Swae Selected Amongst Elite Startups to Win the Walton Family SCALE Challenge
Swae has been selected as 1 of 6 finalists competing for in the Innovation at Work & Smart Cities streams at the 2020 Inventure$ Canada Pitch Competition
Earlier this month, Inventure$ Canada — Western Canada’s leading annual tech conference bringing together over 4,000+ entrepreneurs, investors, and industry thought leaders to learn, share, and experience awe-inspiring creative collisions at the intersection of social change and technology advancement — invited Swae to compete in their 2020 competitive annual pitch competition.
After a few rounds of judging, they selected Swae as 1 of 6 finalists competing in their Innovation at Work & Smart Cities streams, recognizing Swae’s impact on creating Organizations and Cities of the Future. The topics of the Future of Work and creating Smart Cities are of critical importance and relevance for us here at Swae.
Creating the Future of Smart Cities
The impact that technology advancement can have on how cities operate, grow, evolve, and how it can provide different citizen experiences is immense. Today, cities have a choice to embrace the status quo or embrace a new direction for the future and fix the broken systems.
In either case, as trends converge and the pace of change accelerates, it’s clear we need to design things differently and more inclusively. In the not-so-distant-future, gone are the days where a handful of bureaucrats plan, design, and dictate in isolation how our urban spaces should look, operate, and what policies are needed to make them function.
Driving Innovation at Work
Similarly in workplaces, whether we all work remotely due to the COVID-19 crisis or not, technology is changing what we do and how we do it in unprecedented ways and, for most, at a nerve-racking pace.
- Communication-styled technologies have enabled the “do anything, from anywhere” gig economy.
- Automation technologies are reducing the need for human beings to do the most low-skilled and dangerous jobs, but also proposing new risks with technological displacement and unemployment due to lack of transferable skills.
- Other emerging technologies are bringing a combination of benefits and risks to existing industries and players.
As we enter a new era, we’re facing decisions and new circumstances that we haven’t faced before. We believe that the benefits of inclusion, transparency, healthy competition for the best solutions, and quality data is far superior to the typical top-down driven decisions usually dealt by only a handful of experts or leaders.
We are in a time where people value and will understand that coming together to hear all of the relevant solutions and perspectives that matter is imperative to success and using a fact and merit-based process for making important decisions is the way.
This is where you put Swae into the equation…
Swae + the Future of Work and Creating Smart Cities
Since the launch in 2019, we’ve been deployed inside cities and large organizations to:
- Increase unique perspectives
- Boost inclusion
- Gather the best thinking, ideas, and insights to support complex decision-making
- Enable bottom-up and merit-based competition to select the best ideas from
Swae’s platform is intended to help organizations and cities include more people in the decision-making process which allows everyone to make more informed decisions. We fundamentally believe that organizations and communities can thrive when decisions are made more inclusively.
We’ve seen first-hand how our process and platform helps to increase the sheer volume of ideas that come in from a greater collective, provides transparency, and ensures a better quality of big decisions. All of this leads to smarter decisions that minimize bias and takes out complexity without sacrificing speed. The combination of having more creative, innovative suggestions leads to more informed decisions with higher quality choices that can impact culture, financial, and organizational or community performance.
Prepping for the Pitch
To prepare for our pitch, we were paired with Bruce Alton, a Canadian Angel Investor and Techstars Seattle mentor on AI and Enterprise Software who spent 5–6 weeks with us providing unfiltered and no-bs feedback on helping us, a) communicate Swae with more specificity about the problem, and, b) do this in under 2 minutes.
Working with Bruce (who generously volunteered his time), we anchored our pitch and problem statement.
Swae solves the problems associated with excessive cognitive bias in decision-making and the impact of bias on stakeholder engagement.
We were able to find data that quantifies the cost of bias and disengagement to organizations and weave these new details into our narrative so that we can make the problem concise and more data-focused.
We were also able to simplify the communications of how Swae works and what value our platform and process provides organizations and cities. And, finally, we were able to bring our pitch down from 4 minutes to just under 2 minutes.
Below is a link to our video pitch and please let us know your feedback!
The next steps…
The competition will be held June 3–4, 2020 and the winners of the $10K prize will be announced on June 5th, 2020.
Whether we win or not, this process of refining our pitch has generated much more value than a monetary prize. We are indebted and grateful to Inventure$ Canada and to Bruce Alton for your strategic insights and clear-minded advice!
Here we go… wish us luck!
Check out our 2-min pitch video below (feedback welcome!):