Rebuild Together: Let’s Treat Hate Like the Public Health Emergency It Is


Rebuild Together

by Thicket Labs

Forward progress is driven by collaboration and inclusion. But this is not where our world is heading right now, and technology has played a significant role in amplifying already existing trends towards social fragmentation and breakdown of community. Thicket believes that technology can and should be a tool to help people learn about themselves and their world, leading to stronger, more resilient communities. 

We’ve distilled all of our learnings over the past three years to create Rebuild Together, a powerful new community building program based on public health principles and designed to respond to the recent upswing in hate and violence in communities across the US and around the world. The public health field has long known that hate is a socially contagious disease that results in outbreaks of violence. Social research has confirmed that attitudes, beliefs and behaviors can spread through populations as social contagions, and simple exposure can be a sufficient condition for social transmission to occur. 

Through Rebuild Together, Thicket has combined our workshops, digital learning tools, and collaborative problem solving platform into a powerful digital and grassroots organizing package. The comprehensive program engages communities over the course of seven months to explore their vulnerabilities to hate and violence, build public health-based solutions, and spread positive tools and messages to community members to jumpstart the healing process. All of this is backed by Thicket’s collaborative intelligence platform, which uses social network and predictive analytics to track the spread of social contagions like beliefs and behaviors through networks of people. 

Partners who are interested in bringing Rebuild Together to their community should reach out for more information. You can also read more in our program synopsis, full program description, and partnership opportunities

Through Rebuild Together, we believe a resilient world in which we are stronger together is possible. We hope you’ll join us in making it happen. 

A Workshop With a Twist!

When we sat down with our partner Zago to design a new way to help you solve problems, we weren’t sure what was in store. Zago has their eye on creative, innovative collaboration and we have ours on creative, innovative and impactful ways to collect and leverage data.  Along with our shared natural knack for helping teams problem solve, we’ve developed a program that helps teams with limited time and resources find alignment and innovate fast. We wanted to develop something strongly based in design principles that could deliver unexpected results. The key words here are consensus, speed, proof of concept, and action plan. Oh - and don’t forget Tech-Enabled!

Allow us to present to you The Data Design Sprint: A tech-enabled workshop that will get teams off to a powerful start in just a day. Too many teams spend weeks and sometimes months talking about plans but never getting aligned or organized enough to put them into action. Time passes and they are still discussing the same ideas in their meetings. Zago and Thicket have joined forces for a program that will extract the best from the team, catalyze the creative genius in the room, and whip them into action. 

We challenge you to learn more about it here:

New Thicket study for Google profiled in USA Today

The Thicket team is proud to release the results of our most recent study, conducted for the Google Computer Science Education in Media team and looking at how positive media portrayals influence TV viewers. Our study finds that young girls who have seen season one of YouTube Red’s original series Hyperlinked are now 11% more likely to be interested in computer science (CS) careers than viewers who have not watched Hyperlinked. Watching Hyperlinked is strongly associated with positive perceptions of the field of computer science and encouragement from friends -- two of the four major factors that explain a young girl’s decision to pursue computer science.

The findings and what they mean for Google's CS Education in Media program is profiled in this USA Today article, along with USC's analysis of how computer science is portrayed in TV at large. Read the article here. You can also read the findings here.

Vote for Thicket at #SXSW2018!

You helped Thicket Labs get to Austin in March 2017, let’s do it again next year! Thicket is excited to have two sessions in play for SXSW 2018.

We’ve pitched two events we’re passionate about, and we are excited about the partners we’ve been working with this year who will be presenting with us. Voting ends on August 25th so please get your vote in early! You can vote (takes 2 min) by clicking on the links in the descriptions below.

All Together Now! Participatory Media & Democracy

Thicket Designer Jacob Hernandez will be joined by panelists Ashley Brown of the Center for Global Policy Solutions and April De Simone of Designing the WE to talk about engaging citizens in the age of participatory democracy. We’ll be talking about our work together to crowdsource a policy agenda from over 300 policy experts and community organizers to advance women’s wealth and health through targeted policy change. Our work has engaged people in building community power in authentic, on the ground ways -- using technology, but also using pen and paper. We hope our panel can help show how participation can help push policy making into a new realm of effectiveness to support democracy and citizenship.

