Here’s how we can design a humanity centric digital economy together

Nathan Kinch

Nathan Kinch

How might we design a verifiably trustworthy, highly competitive and humanity-centric information society that truly benefits individuals and communities around the world?

Trust is at an all time low. This matters not just because trust disproportionately impacts bottom line business outcomes, but also because the relationship between data sharing and trust is becoming clearer. People want and expect control of their data. It’s no longer accepted that limited value is assigned to privacy. There is a tradeoff fallacy.

Our societies and economies are increasingly information driven. Information asymmetry, power imbalances and monopolies are threatening our ways of living. Individuals face increasing risk of manipulation, along with a variety of other harms that aren’t yet well understood. The ineffectiveness of the current model, particularly the lack of active participation from individuals, is resulting in billions of unrealised economic benefit.

With this as our backdrop, the question becomes: How might we design a verifiably trustworthy, highly competitive and humanity-centric information society that truly benefits individuals and communities around the world?

Building upon our work helping design information sharing ecosystems, like Consumer Data Right in Australia, this is the very question our team at Greater Than X asked. In our most recent report, we propose some answers.

Defining an ambitious vision

Many information sharing initiatives lack a clear vision. We argue that technology exists to augment our abilities. It should ‘free’ us to spend our time on the most valuable, meaningful and engaging lifestyle activities.

In fact, that’s the very vision we propose: A future where technology supports us in such a way we’re able to maximise the amount of time we spend truly experiencing life’s most meaningful moments.

This feels like a ‘why’ even Simon Sinek could buy into.

So how do we get there?

Strategy, tactics and key measures of progress

To achieve this vision, active, diverse and intentional collaboration must be our focus. We need to work and learn together.

Specifically, we propose a platform ecosystem strategy that:

  • Encourages incentives alignment between individuals and organisations for the benefit of all participants

  • Leverages emerging technologies and standards to ensure privacy, security and meaningful choice for participants

  • Promotes diverse participation and experimentation by design, so that uncertainty can be tackled and decisions can be made based on validated learning

  • We support this platform ecosystem strategy with a series of enabling functions. These ecosystem functions help achieve the three objectives above. They help progress us towards our vision.

We cover:

  • An experiment and collaboration framework

  • Trustworthy Technology

  • Outcome-aligned incentive structures

  • Data Ethics Frameworks,and

  • Designing participant experiences

Perhaps most importantly, we propose ideas for what we might value. We do this because current systems typically define metrics, then assign ‘value’ to them. This misses the point. Instead we should define what we value, then figure out how to measure it.

Doing this will increase the likelihood we optimise for socially preferable outcomes.

Why should you read the report?

We are all responsible for designing the future. In fact, many of us are in unique positions of power. As ‘designers’, we have the opportunity to impact choice architectures and the technologies that support a variety of societal functions. We have the opportunity to change people’s lives.

The contents of this report, along with the collaborative platform TTC Labs has developed, can support us in working together to achieve better societal outcomes.

We’d love to collaborate with you to make this happen. Reach out to us if you’d like to chat.

Download the report here.

Nathan Kinch

Nathan Kinch

Co-founder and CEO, Greater Than X and creator of Data Trust by Design

Nathan's spent the bulk of his career leading the design of information sharing ecosystems across North America, Europe and Asia Pacific. He's worked with brands like Microsoft, Telefonica, Cuscal, Volt Bank, Government Digital Services, Visa, Data61, Trov and Open Banking, championing ethics, privacy and trust. He is an author, frequent keynote speaker and early-stage startup investor. In another life he was also a competitive athlete.

TTC Labs is a cross-industry effort to create innovative design solutions that put people in control of their privacy.

Initiated and supported by Facebook, and built on collaboration, the movement has grown to include hundreds of organisations, including major global businesses, startups, civic organisations and academic institutions.