Inspired by systems like Wikipedia and Linux, the Climate CoLab applies the power of collective intelligence to address one of Earth’s most pressing problems: global climate change. Hosted at the Center for Collective Intelligence (CCI), the Climate CoLab is an internet crowdsourcing platform where people from countries across the planet interact with experts on various technology and policy issues relating to global climate change. Thomas Malone, the founding director of CCI and the Patrick J. McGovern Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, believes the Climate CoLab can produce valuable solutions for the health of the planet, and that it and similar projects will yield valuable insights that will lead towards more effective methods of collaboration in the digital age.
The online initiative holds about 20 contests each year. Entrants debate how to implement a national carbon price, discuss Europe’s climate action plan, or attempt to predict the effects climate change will have in the Pamir Mountain range straddling Afghanistan and Tajikistan. For each contest, a panel of experts selects the winners.
To date, the Climate CoLab has received nearly 1,500 proposals from teams in countries including Austria, China, Japan, Kenya, and Venezuela. Along with providing novel solutions to combat climate change—and taking the world’s pulse on the issue—the Climate CoLab supports CCI’s mission to research how people and computers can work together more intelligently and how collective intelligence can be harnessed to further the greater good.