About Forward Labs
Our goal is to make it easier for everyday people to take local action on the causes they care about. These causes fall into four categories:
We are a secular organization that honors the separation of church and state. Therefore, we do not support causes that are deeply religious in nature. We do, however, welcome the participation of faith-based groups in Forward’s secular causes.
Why Forward "Labs"?
Rather than a product or a consultancy, we like to think of ourselves as a lab that is dedicated to the continual improvement of local democratic engagement. The idea for Forward initially emerged from Libby Falck's graduate research at MIT on digital organizing practices in her home state of Wisconsin. Moving forward, we aim to maintain a research-based, human-centered, and iterative approach to the development of products and services in partnership with community-based organizations.
We believe that platforms designed to function in support of democracy must be democratically owned and governed. That's why we seek to follow the principles outlined by the Design Justice Network and our ultimate vision is to sustain any technologies we develop using a safe, equitable, and sustainable model of platform cooperativism. This approach reimagines the traditional form of the cooperative as a way to govern and share value among the participating members of digital platforms (see work by Travor Scholz and Nathan Schnieder). Additionally, members should have a voice in platform governance, particularly with regard to decisions about the use of member data.