We decode the social effects of media to put their power to good use.

Current Projects

Our work is collaborative by necessity and by design. Contact us if you'd like to participate or start a new project.

VR Action Lab

Social impact uses for emerging media technology

A collaboration with Google Daydream ImpactScreenwriters Colony, Sensorium Works, Institute of Play and others, VR Action Lab brings together award-winning media makers, activists, researchers, designers and others to prototype and refine social impact uses for emerging media, like virtual reality. The first iteration of the VR Action Lab explored how VR could address the precipitous drop in efficacy of anti-bullying efforts in middle school and activate young people as upstanders. It produced three VR experiences embedded in a pilot-tested six-lesson curriculum, along with other resources to support the effective integration of emerging media tools into social change work. Future iterations of the Action Lab will use the same rigorous, multidisciplinary approach. 


Project Ratio

Redesigning our info ecosystem to improve political discourse

Vulnerabilities in our information ecosystem are creating a crisis in our democracy that is deeper, older and more systemic than fake news or filter bubbles. Project Ratio seeks to address this crisis. In addition to advancing fundamental understanding of information production, consumption, and comprehension, Project Ratio will bring together tech and media companies, academics and engineering talent to pursue solutions around three core questions: (1) What are the shortcomings in our current information ecosystem and our collective goals for improvement? (2) What conditions, mechanisms and interactions support, or impede, rational political discourse? (3) What social practices and tech can be built to establish, improve and grow these mechanisms at scale? Project Ratio is the work of Duncan J. Watts and David Rothschild of Microsoft Research. Early project phases focus on building systems for data collection and experimentation.


Project Ariel

A deep foundation for climate stability

The Dalio Foundation and filmmakers Paul Dalio and Kristina Nikolova want to understand how to invest in and make narrative media that get beyond the polarities of the climate change debate, in order to establish a deep foundation for climate stability within our culture’s collective psyche. We're helping them map the current state of that psyche—and media's role in shaping it—with regard to climate change and, more fundamentally, alienation from nature. Our approach blends media analysis, social listening, social network analysis, cultural analysis and surveys, with input from experts in climate science, and its communication, decision science, and related fields. Project outputs will shape media projects, currently in development, and the design of the Foundation’s climate program and media investment strategy.