How do we thrive in a period of profound digital transformation? How do we ensure financial security and stability for more people? How do we increase internet and technology access, regardless of age, location, education, or ability? These are some of the pressing questions the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy (IDE) seeks to answer.
Led by Professor Erik Brynjolfsson and co-director Andrew McAfee (co-authors of Race Against the Machine and The Second Machine Age), and comprised of visionary, internationally recognized thought leaders and researchers, IDE examines how people and businesses work, interact, and will ultimately prosper in a time of rapid digital transformation. As part of this mission, IDE launched the MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge (IIC) last year, an initiative that is paving the way for change-makers to create jobs, reimagine struggling industries, and impact the economy through technology.
The MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge is a platform for recognizing and rewarding organizations that are promoting technology as a vehicle for positive change. In a world where automation poses potential challenges for employment, and where many jobs that were once pathways to guaranteed prosperity have dramatically changed or disappeared, the IIC awards more than one million dollars in prizes to organizations around the world that are using technology to reinvent the future of work.
“The grand challenge of our era is to use digital technologies to create not only prosperity, but shared prosperity,” said Erik Brynjolfsson in this recent article about on HuffingtonPost.com. “We created the Inclusive Innovation Challenge to recognize and reward the many amazing people and organizations that are working to accomplish this mission.
Meet the 2017 MIT Inclusive Innovation Challenge Winners
On October 12, the Inclusive Innovation Challenge leadership team announced the 2017 winners and grand prize recipients. Sixteen finalists (both for profit and non-profit organizations) were selected from nearly 1,000 applicants through a rigorous process by panel of more than 160 judges. Held in Boston, the October event was attended by Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Alphabet Inc., as well as other notable leaders from technology, policy, academia, and business sectors. Schmidt announced a $1 billion commitment from Google towards the initiative. Next year, MIT plans to expand IIC to host challenges across five continents.
The top four winners were awarded grand prizes worth $150,000 each, and the remaining 12 runners-up were awarded $35,000 each, across four categories: financial inclusion; income growth and job creation; skills and matching; and technology access.
The grand prize winners:
LaunchCode (Skills & Matching Category): Grows the tech workforce in the U.S. through free education in coding for jobseekers who are lacking the necessary credentials.
AdmitHub (Technology Access Category): Has designed an AI virtual assistant for college students, offering 24/7 personalized support.
EFL (Financial Inclusion Category): Provides an alternative credit scoring for lenders, applying psychometrics and behavioral science to assess how personality drives credit risk of borrowers.
Logistimo (Income & Jobs Category): A digital auction-based platform that connects demand to local capacity in rural villages to mitigate constraints of availability, reliability and affordability of transport.
Learn more about the winners on the MIT Inclusive Innovation website and watch the event video below.