The Year 2020 in Retrospect at Lucidminds
Without a doubt, this year has been a unique one for all of us. The global pandemic has stress-tested both old and new systems drastically, changed our behaviors at micro levels, and brought an anxious new norm as a reality, an unpredictability. As a young organization striving to provide a unique set of solutions space in complex systems analysis, this year has been an exceptionally challenging one for us too. Lucidminds has changed a lot, learned a lot, gained new partners, and made new friends. While we look at the past year in retrospect, we’d like to thank all our partners and friends who’ve been with us and collaborated with us in solidarity. Below we give a brief overview of our projects and accomplishments during the last year.
Lecture & Workshop at AYARF
We have started the year right before the pandemic by giving a lecture at AYARF in Seoul, South Korea. It was such an inspiring experience to spend an entire week with brilliant & bright fellows and having amazing conversations with other invited lecturers and mentors such as Audrey Tang, Taiwan’s Digital Minister.
AYARF is a truly international initiative and collaboration on challenges, such as the climate crisis, pandemic, and technological revolution. It supports young citizens who are trying to radically change the urban problems in Asia in a completely different way from that of the older generations.
Bulent gave a lecture on 21st Century Activist Research Tools together with our colleague Eunji Kang from Dark Matter Labs and ran several hands-on workshops and mentorship sessions. Making new friends such as the visionary Kweon Ohyeon, the founder of Parti, an open platform for everyone to talk about politics. For Korean speaking friends here is a link to an interview with Bulent. It is published on Slowalk, an influential and local debating platform on societal issues.
Civic AI: Building Smart Civics to Unlock Community Transitions in Response to the Climate Crisis.
In the first quarter of the year, we’ve been focusing on yet another wicked problem: Climate Change. We repurposed and renamed our previous project Homopoliticus as Climatter. We aim for a simulation-based serious gaming platform that teaches the effects of climate change and provides tools for players to design and simulate their collaborative solutions. With this project, we placed our long-term vision under the header of Collective Intelligence. Because we believe that if communities are supported by the right tools and methods, there is an enormous opportunity for a long-lasting collective impact on climate crisis mitigation.
After sharing our vision and approach with our friends and colleagues at Dark Matter Labs they shared their thoughts on civic assets as tools to support people, and for communities to take action. With that, Lucidminds and Dark Matter Labs teamed up to work on a project which was later called “Civic AI: Building smart civics to unlock community transitions in response to the climate crisis.” At the end of March, our joint project received a research grant from NESTA, and with their support, we developed three distinct use-cases including blueprints and the Augmented Collective Intelligence Framework.
Right after its launch and online webinar, Civic AI caught the attention of some of the most progressive cities in Europe such as Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Aarhus, and Leuven. This was very exciting and we had in-depth talks, discussions, and workshops with representatives of those cities. We’re very much looking forward to working with them and supporting them to achieve their 2021 climate goals.
SpeedBoat-C: A post-COVID-19 green recovery project
In the second half of the year, a call from EIT Climate-KIC caught our attention aiming for innovation projects that stimulate job creation and support a post-COVID-19 green recovery. As such calls reflect our project spectrum very well, we took the initiative to inform possible partners to potentially build a consortium. Thankfully, our partners circular.fashion, Sqetch and ETP responded positively to our initiative and together we developed the Speedboat-C project based on our partners’ brilliant, existing products. This resulted in our consortium winning the public bid. The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Climate-KIC is one of multiple Knowledge and Innovation Communities financed by the European Commission. It aims to support commercially viable innovations around climate action. Our consortium and the project recently featured in EIT’s newsletter for their excellence. This is a great honor for us, and we hope to continue our collaboration with the Climate-KIC Community in the foreseeable future.
The ambition of the Speedboat-C project is to contribute to the emergence of a circular, resilient, and regional textile industry in Europe. It develops a one-stop-platform for circular clothing design and production. The platform provides automated recommendations for fashion brands and manufacturers. The matchmaking process favors options that advance circularity, increase transparency, and reduce carbon emissions by establishing regional value chains in Europe. By facilitating demand and supply on its platform, we envision that European circular value chains will create jobs and foster an economy that is in line with its climate neutral targets.
Within the project, Lucidminds has developed software components, APIs and designed a blockchain based incentive system:
- Circular Product Lifecycle Tracking to get individuals involved in tracking the lifecycle of their circular products as well as displaying its lifecycle by scanning the code of their circular product.
- A recommendation engine API for circular fashion designs and machine learning algorithms along with data requirements.
- A block-chain based incentive system that supports circular textile within Europe.
As we were very happy and excited about our block-chain based incentive system, we have further detailed its architectural design and will be releasing it as a Decentralized Circular Textile Whitepaper that can be downloaded from our website.
DataVille: A Customizable Digital Twin Module on Data Marketplaces
Data and AI algorithms are the fundamental building blocks of Industry 4.0. However, people’s active or passive contribution to data generation and hence to new forms of wealth generation is either ignored or undervalued. This matter has been on our agenda since our foundation in 2019. We have always claimed that democratization of AI cannot be restricted to merely providing access to AI algorithms or tools. We need to update our economic value generating systems and our perception of new modes of economic production as well. That was one of the driving forces for our efforts to create an online serious game platform on economic policies. We have been continuously conducting R&D efforts around the matter. The project was initially named Homopoliticus. Its version with a focus on climate change was renamed Climatter. The R&D effort to support this work has been partially supported by the Netherlands Enterprise Agency (RVO) since mid 2019.
However, in the second half of the year 2020, we reached the conclusion that we wanted to develop a suite of complementary tools and services such as privacy-aware data analytics APIs and a customizable Digital Twin module on data marketplaces. To this end, we have been developing relations and consortia with like-minded organisations and individuals. In the near future, we will be investing more and more efforts in long-term, strategic partnerships to develop our rather ambitious and resource intensive components of the “DataVille Suite”. Nevertheless, we have already assembled an internal dedicated core team of researchers, simulation experts, software developers, and UI/UI designers to build the first component: an online interactive simulation tool. We will launch its first version by the end of the first quarter of this new year.
System Design & Smart Contracting
Over the past year, we collaborated with a number of partner organisations architecting new systems or mechanisms. In the majority of these collaborations we ended up creating or suggesting novel ways to adopt Smart Contracting and Distributed Ledger Technologies (DLTs). The application areas of our services have varied from peer-to-peer financing, urban logistics coops, to location-indexed data marketplaces. A number of these designs have led to patent applications.
New Branding: LM Complex System Design & Analytics
As many radical changes were occurring in our lives throughout the year, we, as Lucidminds, have changed as well. As a very diverse team of researchers, software and data engineers, scientists, and social impact enthusiasts, we have been in regular talks to pinpoint our long term vision. During such talks, we had a close look at the nature of our work, our partner choices, the impact measurement of our work, as well as our common and individual interests and ambitions. This internal study clearly showed us that Lucidminds is a Complex System Design & Analytics organization. To be able to reflect our identity, we have decided to update our branding and we are very thankful to Julia Shkatova for her great work.
As we just left this challenging year behind us, we are very grateful to have such partners, friends, and colleagues as we do. Together, we saw the high potential of radical systemic change, its impact on our society, and the health of our world. That’s why we are more optimistic than ever and excited to work on challenging problems together.
Wishing you all a great and healthy year.