Mission

Our mission is to empower organizations worldwide to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by developing strategic planning software powered by blockchain and AI that generates insights on the strategies and conditions that lead to successful programs. In essence, we want to create a global brain to generate collective intelligence to tackle the most wicked of global challenges.

The Problem:

Thousands of agencies and organizations around the globe are working to achieve those 17 ambitious goals set out by the United Nations in 2015. However, even the largest organizations often lack an effective system for tracking, analyzing, and visualizing program findings. Frequently, program data is scattered around myriad spreadsheets, which are disconnected and disorganized across individual computers. Learning within the same organization is a tedious, time-consuming process of manually collecting and interpreting data, and then posting findings in long, technical PDF reports. Learning across organizations is even more challenging, if not impossible in many cases.

Proposed Solution:

Indra is strategic planning software that compiles and manages mountains of program data to generate actionable insights about the factors that contribute to success across programs, activities, and global regions. Built on blockchain to create a decentralized and distributed global database of program findings, the app offers teams an intuitive platform to monitor, analyze, and visualize the effectiveness of their strategies. The app harnesses machine learning to identify patterns and provide recommendations on which actions are likely to succeed under a given set of conditions. Program teams can then adapt their strategies to ensure that time and resources are spent wisely - ensuring that teams achieve their desired program outcomes.

Action

Collaborate with us to help improve the lives of billions of people around the globe, harnessing collective experience and knowledge to reduce poverty, protect natural resources, and ensure opportunity for all humans everywhere.

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Updates

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We are very pleased to share with you our pitch and demo video for Project Indra, a strategic planning app that empowers organizations worldwide to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.

Official pitch and demo video submission is embedded above!

Thanks for an amazing opportunity and a fantastic experience with this hackathon! Best of luck to all the participants in solving global challenges.

  • Team Indra

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User Personas

Conservation Planner Fictional name Mariangela Gonzalez Job Project Manager Organization Small conservation NGO Age 38 Education MS in Tropical Ecology Location Colombia Experience 15 years Access to internet moderate Quote “I need to ensure my staff are delivering results and protecting what we say we are protecting - and then clearly demonstrate that to my boss.” Time commitments Juggles multiple conservation projects across multiple scales, regions, and landscapes. Spends half her time in the office and half the time in the field visiting various project sites. Motivators Loves her work. Loves the forest and everything in it. Would probably rather be working in the field full time again, doing research in the rainforest. But her skills and experience have led her to manage projects, and she takes pride in doing the work to protect her favorite place on Earth: Colombian rainforest. Daily tasks Work plans Planning meetings Collecting monitoring data from field staff Travel to and from sites Coordinating field visits Presenting project findings to program directors Frustrations / Pain Points So much paperwork. Too many spreadsheets and PDF documents. She has to submit clear, concise, and actionable findings about success (or failures) of projects she manages, but it takes a lot of sifting through scattered Excel files, long reports, and mountains of monitoring data. Wishes she could conduct deeper analysis of project data, but her org lacks resources (both time and funding). Professional goals Aspires to continue working to protect the rainforest, but in progressively higher levels of leadership. Would love to return to research at some point, but sees a greater need for her skills in protecting rather than studying. Learning needs Is always open to learning new ways of improving her management of conservation projects. Recently participated in a workshop to learn the Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation. Really liked the training, but finds that the process was very time-consuming. Would love to learn more, but time is tight. Preferred communication methods Email primarily, as she’s often on the move between field and office

Upper Management

Fictional name Linda Watson Job Director of Conservation Programs Organization International NGO Age 53 Education PhD in Conservation Biology Location Washington Experience 25 years in global conservation Access to internet high-speed Quote “We need to be more strategic about our programs, and more agile in their implementation. We can’t afford to waste any more resources on uncertain outcomes.” Time commitments Completely overbooked, often run ragged with competing priorities. Motivators She is driven to make her organization shine, particularly because there is a great deal of pressure from high visibility donors to see results. In the current age of questionable funding and futures for environmental protection programs, she knows that she needs her programs to stand out. Daily tasks Meetings meetings meetings Briefings from project managers Phone calls with executive director and board Occasional fundraising activities Frustrations / Pain Points Her organization has so many projects and programs around the world that they have a very hard time keeping track. They don’t know which programs are truly effective, and thus worth further investment. Need better ways of tracking and managing program outcomes, and of reporting those outcomes to donors and other stakeholders. Hopes to find ways of scaling and replicating success across programs and regions, which is currently difficult given the disorder of their data. Professional goals Hopes to continue in her role, and perhaps launch a smaller NGO Learning needs Not much time for learning, but is always open to new ways of generating effective program strategy. Preferred communication methods Email, phone by appointment

