United Nations gathers actionable solutions for the world’s largest threats using Swae-powered global digital consultation

United Nations gathers actionable solutions for the world’s largest threats using Swae-powered global digital consultation

This world-changing digital consultation gathered 523 proposals from over 1,750 thought-leaders from more than 140 countries, and the best solutions were presented to the UN General Assembly.

 

Background

In April 2021, we announced (see more here) a strategic partnership with the Brazil-based Igarapé Institute and the United Nations Secretary-General where Swae was deployed to canvass the voices of thought leaders in civil society, including leading private sector companies, philanthropic organizations, metropolitan authorities, parliamentarians, labor organizations, humanitarian and development agencies, and think tanks around the world, to source bold and actionable solutions to some of the world’s most monumental threats.

“The crisis of multilateralism arises because the global debate is decoupled with the real needs and immediate issues that affect We The Peoples”

Think tank, Argentina

 

A key priority of our partnership and the consultation exercise was to identify action-oriented recommendations to help the international community confront and adapt to new and emerging challenges, as well as bold actionable strategies to bolster the Sustainable Development Goals and Paris Climate Agreement.

We need a process to define the public and common goods that involves ordinary people from all around the world.

Private sector, Germany

Action

Between April and May 2021, the public consultation powered by Swae generated 523 proposals from 1,759 thought leaders from 147 countries.

Marking the United Nations 75th anniversary, the UN Member States called on the Secretary-General to organize a digital public consultation to collect ideas and recommendations from civil society to advance our common agenda. The UN Secretary-General used this process to gather actionable ideas across 12 areas crucial to protecting and enshrining humanity’s collective future.

The UN needs to systematically take into account the opinion of small people and various ethnic groups so they have the opportunity to participate in decision-making. 

Parliamentarians, Uzbekistan

The consultation process began with outreach to the global public and a wide range of influential stakeholders across different sectors to gather views on the world’s most pressing challenges and priorities for building a better future. These groups included companies, philanthropic groups, non-governmental organizations, universities, unions, minority, disability rights activists, and others.

The proposals received were potential solutions to some of world’s most monumental threats that range from deepening inequality, nuclear conflict, climate change, and more. Many touched on improving existing multilateral cooperation to build a safer, fairer and more sustainable world.

The UN needs to adopt a more far-reaching strategy that brings civil society together and links its diverse voices to policy-making channels

Non Governmental Orgaization, South Africa

Results – What Swae Delivered

The We the Peoples consultation exceeded expectations in terms of the diversity of engagement and geographic reach of participants activating 30 civil society partners across the Americas, Europe, Africa and Asia.

Input was received from leading NGOs, impact investors, philanthropists, parliamentarians, city leaders, academic institutions and under-represented groups such as minorities, migrants and conflict-affected communities, on solutions to some of the biggest challenges facing the world and how we might adapt the UN and other multilateral organizations to problem-solve better.

To increase trust between people and government, decision making needs to be more open, inclusive and accountable

Non Governmental Orgaization, India

The proposals collected helped elaborate new ways to rapidly accelerate delivery of the commitments made by governments in the UN75 Declaration adopted by the General Assembly in 2020. 

The digital consultation received a very strong and healthy gender parity and participation rates amongst users, recording a 48% Female vs 50% Male participation rate.  

The highest sub-group of under-represented minorities participating on the platform and consultation were “Women and Girls.” 

What participants and Swae users had to say about our platform…

Impact – What the Consultation Resulted in

The cumulative results from the digital consultation and other tracks of consultations were aggregated into a final report – Accelerating Inclusive Global Cooperation (Summary of the We The Peoples Digital Consultation) – which was released by the UN on September 10th, 2021.

The Igarapé Institute, in consultation with a group of experts, helped narrow down a subset of top proposals for deeper consideration by the UN Secretary-General and presentation to the UN General Assembly.

Factors such as the specificity, possible impact, actionability, innovation, and transformative potential, as well as the level of engagement elicited from other participants, were some of the criteria used to shortlist submissions for deeper diligence and consideration.

Global challenges demand global solutions, and our team at Swae were very proud that our startup was able to rise to the occasion and support an international institution as important as the United Nations to carry out such an important and timely initiative.

We urgently need to improve the quality of exchange between the general public and decision-makers, and Swae helped make this a reality. The consultation helped prove that the speed, diversity and user experience of consultation processes can fundamentally improve, even for critical institutions such as the United Nations.

Beyond transparency and inclusion, I’m most proud that the results stemming from the consultation had a meaningful influence on the UN Secretary-General’s strategy and recommendations to tackle the world’s most pressing challenges. Much of his strategy references findings and recommendations from the digital consultation, and while this may have been possible without us, it would have been infinitely more challenging to execute without a platform like Swae


Swae’s Founder and CEO
Soushiant Zanganehpour

Swae_io_Logo

92%

said Swae helped them convey ideas or changes they wanted to see take place at international organizations better than other collaboration channels and tools currently available to them.

