Online group Problem Solving with CoLabs

Since 2009, CCI has fielded a range of online platforms, called CoLabs, that seek to harness collective intelligence to address complex challenges.

Some of these platforms have invited participation by anyone, from anywhere in the world, with an interest in contributing.

These CoLabs have addressed a broad range of problems, including:

Climate CoLab 
Gathered ideas from a global community of more than 125,000 interested citizens to find solutions to key aspects of the climate change challenge. 

Pandemic Response CoLab in collaboration with Millipore Sigma 
Seeks ideas on key challenges associated with COVID-19 and also asks participants to identify problems they are facing.

Madrid CoLab 
CCI’s xCoLab online platform is the basis for the UPM Madrid Colab, which invites ideas from citizens on how to make the city of Madrid and the surrounding region more environmentally sustainable. 

Chile CoLab 
CCI’s xCoLab platform connected citizens with Chile’s national senate via the Ley Nacional Del Cáncer CoLab to collaborate on a new national cancer law. 

Other CoLabs have sought to gain deep insights from invited groups of experts about large, complex challenges.

By reaching out to large networks of professionals, from all around the world, who work across industries/disciplines and possess a broad range of expertise/experience, these CoLabs are able to elicit the collective wisdom of a globally distributed community of experts.

CoLabs that involve experts have typically been organized around 3-4 week sprints designed to encourage rich asynchronous conversations among participants around a topic of importance chosen by a sponsoring organization.

The CoLabs that have elicited input from experts include:

Life Sciences Supermind with Millipore Sigma
The Life Sciences Supermind brought together more than 200 leaders in the biosciences and related disciplines, using an online platform and synchronous virtual events, to gain insights into the question: How do we identify and apply the learnings from the COVID-19 pandemic to reimagine the institutions, processes, policies, and tools we use across the Life Sciences to address global health needs for all? (Spring 2021)

Pandemic Supermind Activation with Millipore Sigma
CCI convened more than 180 experts and global leaders in science, healthcare, public policy, and other sectors for a three-week exercise to address the following challenge: How can we develop pandemic resilience in resolving the current COVID-19 pandemic and to prepare for future pandemics? (early 2020)

Trust CoLab with US Pharmacopeia
In late 2019, a group of experts developed scenarios on the future of trust in medicine. One of the story lines that emerged from the exercise involved a pandemic leading to major changes in global health care practices–the collective effort of the experts effectively anticipated the COVID-19 outbreak several months in advance (late 2019).

Futures CoLab with Future Earth
An exercise where experts from the diverse domains of computer hardware/software, climate science, and environmental policy explored how digital technology might disrupt the practices that are keeping the world on an unsustainable path (2019).

Futures CoLab with ClimateWorks Foundation
Experts on climate change worked together online to develop scenarios on the future of climate philanthropy (2018).

Climate Risks CoLab with Skoll Global Threats Fund
Experts from the domains of climate change and national security collaborated online to Identify complex, under-recognized climate risks (2017). 


Thomas W. Malone

Kathleen Kennedy

Robert Laubacher

David Sun Kong


Articles and papers about the center’s CoLabs are listed under the individual CoLab project pages.