About Nesta

Nesta is an innovation foundation. For us, innovation means turning bold ideas into reality and changing lives for the better. We use our expertise, skills and funding in areas where there are big challenges facing society.

At the Centre for Collective Intelligence Design, we focus on the practical skills and knowledge needed to bring humans and technology together in a way that enables groups to become smarter than the sum of their parts, and to mobilise human intelligence at greater scale. Through our grants programme we supported 12 organisations in designing collective intelligence for social good.

In September 2018 we launched the first round of the Collective Intelligence Grants, offering up to £20,000 for experiments that advance knowledge on how to design and apply collective intelligence to solve social problems.

Between March 2019 and January 2020, we supported 12 diverse organisations worldwide to conduct practical experiments that increase our understanding of how to make the most of the new technologies available to help with collective thinking and acting.

The experiments contributed new insights in four key areas:

Many of the complex challenges we face, from ageing populations to air pollution, need collective agreement and action to solve. As societies become increasingly polarised, finding common ground becomes both more difficult and critical.

The complexity of social problems in a fast-moving world does not only require us to rethink the way in which we make decisions, but also how we can mobilise collective intelligence to collaborate more effectively.

Crowd insights and data harnessed through collective intelligence have led to breakthroughs in traditionally elite professional fields such as science research and healthcare. It has changed the way laws get made, and enabled us to improve our understanding of situations in real-time. But as the volume of data increases so do the challenges of navigating and analysing it.

The success of collective intelligence initiatives using methods such as crowdsourcing and citizen science is directly linked to their ability to engage crowds of people taking part in collecting and analysing data. When collective intelligence initiatives rely on dedicated volunteers or contributions over longer periods of time, it is particularly crucial to sustain engagement and keep drop-out levels low.