Forecast the Future: Storytelling across Platforms

Join Deepthi Welaratna and Valerie Evering, Thicket’s resident educators and storytellers, for an engaging and visually captivating journey into the future of storytelling across platforms. We’ll be using Thicket to gather insights from industry pros and visualize how they see interactive storytelling evolving in the 21st century. Together we will map trends in storytelling across platforms and build a vision of where media industries are headed in the 21st century.

Show your love by voting for our events! We hope to see you in Austin!

Bringing Collaboration into the 21st Century

At Thicket, we amplify people’s ability to think and work together through technology. We marry design thinking with the analytic power of data science to power community-driven decision making. By visualizing situations from a variety of perspectives in clear and simple terms, Thicket boosts the power of groups to understand problems and predict outcomes in complex environments.

We know that impactful collaborations can’t happen by technological magic alone. There is still a specialist shaping the outcomes of the collaborative process and the resulting solution or plan. For the majority of the 20th century, it was management consultants helping companies to reorganize and restructure to keep up with opportunities for growth. In the old model, the consultant would swoop in, take in loads of data, and hold and digest tons of conversations. Through the power of a small team of well-trained brains and a few cookie-cutter frameworks for analysis, they would produce a single document to announce a company’s new strategic direction.

All of that has gone by the wayside. The 21st century has demanded more speed and scale of collaboration, more depth of knowledge and breadth of input from an increasing variety of stakeholders, and more transparency into how and why decisions are made. Many consultants struggle to keep up with the innovation cycle. The cycle of problem definition, stakeholder buy-in, rapid prototyping, and traction & scale must be completed within a certain timeframe or results are obsolete before they even go to market. Thicket speeds the development cycle for  dramatic efficiencies on both cost and time.

The old consulting model isn’t suited to today’s complex problem solving needs, but some firms break the mold by embracing all of the maddening potential and possibilities of complexity. They ask the right questions to identify root causes, key drivers and dependencies, and honest indicators of impact. We’ve seen how consultants embracing complexity can generate true breakthrough solutions that are firmly grounded in the design principles of inclusion and impact.

And so, it is with great pleasure that we announce our first partnership in the consulting space. Zago is a strategy and design studio with a 20-year legacy of helping social change organizations create social impact. The Zago team embodies 21st-century talents and principles in how they help clients build the capacity to be smarter, faster and more resilient. Thicket will be partnering with Zago to deliver tech-enabled decision-making and collaborative convenings to their clients.

We believe that Thicket is at its most powerful when grappling with all of the complexity of messy human collaborations. This is why we’re excited that Zago will be providing their clients with more powerful and efficient tools for them to explore their ideas, to analyze their possible outcomes and consequences, and to help them create lasting social impact today and in the years ahead.

Thicket is Collaborative Intelligence as a Service

When Thicket Labs launched at the beginning of 2014, a lot of the excitement in the startup world was around the power of big data, and the possibilities of quantifying just about anything. We saw a lot of time and energy being invested in making machines smart enough to replace humans in decision making situations. The thinking goes, if we feed computers enough data, we can make them so smart that one day they'll replace us. It’s the vision that inspires fear and excitement in equal doses.

We often talk about the amazing power of computers. Supercomputers, quantum computers, the neurosynaptic chip from IBM that offers 16 million neurons and 4 billion synapses. But no chip has yet come close to the human brain in size, capacity, or operation. When it comes to complex situations, we see those deficits even more clearly.

Training computers using existing data can only generate solutions that lack the human ability to anticipate emerging situations and adapt. They also can’t perceive nuance the way that humans can in unclear situations. Algorithmic solutions to problems like policing, governance, and health don’t account for the human perceptions or social and emotional responses that influence how these systems operate. The result is a distinct lack of innovation, and solutions that only reinforce existing problems.

At Thicket Labs, we leverage the intelligence of computers to improve people’s ability to make decisions. Thicket, our collaborative intelligence technology platform, harnesses the power of machines to amplify human insight. Rather than have a chip that imitates human reasoning to interpret our data for us, we combine the power of a hundred, a thousand, or a million human brains to scale and deepen the interpretation.

We start where all revolutions begin: with a team of people committed to achieving a big goal. By capturing human insight about the challenge at hand, we generate data-driven forecasts that can be updated  and saved on the fly. Using insights about key drivers, dependencies, perspectives, and what if scenarios, collaborators are able to steer themselves towards a shared game plan.