Organizational Profiles

Example case 1: NGO protecting tropical rainforest in Peruvian Amazon

This is a small team with relatively limited resources operating in a highly complex environment with numerous conflicting stakeholders, many of whom don’t support conservation. The local/regional government is run by a former gold miner who is antagonistic to their efforts. This is a global hotspot for biodiversity, with one of the highest density of endogenous species on earth. The team seeks to protect X hectares of forest, countless species of endogenous birds, large cats, amphibians, reptiles using a variety of conservation approaches such as ecotourism, sustainable livelihoods, and conservation concessions. Some of the primary threats are artisanal gold mining and road development, both of which are rapidly increasing after the construction of a major highway cutting through the Amazon from the east coast of Brazil to the west coast of Peru. This conservation team will use Indra to plan, implement, monitor, and analyze the effectiveness of their programs, and to learn from the findings of similar programs in other regions of South and Central America, as well as globally. They need to be able to work quickly to plan and visualize their projects, involve various stakeholders with varying technical skills, and report key findings on effectiveness of their activities to leadership and donors.

Example Case 2: Multilateral agency

Teams operating for this multilateral organization are part of a vast and complex ecosystem of bureaucratic processes and interrelationships between multiple offices, bureaus, scales, missions, organizations, and stakeholders. A primary focus of this multilateral is organizational learning: capturing, analyzing, and sharing program findings so that all of the organization’s programs can be more effective. There is a major push for every office and bureau to collaborate, learn, and adapt. And importantly, to clearly demonstrate success (or adaptation following lack of success) to stakeholders. Priorities for conservation are often part of a much larger portfolio of development activities, and in many cases are a lower priority to other activities, such as health or food security. Further, conservation is frequently seen as being at odds with these other activities. As such, teams that are focused on conservation within these country-scale portfolios have to clearly demonstrate the value of protecting biodiversity and natural areas. If they can’t prove effectiveness to the various levels of leadership in the organization and the stakeholder in a host country, they risk losing funds to continue their activities. For example, a conservation team within the organization may have the goal of protecting a lake and its populations of fish and other aquatic animals, knowing the importance of a healthy lake ecosystem to the local villages. However, some of the methods used by villagers for fishing and other livelihood activities are causing pollution, erosion, and other damages to the lake. Fish stocks are dwindling, casting a shadow on the sustainability of resources in the area. The team wants to identify the best strategies for both protecting the natural resources, while also demonstrating the value of these conservation activities for the food security of the village.

Pain Point Summary Table

Persona or Use Case Pain Point Conservation Planner So much paperwork. Too many spreadsheets and PDF documents. She has to submit clear, concise, and actionable findings about success (or failures) of projects she manages, but it takes a lot of sifting through scattered Excel files, long reports, and mountains of monitoring data. Wishes she could conduct deeper analysis of project data, but her org lacks resources (both time and funding).

Upper Management Her organization has so many projects and programs around the world that they have a very hard time keeping track. They don’t know which programs are truly effective, and thus worth further investment. Need better ways of tracking and managing program outcomes, and of reporting those outcomes to donors and other stakeholders. Hopes to find ways of scaling and replicating success across programs and regions, which is currently difficult given the disorder of their data.

Strategic Planning Process

Data entry and management: Teams don’t want to have to re-enter operational or programmatic data every time for every project, as they currently have to do with existing software or strategic planning alternatives (e.g., individual spreadsheets). Context analysis: Need to verify the evidence for the existence of particular threats or drivers. Research isn’t always easy to acquire. Likewise, research and other evidence for threat rating can be difficult to acquire. Strategic planning: Teams may tend to lean on strategies they are familiar with, rather than identifying or considering other strategies. Finding those other strategies again involves research - and the time and effort it requires. Monitoring and evaluation planning: Identifying or writing effective indicator statements can be challenging. Selecting the wrong indicators jeopardizes program success. Overall, this strategic process can be very time-consuming. Every step requires a great deal of discussion, research, and documentation. Falling back on the less comprehensive but also less effective strategic process is a strong temptation, especially for resource-strapped small NGOs.

