Adapt Chile announces Swae partnership to transform Chilean Climate Change Law

Adapt Chile announces Swae partnership to transform Chilean Climate Change Law

Announcement

We are proud to announce that from June 2019 through August 2019, Swae’s platform will be leveraged for an important Digital Consultation process engaging the Chilean Network of Municipalities (ChNM) on 6 new pillars of Chilean Climate Change Law. Through a first-of-its-kind initiative, mayors from more than 50 different municipalities across Chile will have the opportunity to provide feedback and further develop Chilean Climate Change Law and engage local civic leaders in policy creation.

This is a collaborative initiative between SwaeAdapt-Chile, a leading national and international NGO promoting comprehensive actions to encourage climate adaptation policies and strengthening local responses to climate change, and COCOA (‘Crowd Collaboration for Climate Adaptation’), an innovation-driven organization advocating on the use of digital technology to encourage climate action and collaboration towards the achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Deployment and Potential Impact

The initiative is aimed to improve the governance of subnational governments grouped in the municipality RedMuniCC (Red Chilena de Municipios ante el Cambio Climático) and support the RedMuniCC to collectively create shared positioning about the forthcoming Climate Change Law (CCL). This shared positioning will create an important precedent on how representatives at different levels of the government can contribute to collectively generate inclusive laws in a bottom-up manner. Allowing for open feedback and commenting, as well as fostering debate on the merits of each pillar, the initiative has been designed and set up to enable voices that would not always be heard and channel that feedback safely into more inclusive policy.

“Swae offers the possibility of bringing together representatives at different geographic locations. Moreover, Swae helps by supporting the collective, transparent, and anonymous discussion of CCL-related ideas among all representatives.”

– Dr. Iván S. Razo-Zapata, COCOA Collaborative Innovation BV

A driving purpose of this experiment is to generate an official positioning for the Chilean Climate Change Law. It also helps promote collective contributions to climate-related regulations in a bottom-up manner. Finally, this initiative can improve collective decision-making processes within RedMuniCC.

Looking Forward

In order for the consultation to be officially integrated as evidence into the Climate Change Law policy creation process, more than 50% of the members of the municipality must participate. As of early August, we are a few municipalities shy of achieving this important milestone and are optimistic we will surpass the required threshold.

By leveraging Swae, those participating in the pilot aim to hone and adapt Chilean Climate Change Law, enabling the conditions for more holistic bottom-up policy creation and development. We believe these sorts of innovative approaches are paramount to the government’s ability to design a policy that works for all stakeholders across marginalized and far-reaching geographic regions.

Entrepreneur ME Mag features Swae

Entrepreneur ME Mag features Swae

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

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

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

by TAMARA PUPIC

(originally published in Entrepreneur Middle East and Entrepreneur Magazine)

August 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

TREP TALK

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

 

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

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

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Spark Salon Podcast- Swae Democracy and Technology

The final episode from The Spark Salon democracy and technology series, features Soushiant Zanganehpour, the founder of Swae, a decision-making platform combining anonymity, AI and collective intelligence. Soushiant’s talk explores how traditional democracy needs to evolve with our digital, exponential technologies and proposes a new model for 21st century governance.

Democracy and Technology Podcast- Episode 4

by The Spark Salon | Swae

About The Spark Salon

The Spark Salon is Tata Consultancy Service’s programme of events in the UK that showcase innovative and thought-provoking new perspectives on the role of technology in helping to create a sustainable world.

At these events, we have a number of speakers give a TED style talk on the Spark Salon’s theme. Now, through the Spark Salon podcast, you can hear these amazing ideas and discussions proposed by our expert speakers.

Swae, The Future of Organizations, Decision-Making, and Governance

Swae, The Future of Organizations, Decision-Making, and Governance

The Problem

For the past ~3 years, I’ve grown evermore frustrated by the lack of voice or meaningful influence normal people seem to have in the big decisions institutions and organizations make that significantly impact our lives. Simply voting for candidates or filling out engagement surveys at work feels inconsequential, futile, and, well, insulting. These ‘participation’ options don’t seem to influence the dull, unoriginal, and incomplete solutions most leaders tend to develop in response to the uniquely complex business and social challenges of today’s world. They don’t help prevent abuse of power or keep leaders accountable to their promises. Instead, they provide us a false sense of agency. As consumers, we have so much influence over our life choices, but as employees or citizens, we have so little say in much more important decisions. So, why are these our only participation options?

