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Technology Lab

We are a collaborative of Braver Angels members and technologists working to reduce affective polarization at scale.

How We Work

We do this work through a curated portfolio of infrastructure development projects and platform pilot evaluations, each focused on a dimension of  technology’s role in achieving Braver Angels’ mission. 

We seek to engage Braver Angels members and leaders in testing and evaluating promising technologies, as we believe our community holds key insights into improving the role technology plays in a movement-building organization.

Infrastructure Development

Braver Angels’ signature approach to scaling up “the BA experience” is to train and support volunteers to produce events from a catalog of collaboratively-maintained workshop, debate, and discussion formats. Braver Angels Technology Lab collaborates with our event volunteer corps to develop systems that allow for document management, training, participant management, planning, and logistics required for self-organizing teams of volunteers to succeed in staging high impact, depolarizing experiences in local communities across the US. This work leverages custom web applications, cloud automation, 3rd party platform integrations, and databases to achieve a unique fit with the needs of Braver Angels that cannot be readily accomplished with any single pre-existing product.

A scaled, decentralized approach to program delivery creates unique challenges for evaluating program effectiveness. Braver Angels event volunteers need real-time participant feedback on their effectiveness, and our program design teams must work closely with a team of researchers to design valid survey instruments and analysis to quantify the depolarization effects of the experiences we create. This body of work involves implementation of online survey platforms, API integrations, data pipeline and data warehouse technologies, and online dashboard-building environments to allow each Braver Angels event team to gain live insights while also building large, consistent data sets capable of supporting academic research to advance the field of depolarization studies.

Braver Angels supports the formation of local Alliances, which in-turn provide the volunteer leadership needed to anchor and grow our impact within local communities. Alliances are supported by State and Regional levels of national volunteer leadership. Each level within this hierarchy has data, productivity, and communications needs, as well as the need for tech capacity development. This work entails the integration of contact relations management (CRM) tools, mass-emailing systems, and cloud collaboration platforms — as well as the onboarding, training, and support — to ensure that each Braver Angels field unit can be effective in its work.

Building a successful political depolarization movement means winning hearts and minds at the scale of the country. Braver Angels’ 10X Growth Initiative leads work on data-driven efforts to boost participant engagement and ensure our membership reflects the political diversity of America, and to better understand how we convert citizens from followers to ambassadors and volunteers. These projects then drive innovation from systems and tools to marketing and communications.

Pilot Evaluations

All Braver Angels Members are invited to participate in the following social platform pilot evaluations. Because social platforms increasingly shape the way information is produced and consumed, and have a defining role in how we engage the bonds of civic life and community, Braver Angels believes it is important for our members to play an active role in supporting the improvement of these technologies.

Please note that as part of your participation, you may be entering into privacy and terms-of-use agreements with 3rd parties. Social platforms are difficult to get right, and while Braver Angels has curated what we believe are promising candidates, we cannot vouch these experiences will necessarily have the desired “depolarizing effect.” With your help, we hope to identify what works and what doesn’t!

When you use social media today, you face two choices – bite your tongue or lose friends. Weave is different – you can speak openly without people getting angry at you. Weave is a full social media platform that protects your controversial views behind automatically-generated aliases until you build mutual respect and trust. Features like Respect and Nope help you manage your feed and build genuine intimacy. It’s like Facebook without the drama.

Weave is designed to deliver the intimacy and comradery of a BA event without risking online nastiness. Try asking something controversial (or just bring up something friendly with real names!). Your feedback and ideas will help Braver Angels-style depolarization go wide across the country.

Ponder.wiki

Ponder.wiki is an experimental application developed by husband and wife team Zac and Cynthia Kriegman. Political differences were pushing them towards divorce, but they saved their marriage in part through use of a new form of technology assisted dialogue and participation with Braver Angels.

Ponder.wiki builds on what they learned to facilitate meaningful discussion between polarized groups or individuals by channeling conversations into rigorous logical analysis. Because the application accepts only carefully structured reasoning and evidence, it eliminates the rhetoric, hyperbole, ad hominems and posturing that frequently derail conversations and it forces users to think carefully about what actually led them to their beliefs.

As a result, it allows even highly polarized participants to collaboratively investigate issues together using a meticulous, evidence-based process that brings all sides closer to the truth, and to understanding their counterparts’ best arguments.

As a discussion progresses, the application automatically produces a precisely organized map of the best arguments on all sides, which can be used as a living resource for everyone in the world who wants to investigate and discuss the issue in the future.

Try a “ponder” today and give us your feedback and ideas!

PrismVu is an innovative platform that uses artificial intelligence to help frame issues and transform the way complex issues are understood and addressed. It offers AI-enabled interactive tools for developing logic-based questionnaires, enhancing stakeholder engagement, and revealing insightful thought patterns. These tools are designed to improve understanding, surface commonalities and differences and elevate dialogue. The platform has been used to engage audiences as part of political debates, discussions and issue exploration. It is free to use for Braver Angels events.

Join the Lab

Interested in joining the lab as a volunteer or partner?

Braver Angels Support