89% 

said Swae helped them surface and discuss ideas that would not have otherwise surfaced using other collaboration channels that are currently available within other international organizations or through affiliates

8/10   

said Swae made it easy for them to share their concerns as a global citizen into the future of global cooperation. 

…and increased their engagement, motivation and buy-in to the consultation process by sharing ideas through the platform.

See more stats in the full case study →

Swae is a game changer for global consultations and international decision making. By rapidly surfacing and strengthening crowdsourced ideas, the platform provides governments, companies and NGOs crucial information to take action


Ilona Sbazo
CoFounder & President

Key delivery partner for United Nations Digital Consultation

Swae is a critical step to take these kinds of debates to the next level. Swae provides an unprecedented opportunity to shape a new narrative for multilateral action.


Robert Muggah
CoFounder

Key delivery partner for United Nations Digital Consultation

Some of the Notable Digital Consultation Participants/Swae Users

The top proposals by votes seek to make the UN more inclusive, through a world citizens’ initiative, UN parliamentary assembly, and UN civil society champion.

A few of the notable people who engaged with the proposal; 

Stephen Pinker
Steven Pinker is a Canadian-American cognitive psychologist, psycholinguist, popular science author and public intellectual. He is an advocate of evolutionary psychology and the computational theory of mind.
Homi Kharas

Homi Kharas, Senior Fellow at Brookings, suggested a strategic foresight centre within the UN to support the Secretariat as well as Member States.

Severin Sindizera

Human rights defender Severin Sindizera calls for financial and capacity-building support for indigenous peoples’ organisations.

Enyseh Teimory

Enyseh Teimory of Together First highlights three proposals backed by hundreds of organisations, including Avaaz, Greenpeace and the Open Society Foundations to create a civil society champion, a UN citizens’ initiative and a parliamentary assembly.

Andreas Bummel

Andreas Bummel of Democracy Without Borders highlights three proposals backed by hundreds of organisations, including Avaaz, Greenpeace and the Open Society Foundations to create a civil society champion, a UN citizens’ initiative and a parliamentary assembly.

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes

Ingrid Vasiliu-Feltes is calling for digital identity technologies to be harnessed for delivery of essential services.

Thomas G. Weiss.

Our top commentator is renowned global governance expert Thomas G. Weiss.

International Trade Union Confederation

The International Trade Union Confederation has added proposals on a new social contract, a global fund for social protection and a just transition to climate-friendly jobs.

Global Challenges Foundation

The Global Challenges Foundation has added proposals emerging from its worldwide search for global governance ideas.

Alyn Ware

Alyn Ware has proposed a Declaration on the Rights of Future Generations.

Nena Georgantzi

Nena Georgantzi is calling for a UN Convention on the Rights of Older Persons.

Top proposals by votes all seek to make the UN more inclusive, through: a world citizens’ initiative, UN parliamentary assembly and UN civil society champion.

For more of the details, please read the full case study. Please click the link below and let us know your comments and feedback.

If you want to get started with Swae, learn more here

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ACTION BY THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY

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

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

‘WE THE PEOPLES’ DIGITAL CONSULTATION

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

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

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

How To Solve Organizational Challenges and Manage Ideas

How To Solve Organizational Challenges and Manage Ideas

We’re helping solve the challenges that organizations face today by simplifying how ideas are managed.

Introducing Swae’s most recent product update that addresses the complexity of how organizations manage the many challenges and campaigns necessary to make progress (even if the world continues to get more complicated).

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

Would having an abundance of brilliant ideas organized by challenges or campaigns help stop the feelings of overwhelm around all the things that you have to find solutions for today?

We’re sure you’re curious and maybe a little skeptical. Let us break down this latest feature as to how Swae helps create solutions to challenges, manages ideas, and drives innovation.

84% of executives say that innovation is important to their growth strategy, yet do not have the processes and systems in place to execute.  [Source: McKinsey Global Innovation Survey]

Swae’s AI-based technology platform is designed to create a more inclusive and collaborative environment allowing leaders to get an abundance of highly organized ideas coming their way to make more informed decisions.

Bottom line, we help leaders discern the brilliant ideas from the bad in a more efficient and streamlined manner, which makes innovation happen all the faster.

Since organizations are complex, the decisions that must be made daily are too. In today’s economic environment, we don’t know what will come our way, so leaders across the globe, regardless of the size of an organization, must be prepared to make the best decisions, under every new circumstance, fast. And, more importantly, you’ve got to translate vision into operations through the management of ideas to get there.