Value Proposition

Indra is a strategic planning application built on blockchain and machine learning technology that generates actionable insights for member organizations to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent by organizations around the world to protect the land and water we all depend upon. Are these programs succeeding? Currently, there isn’t a reliable way to measure the effectiveness of these programs or to replicate or scale success. Collecting and analyzing data to generate insights is out of the reach of many organizations. Members of the Indra distributed intelligence network, made up of NGOs with conservation programs, can use the application to analyze, track, and benchmark aggregated program data for better actionable insights. They can create reports and data visualizations that are customized for all stakeholders, including team members, leadership, donors, taxpayers, and local communities, so that each party can understand the effectiveness of programs. Key benefits and features: Anonymized and aggregated program data from members against Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation from Conservation Measures Partnership Built on consortium blockchain for decentralization and accessibility Machine learning analysis of SDG strategies, activities, and conditions

Distribution and Go-To-Market Strategy

Background

Indra will research two different pricing models: Pricing modeled after a financial industry consortium called Operational Riskdata eXchange (ORX): Members (banks) contributes their operational loss data periodically in standard format for ORX to aggregate and anonymize. Members pay an annual fee, which allows them access to a richer dataset on operational loss events from competitors across the industry. ORX membership fees can vary, depending on size of company and length of contract. In this model, Indra membership fees would be determined depending on annual budget/revenue of NGOs and length of contract. A subscription-based SaaS pricing model: Organizations pay for the number of seats/users they need. A free subscription with limited functionality would be available, and increasing levels of features would be available at increased subscription fees.

Phase 1a: Target Conservation Measures Partnership

Conservation Measures Partnership (CMP) is a consortium of 30 NGOs in the conservation space, its current membership is as follows: African Wildlife Foundation Bush Heritage Australia Conservation International Conservation Coaches Network (CCNet) Disney's Animals, Science, and Environment Forever Costa Rica Foundations of Success The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation International Crane Foundation International Fund for Animal Welfare Jane Goodall Institute John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Keith Campbell Foundation for the Environment The Leona M. and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust Margaret A. Cargill Foundation National Audubon Society National Fish and Wildlife Foundation Nature Conservancy of Canada NatureServe Rare The Nature Conservancy Tusk USA US Agency for International Development (USAID) US Fish and Wildlife Service Walton Family Foundation Wildlife Conservation Network Wildlife Conservation Society WildTeam WWF UK World Wildlife Fund (WWF) US

As Indra will leverage the existing Open Standards for the Practice of Conservation from CMP as a strategic framework for the app functionality, the consortium represents a valuable opportunity for initial partnership and potential founding members---recognizing that certain CMP members may be easier to approach than others. For example, larger institutions such as US Government agencies and “BINGOs” (Big International NGOs) may have a harder time adopting new technology because of internal bureaucratic processes and the large number of staff that they employ. Another partner who may take some time to bring on board on Foundations of Success, the creators of Miradi, who may view Indra as a competitor.

Phase 1a: Target Non-CMP Conservation Organizations

Other organizations who are not part of CMP also use conservation planning software, and are a key part of the Indra market. These include organizations such as: Rainforest Alliance Amazon Conservation Association Rainforest Trust Bat Conservation International Island Conservation Phase 2: Target International Development Actors Outside of the Conservation Sector CMP member organizations will be targeted first, because of their familiarity with Miradi adaptive management software and similar conservation planning methods. Once the pilot program with CMP has been conducted and generated with Indra in the conservation sector, it will be marketed to development organizations in other sectors, such as health and education. Potential organizations to target include:

Development contractors NGOs Chemonics DAI Abt Associates TetraTech John Snow

CARE Oxfam PATH Pact ACDI/VOCA Global Health Corps

Indra can be marketed at industry events, such as the annual InterAction meeting, and the annual Society of International Development-Washington conference, where new development technologies are often promoted.

