Help us catalyze targeted innovation so that our republic is genuinely
of, by, and for the people.

Our Goal

We aim to help cultivate the viability of a People Powered Playbook that would give candidates of any party a credible shot at winning office while relying on a broader cross-section of their electorates, so that officials elected using this playbook would be more incentivized to advance broad public interests than those who run with the conventional playbook.

catalyze

After extensive consultation and analysis with leading political campaigners, political scientists, tech entrepreneurs and others, we issued an open call for proposals to identify potential game-changing innovations to fix our campaigns and help make a People Powered Playbook competitive. Over 120 startups, non-profit organizations, campaign consultancies, think tanks and researchers applied. Here are the winners in three areas:

Leveraging People Power

Financial capital is the dominant currency of campaigns and will always be important, but what about social capital? Even in our money-drenched campaigns, dedicated volunteers or activist networks can alter the contours of a race, but these participants are often more extreme and intransigent than everyday Americans. We now see technologies emerging in many sectors that lower the barriers for regular people to get involved in ways they couldn’t just a few years ago and that amplify their impact. How can we activate and increase the relative value of strong, diverse networks of human resources to achieve campaign objectives responsibly and effectively?

A how-to manual for running a successful People Powered campaign

A how-to manual for running a successful People Powered campaign

The People’s Democracy Playbook from Take Back Our Republic

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Getting more volunteers into the game

Getting more volunteers into the game

Stronger U.S. Education Fund & Professor David Broockman

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Lowering barriers and increasing impact for volunteers

Lowering barriers and increasing impact for volunteers

Movement

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Labor organizing for the networked age

Labor organizing for the networked age

OUR Walmart

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The Power of a Pledge

The Power of a Pledge

Defend Our Future & UMass Amherst

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Winning the (Future) Media War

For the last several decades, the vast majority of campaign funds has gone to winning the hearts and minds of the electorate by producing and disseminating television advertisements and direct mail sent through the postal service. Yet we are living in the midst of an historic shift in the way we receive information, communicate with people, and form our opinions on issues. Few doubt the primacy of television advertisements will change: The researchers, campaigners, media outlets and entrepreneurs below are trying to ensure that we capitalize on the potential for many-to-many distribution and interaction in our new media paradigm to cultivate a more constructive conversation about what matters, as opposed to an ever more expensive war of attack ads that manipulate and demoralize the American public.

Building the courage to speak according to principled convictions and foster genuine discourse

Building the courage to speak according to principled convictions and foster genuine discourse

Emily Ekins from Cato Institute

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Ensuring that any size campaign can leverage new media & communications technologies effectively

Ensuring that any size campaign can leverage new media & communications technologies effectively

Telegraph from Lincoln

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Undermining the influence of ads and elevating the conversation

Undermining the influence of ads and elevating the conversation

Block the Bias from Students for Liberty

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A new 21st century public square

A new 21st century public square

The UnConvention from the 92nd Street Y, .Mic and PRI

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Engaging Interested Bystanders

We cannot have a federal government responsive to broad public interests if the people who are active politically are not reflective of the full diversity of our public. In recent research commissioned by Google’s Civic Innovation portfolio, Kate Krontiris and colleagues claim that nearly 50% of the American public are what they call “Interested Bystanders” — they care about what is happening in their communities and our country, but feel too powerless, uninformed, busy or put off by how our politics are conducted to participate in a sustained and meaningful way. The resulting vacuum is filled by special interests and the most partisan extremes, leaving us with a system that can be bought by the highest bidder or held hostage by hysteria. The projects below seek to wake that sleeping giant and ensure that our government is reflective of its electorate.

Empowering election officials and civil society to increase voter turnout

Empowering election officials and civil society to increase voter turnout

Center for Technology and Civic Life

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Increasing turnout in determinative primaries

Increasing turnout in determinative primaries

Echelon Insights

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Breaking down the language barrier for new Americans to participate politically

Breaking down the language barrier for new Americans to participate politically

VoterVOX from 18 Million Rising

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Activating the unlisted

Activating the unlisted

William Isaac, Michigan State University

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Enlisting candidates who are more reflective of their electorates to run

Enlisting candidates who are more reflective of their electorates to run

Will Cubbison & John Sides, George Washington University

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analysis

To inform our selection process, we engaged more than 50 leading domain experts (campaign operatives, political scientists, former elected officials, party officials, civic tech entrepreneurs, etc.) across the political spectrum to understand the key trends influencing the campaign sector.

The Opportunity

Campaigns have changed before. They are changing now. They could get better.

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Analysis

To synthesize the “wisdom of our curated crowd” and identify the most promising areas for high-impact innovation, we have organized our analysis into the following matrix according to two foundational questions:

  • What objectives do campaigns have to achieve in order to compete successfully?

  • What levers could increase the use of People Powered means of achieving those objectives, relative to the use of conventional approaches?

Please click on a row below to see what domain experts say about how these areas are evolving and share your insights so we can make more informed decisions regarding our strategy and funding decisions moving forward.

According to our domain experts: = High Potential = Mid Potential