.

Swae helps organizations turn their diversity into their superpower which can fuel transformation, adaptation, growth, and resilience during times when speed and the right decisions are critical to success. We also help companies create a “speak up” culture in workplaces, and what we know is that when a company creates a speak up culture, this is when positive things happen. (Read our most recent recap about creating speak up cultures inside of your organization here)

For example, employees who feel comfortable speaking up at work about problems and their solutions to them are 92% more likely to want to stay with the company (even if offered a comparable position elsewhere) versus 60% for those who don’t feel comfortable or have the chance to speak up at all. 

Furthermore, 95% of those who do speak up expressed excitement to come to work to do their jobs and said they would recommend their company as a great place to work, compared with 61% among those who did not have the opportunity to speak up. 

Swae is on a mission to give everyone a voice and to help leaders uncover the possibilities from within their organization to drive significant improvements by unlocking hidden ideas from their people. Unlocking and cultivating the hidden innovations and opportunities have demonstrated time and time again that it can drive massive change and major improvements. The secret to doing this comes from what our inclusive platform activates to get there; trust, collaboration, engagement and an “idea meritocracy” where the best ideas rise to the top.

We want companies to WIN and we want leaders to understand the concept of what an “idea meritocracy” is. Therein lies the key to performance gains, and in the words of one of its most prolific enthusiasts, Ray Dalio, the Founder of Bridgewater Associates – the most successful hedgefund in history – and author of #1 New York Times bestseller Principles, said: 

“I believe in idea meritocracy – a system that brings together smart, independent thinkers and has them productively disagree to come up with the best possible collective thinking and resolve their disagreements in a believability-weighted way that will outperform any other decision-making system. To have an idea meritocracy, you put your honest thoughts on the table, have thoughtful disagreement, and abide by agreed-upon ways of getting past disagreement.”


Ray Dalio Founder Bridgewater Associates

In his book Principles, Mr. Dalio credits the system of idea meritocracy as the backbone of Bridgewater’s internal operating system and culture for unearthing trapped insights and turning unconventional ideas into organizational decisions. In an industry as reliant on high quality arguments, unbiased information, and sound decisions as the financial industry is – it’s no surprise how an idea meritocracy helped them build a repeatable and scalable system for helping the most appropriate internal and external decisions rise from the bottom to the top.  

Many believe this is Bridgewater’s secret weapon for outperforming all its competitors and every other hedge fund in the history of the industry. 

It’s becoming more widely accepted that an organization’s best ideas and solutions can come from anywhere regardless of the hierarchy, and Swae helps its users feel they have a real voice and platform that they can trust to share their ideas about problems and solutions at the workplace. These are ideas that would otherwise get lost or neglected in the complex and bureaucratic web of tools, workflows and processes that a large-scale modern company encompasses.

In a world where continuous innovation is increasingly critical and organizations must move at the pace of software companies, competitive success — perhaps even survival — requires moving beyond exclusive use of hierarchical decision-making, drawing on the power of crowdsourcing and markets wherever possible. Under today’s business environment and circumstances, creating a speak up culture and an idea meritocracy makes strong business sense. 

Study after study shows that increasing diversity in teams and companies is not an empty feel-good slogan – it actually leads to more frequent and better-quality innovation and improved financial performance, as experienced by firms like Bridgewater (e.g. BCG’s 2017 research findings).  

This is because diverse teams are shown to be smarter, identify and address cognitive biases more frequently in important decisions, and develop better innovations leading to improved financial performance against teams that are more homogenous. 

Experts believe this is the case because the greater the diversity of decision makers the more likely they can collect diverse inputs and options to select from, process information more carefully, and catch inherent biases more accurately, leading to more objective and informed choices to select from, and better end decisions. 

Companies that take these initiatives seriously and moves them forward as priorities perform better. Swae believes organizations CAN THRIVE when decisions are made more inclusively. The combination of creativity, innovative suggestions and quality of arguments presented through Swae can lead to more informed decisions, leading to better quality choices to select from that impact financial and organizational performance.

“The combination of multiple perspectives offers a wider set of possibilities than simple seniority. Of course, crowds can be wrong…but if the process is designed carefully, with the right checkpoints and safeguards in place, crowdsourcing can bring fresh insights for wider consideration.”

Swae is helping organizations across the world to solve today's problems and generate tomorrow's strategy. Our clients are finding that their greatest resource is their people, and Swae is proven to help get the best from the untapped potential within their workforce. We'd love the chance to show you how Swae can 'pay off' for you...

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