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Principled Societies Project

Helping Individuals, Organizations, and Communities Solve Problems That Matter

Solving Problems That Matter

We empower individuals, organizations, and communities to focus on and solve (or successfully address) problems that matter.

One could say we're in the information, computation, AI, decision-making, complex-adaptive-systems design business. Only as a nonprofit, developing and using open-source tools and platforms. We're also in the awareness and wisdom business. After all, doesn't wisdom imply the capacity to solve difficult problems? And doesn't awareness imply information?

What are problems that matter? Communities worldwide face a mix of difficult, specific challenges, including climate change, high unemployment, pollution, income inequality, high rates of preventable diseases, crime, and biodiversity loss. Organizations and individuals face their own kinds of specific challenges, like budget shortfalls and decisions about careers and health. More generally, however, problems that matter are the ones that directly relate to core human needs. Groups inherit their core needs from those of individuals, as illustrated in Figure 1.

problem-solving process, summary
Figure 1. Overview of the group problem-solving process

Human groups cooperate to solve problems in much the same way that groups of any species, even bacteria, cooperate to solve problems. Viewed abstractly, in the process illustrated in Figure 1, individuals and groups have needs, gather information about their environment, process the information and evaluate options, make decisions, and then take actions. Actions may alter conditions, and the process starts over again.

Said another way, groups compute. They sense and process information in order to predict, or anticipate, what will happen next if certain actions (or no actions) are taken. Some of the computation happens at the individual level, and some is orchestrated at the group level.

Of course, for simple organisms like bacteria, the sensing and anticipatory apparatus are very simple and nearly all computation occurs at the individual level. For complex animals, like humans, the apparatus are very sophisticated and can include the brain, mechanical sensors, software, and supercomputers, and networks of these. Even so, the internal and external models that humans build are necessarily imperfect and based on incomplete information. The only perfect model of the world is the world itself. Thus, the impacts of our actions are also uncertain.

As tagged in the figure, social choice systems for human groups are the components of the problem-solving process that are amenable to design. These include software and computational tools, information infrastructure, programs, procedures, and rules. Most important, they include the conceptual models and world views on which a social choice system is based.

Social choice systems can also be called problem-solving or decision-making systems. For communities and societies, primary social choice systems include economic/financial/monetary; governance/political; and legal/justice systems, broadly defined. Economic, governance, and legal systems, for short.

We empower individuals, organizations, and communities to focus on and solve problems that matter. We do so by offering improvements to all aspects of social choice systems. In particular, we research and develop information, decision-making, and computation tools and infrastructures, and integrate these into comprehensive, flexible, open-source problem-solving platforms. We provide products and services to clients based on what we develop. Perhaps most important, our efforts reflect new, more realistic world views that are emerging at the frontiers of science.

We have a start, as evidenced by the articles, models, and other materials cited on this website. And we have other preliminary models that are not yet cited. But the bulk of the work remains, awaiting funding. To see where we are going, read our blog articles. More information about products and services, including a grant and social investor slide deck, is on the Socio prospectus Program page.

Take Our Wellbeing Surveys

Like your job? Hate it? Too much stress in your life? Life too boring? Frustrated with the government or economy? We want to know! Please take our wellbeing surveys. Your responses help us understand current levels of wellbeing and your views on existing and desired social choice systems. This is an opportunity to tell your story. Results will be summarized on this website and/or in scientific papers, media articles, and elsewhere. Please take all four surveys, and encourage friends and colleagues to do the same. Each survey has about 50 questions.

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Survey #1: Home Life
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Survey #2: Work Life
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Survey #3: Health
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Survey #4: Governance and Economic Systems

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