Thicket can be used in a wide variety of contexts, and by a range of collaborators. We’ve used Thicket in trainings, workshops, conferences, and online with healthcare professionals, startup teams, policymakers, community residents, military cadets, and many more. By inputting a combination of their knowledge, ideas and assumptions, users gain clear insight into the big picture, the resources at play, and gain a combined understanding of what’s possible.

Even in data-poor situations where information is limited, Thicket can still improve planning and forecasting outcomes by integrating as many perspectives on the situation as possible. Small teams can gain as much value as large groups by using Thicket to set goals and track their progress and performance.

By visualizing people’s values, perspectives, and priorities, we make it possible to predict possible futures based on human insight. Using Thicket, people can reshape their operations, their organizations, their cities, and their industries through people-powered forecasting.

When it comes to human problems, computers could certainly become smarter than us one day. But right now, we need human intelligence to drive innovations to improve our lives today. There will always be a bigger, messier problem to tackle than the one we face now. We need to combine all of our smarts to solve it. Thicket is here to help.

Now is the Time to Take Action

Since election day, we know that: 

  • Social fragmentation is a clear and present danger to ourselves and our communities. Hate crimes have risen by 6% since election day, more than post-9/11. 
  • People who are sick and dying are desperate for change. Public health outcomes, including decreased life expectancy and increased prevalence of obesity, diabetes, heavy drinking, and lack of physical activity, is one of the core voting blocs that brought Trump to power. 
  • People are mobilizing to take action. There are thousands of groups organizing every day since the election, mobilizing to fight hate, protect communities, share resources, and take local action

The Thicket team is ready and willing to help. We’re launching Rebuild Together to help us connect with people who want to take action. 

Go to and share your commitment to local action. By sharing your action, you’ll also help us gather useful data on what people are doing on the ground in different communities. We’ll be releasing this data publicly to help people, organizations, and networks identify issues and actions that are most relevant to their communities and help them plan and rebuild. 

Here’s how we’ll use any data that you share with us through this website:

  • We will create a shareable commitment that includes your name that will be publicly displayed on the website and that you can post to social media channels. 

  • We will summarize and report on data publicly in aggregate for communities to learn what issues and actions are emerging as high priorities. 

  • If you join the campaign by sharing your email address, our team will send you updates about the campaign and future opportunities to take action on the issues you care about. 

  • In January, we will offer campaign subscribers a free account on the Possibility Engine, our social networking platform that helps people take action together. 

Please share your action with us at and help us gather this important data. 

Flourishing Through Feedback

Lifehack Fellows brainstorm barriers and opportunities around wellbeing. 

Lifehack Fellows brainstorm barriers and opportunities around wellbeing. 

Fellows create journey maps for specific impact goals. 

Fellows create journey maps for specific impact goals. 

Lifehack experiments with new approaches to enabling youth wellbeing at the intersection of health and wellbeing science, design, technology and social entrepreneurship. As a youth wellbeing innovation platform where people from different parts of the system come together and learn, share and develop new approaches, projects and ventures, Lifehack maintains young people’s wellbeing at the centre of the process. Their team works alongside young people, whānau (Māori; wider family), communities, individuals and organizations that work with young people--supporting them to develop solutions to the challenges they see around them.

Supported by New Zealand’s Ministry of Social Development, the Lifehack team has developed its programming over the last three years using a social innovation labs model. Its signature fellowship program, the Flourishing Fellowship, is in its third year of building people’s capability to create positive change while building a network and movement of changemakers with the geographic and sectoral reach to radically improve youth wellbeing. 

For its 2016 cohort, Lifehack worked with Thicket Labs to use data-driven design thinking activities to design a framework for quantitative feedback-based evaluation. As we enter the third and final month of the Fellowship program, we're seeing how the process has unearthed new strategic insights for program improvement and led to a deeper understanding of how network effects are influencing the Fellows' collective impact.

Stay tuned as we'll be releasing the results in February 2017 with new interactive visualizations for distilling insights from design thinking activities accompanied by a discussion of how to use design thinking to gather feedback and how to connect those qualitative insights to quantitative evaluations. We'll also address the sensitivity of language in multicultural contexts and why traditional evaluation may need to adapt to apply to social innovation lab programs.