Some decisions require broad input, many iterations, and longer lead times to make those decisions, while others require a more targeted audience with shorter lead time and very few iterations. Some challenges need to be solved in a few days or a week (like a rapid response plan to the latest COVID-19 phenomenon). Others can remain open for longer durations, depending on the decision-type, and urgency (for example, an annual strategic planning exercise or an open innovation competition).

Our team realized that Swae needed to allow for much more nuance, complexity, and reconfigurability with the platform in order to match the subtlety, complexity, and urgency of how fast organizations (and even local or state governments) operate and make decisions.

So we redesigned Swae to mirror these needs and used the feedback from our more than 20,000+ users and years of research that we’ve conducted.

Welcome to Swae’s new Challenges feature.

Swae Before

Previously, users could only have one challenge (or idea campaign) running at any given time to extract ideas from the larger group.  A site administrator or manager could configure that challenge or campaign workflow to suit their needs, setting the number of days ideas sat in the collaboration, voting, and management review stages, and including as many idea escalation KPIs and metrics as necessary.

This would help determine under what circumstances ideas would move to the next stage to either  become decision-ready or end up it the archives.

While this helped one department lead an innovation or ideation process with the help of Swae, it limited the extent to which other departments could create their own mini-Swae workflows, campaigns, or spaces to source department-specific ideas from specific stakeholders.

Some decisions require wider input, many iterations, and longer lead times to make the final decisions. Other ideas can require a more targeted audience, with shorter lead time and few iterations.

Both need to exist side-by-side to reflect the complexity of any organization. Under our old design, this wasn’t possible; an organization could have many ideas coming from their employees tagged under various themes, but could not have numerous workflows to exist side-by-side on the platform, until now.

Swae Today

Now, Swae can keep up with the many difficult decisions or campaigns that an organization needs to make across multiple teams day-in and day-out.

To be more effective, leaders can run many campaigns simultaneously in search of brilliant ideas for the various kinds of challenges that an organization faces.

Campaigns can include a large group of stakeholders (internal, external, or both), or an invite-only group with the workflows entirely configurable. 

Helping you make more informed decisions 


Good decision-making is the most important management activity in an organization, driving 95% of performance and 50% of employee engagement.

Under current circumstances, most leaders are making decisions with levels of uncertainty around topics that they’ve never faced previously.

While it is tempting to centralize decision-making to a group of leaders and experts right at the top who operate behind closed doors and coordinate the best possible responses, suspending consultative procedures and processes, or opportunities for inclusion is deeply shortsighted.

Given our technological, social, and cultural evolutions we’re experiencing, gone are the days where leaders make isolated decisions alone in an office, or with a select few who sit “at the top” and continuously push a top-down agenda.

All of the latest research in organizational theory and decision-science illuminates that small, closed, non-diverse teams have more groupthink and make more biased decisions than gender, age, and geographically diverse teams. Unchecked biases limit the quality of choices available, derail good decisions, and cost companies time, money, reputation, and morale.

It’s time that we change how things are done. This is the lesson that comes from 2020 and it isn’t going to change, it’s time to create new and improved systems that are based on the latest science in order to evolve. 

We’re just learning that organizations thrive when decisions are made more inclusively. Creative, innovative, and high-quality arguments can lead to more informed decisions, leading to better choices that impact the bottom-line. Swae can accelerate this as it increases the diversity of input, helping remove bias while improving the bottom line.

Here’s what else we know:

  • Business Insider reported a study that stated, on average, teams make better business decisions than individuals 66% of the time [Source: Business Insider]  
  • A survey with team leaders by Grover Critical Thinking found that:
    • 70% agreed or strongly agreed that “Bad decisions cost my organization time and money
    • 82% agreed or strongly agreed that “Bad decisions harm my organization’s reputation in the marketplace” [Source: Grover Critical Thinking]  
  • On the flip side, a study conducted by Towers Perrin found that the top three workplace attributes and interventions that result in employee engagement are 1) Senior management’s interest in employees’ well-being, 2) Challenging work, and, 3) Decision-making authority. The research concludes that having the opportunity to voice ideas freely, feeding views and opinions upwards, and involvement in decision-making are the most successful drivers of employee engagement. [Source: Towers Perrin Talent Report]

Decision-making in the 21st Century is about building a more collaborative environment because employees need to feel engaged, that they’re of value, and that they’re truly involved.

Swae’s new Challenges feature can now empower your organization to garner brilliant ideas across many teams to help you manage all of the major decisions that you need to make every single day. Swae will help you unlock the brilliance and potential of your people so you can pull through the best of the best ideas and make progress all the faster.

In uncertain economic times, you need to know that you’re making the best decisions possible as fast as possible.

 

To get started, click here to send us an email and we’ll set up your free demo to show you Swae in action. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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