(plus much more that wouldn't fit well here :)

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Problem

Over 700 million people, or 10 percent of the world’s population, live in extreme poverty. 150 countries have at least one law that treats women and men differently, and 63 countries have five or more laws based in gender inequality. Almost 90 percent of global marine fish stocks are now fully exploited or overfished. What do these dire statistics have in common? They are all part of the United Nations ambitious set of 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs for short). By 2030, members of the UN aspire to create a world of environmental sustainability, social justice, and economic opportunity for all. This is a lofty and inspiring mission, perhaps the loftiest set of goals in history... but there’s a problem: how do we know which strategies work as intended? Considering the hundred plus targets and indicators, countless agencies and organizations and stakeholders working in maddeningly complex and ever-changing environments across the globe, how can we determine what actions and conditions lead to success? And better still, how can we share lessons across the field so that we can replicate that success? Thousands of agencies and organizations around the globe are working to achieve those 17 ambitious goals set out by the UN in 2015. However, even the largest organizations often lack an effective system for tracking, analyzing, and visualizing program findings. Frequently, program data is scattered around myriad spreadsheets, which are disconnected and disorganized across individual computers. Learning within the same organization is a tedious, time-consuming process of manually collecting and interpreting data, and then posting findings in long, technical PDF reports. Learning across organizations is even more challenging, if not impossible in many cases.

Proposed Solution

Indra is a strategic planning application that compiles and manages mountains of program data to generate actionable insights about the factors that contribute to success across programs, activities, and global regions. Built on blockchain to create a decentralized and distributed global database of program findings, the app offers teams an intuitive platform to monitor, analyze, and visualize the effectiveness of their strategies. The app harnesses machine learning to identify patterns and provide recommendations on which actions are likely to succeed under a given set of conditions. Program teams can then adapt their strategies to ensure that time and resources are spent wisely - ensuring that teams achieve their desired program outcomes.

Why blockchain is needed

Indra aims to leverage machine learning to conduct analysis of data related to programs addressing the Sustainable Development Goals Effective ML analysis of SDG strategies, activities, and conditions requires massive amount of data To find out what works, what doesn’t, and under what conditions, it will also be important to process and analyze data within and between organizations around the globe How to get access to this data from global organizations? Organizations are very unlikely to trust some other organization with managing all of their program data, least of all to share it for analysis Blockchain allows the creation of a decentralized global database that no one organization has control or management over - they own their own data, and can share the level and type of data they choose to share Blockchain allows all members of the network to have equal access to the aggregated and analyzed program findings, giving all members an incentive to continue using the software As this distributed network of program findings grows, the accuracy and depth of the analysis through machine learning can also continue to improve, delivering increasingly better returns to all members

Size of the market

Different types of NGOs work in the conservation space. They can be solely doing conservation work, or part of a larger environmental organization.
At a high level, the NGOs can be categorized by their impact levels: Global, Regional, and Country Definition for each impact level is as follows: Global: Have offices and programs in multiple continents (i.e. Conservation International) Regional: Have continent focused programs (i.e. European Wildlife) Country: Have country focused programs (i.e. Australian Wildlife Conservancy) The addressable market across all levels is currently around 479 NGOs, the breakdown of impact is as follows: Global 16%, Regional 4%, Country 80% (Developed World 68%, Developing World, 12%) Compared with small organizations, it is more difficult to implement new technology at larger organizations because they are generally more bureaucratic - resulting in more time and effort for approval and delivery Strategic approach is to approach NGOs at the Country level, prioritizing those in the developed world, resulting in total available market at 68% Subsequently, initial target market is US based NGOs at 32% Opportunity remains to scale to non-US based NGOs in the developed world

Competing alternative solutions

Tedious and inefficient system of individual spreadsheets, documents, and standalone project databases scattered around an organization and across the globe Miradi conservation planning software (www.miradi.org) and Miradi Share online library of shared projects (www.miradishare.org) TOCO - Theory of Change Online software (toco.actknowledge.org) KUMU system mapping and data visualization (www.kumu.io) Proprietary data management systems (e.g., unlocking.tnc.org) Data analysis consultants (e.g., www.elderresearch.com)

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