Our modern day decision-making model is broken.

The root of this problem boils down to our organizational paradigm — how we make decisions and organize ourselves in society. Our modern day decision-making model is broken. It’s outdated, too centralized, too efficiency-obsessed (think factories and conveyor belts of the 19th century industrial era, when this decision-making model reigned supreme), too exclusionary; over-relying on hierarchies, representation, and delegated authority, andconfining stakeholders to strict parameters for participation based on status or function, when we live in a world where ideas, expertise, and genius are distributed and directly accessible through technologies and protocols.

As we move from crisis-to-crisis in our political systems — see first-hand the limitations of many democratic institutions to govern effectively and anticipate challenges — or witness the uninspiringunethical, and poor decisions made by leaders in large incumbent companies about how best to navigate complexity, we see how unfit our decision-making model is in today’s world.

 

What We Believe

About 2 years ago, I began exploring alternative decision-making models from today’s status-quo, to see how we can “upgrade” decision-making in organizations (both companies and democratic institutions)— consequently upgrading governance. I attended Singularity University’s Global Solutions Program to learn more about the problem and build a solution.

During my research, first-hand customer discovery and experience at SU, I became convinced that we’re in the middle of an irreversible social and cultural transformation, accelerated by new technologies and unreasonable entrepreneurs. We are transitioning from one strong set of operating assumptions about how to manage society, to a new, upgraded set. The transition we are undergoing will redefine how we organize institutions, how we create new companies, who has a voice, what’s an acceptable social-contract. But the path is murky.

Source: Frank Diana, Tata Consultancy Services

The combination of increased computing power, the rise of blockchain technology, demographic and cultural changes has made the idea of designing alternative organizational decision-making structures and governance models that are different from today’s status quo — models that are more participatorymore intelligent, less corruptible, less costly — a real possibility.

These are still the early days but the trajectory is clear.

What We’re Building

Inspired by the pace of change, last year, I started a company to re-image organizational decision-making and build the operating system for future organizations. Our first product is Swae, an intelligent decision-making platform combining anonymity, artificial intelligence, and collective intelligence, to help organizations unleash the creativity of their stakeholders and make better quality decisions. Using Swae, individuals within organizations create great proposals anonymously with support of AI, then improve the quality of those proposals with crowd input. Proposals are debated on their merits, collectively evolved, and voted on. The proposals that receive the highest engagement (positive or negative) automatically percolate upwards to a decision (by management or the collective).

By providing the right mix of technology and process, Swae helps organizations efficiently tap into the wisdom of their stakeholders without reinventing the entire organizational structure. Swae’s process circumvents the blockages associated with traditional hierarchical organizational structures (cognitive bias, disengagement, fear of lost status and internal politics suffocating the expression of new ideas, etc.), to provide a more direct, transparent, and efficient pathway for ideas to go from the bottom to access management support. This helps decision-makers gather a greater level of truthful input, arguments, and data points to improve products, services, strategy and business models, without creating a tremendous burden of added work for management.

Swae intends to upgrade decision-making first in companies, then communities, then cities.

Soushiant Zanganehpour Founder & CEO

Soushiant is a social scientist, entrepreneur and Founder of Swae.io, an AI-powered platform for smarter organizational decisions and 21st century governance. Swae helps companies, cities and organizations of all sizes benefit from the collective intelligence of their employees, stakeholders and citizens helping source innovative ideas, program and product feedback, and policy, budget, and strategy suggestions, at a fraction of the cost. Stakeholders and AI build compelling proposals together from the bottom-up that are crowd-vetted and the best move to a decision-round for implementation, creating a bi-directional pathway for governance. Soushiant is a recognized global practitioner in the fields of business innovation, impact investing, social entrepreneurship, and sustainability having spoken at numerous international conferences and published in The Guardian, The Financial Times, Bloomberg Business Week, and Entrepreneur magazines. He is on Harvard Business Review's Advisory Council, and a board advisor of Biocarbon Engineering, a reforestation startup using drones to replant a billion trees per year.
Soushiant earned his BA (PoliSci & IR) from the University of British Columbia, a Diplôme in International Affairs from Sciences-po Paris, an MPP (Public Policy & Economics) from the University of London’s School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), and attended Singularity University’s Global Solutions Program as a Google Scholar. He was awarded a full scholarship by the UK's Foreign Office as one of four Canadian Chevening Scholars for his Masters. .

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