Kickstarting a New Vision of What it Means to Be Human

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Recently, as protracted revolutions, natural disasters, and erupting riots push societies to their breaking points, it’s only fitting that a new iPad application is being designed with the goal of reimagining the goals of the human race. Anna Stillwell and Erica Ilves, both consultants in Dubai, have decided to start a forum via their app, The Human Project, for collectively addressing the challenges facing our species.

The idea may sound both overly simple and exceedingly ambitious; it might seem difficult for any single forum to create meaningful dialogue about the world’s problems without sowing chaos. Yet the project has a basic approach: it aims to itemize problems, identify key players involved in creating solutions, create a new vision of where we are headed, and engage its audience in debate, all via an app.

“Many thought leaders discuss ‘global’ issues, but what is ‘global’ is not well defined," says founder Stillwell. "Everyone says that their issue is most important. Yet how do they know? Our goal, as previous management consultants, was to create a priority list. And to launch a vision of where we are moving forward on these issues, based upon three years of research. We have to debate where we’re headed as a species.” 

To start the process, The Human Project sought funding on Kickstarter, a U.S.-based platform that allows creators to fund projects through crowd-based donations. Once a goal amount is set for the idea, it’s funded only if donations reach the target. Fortunately for The Human Project, which launched on Kickstarter on August 24, the iPad app met its targeted goal of US $25,000 in only 4 days.

The success of an ambitious endeavor like The Human Project on Kickstarter proves that an app based outside the U.S. can garner funding from stakeholders around the world. Yet, Stillwell confesses, she had the American bank account and credit card that Kickstarter requires. For startups in Dubai and the rest of MENA generally, a more appropriate choice might be a platform like Sprowd, a crowdfunding site that will fund startups anywhere in the world once it launches. 

With their unexpected success, Stillwell and Ilves have broadened their vision, now aiming for $50,000 to create Android and iPhone apps and an HTML5 optimized version for web. Their aim is to make the project- which could easily be pigeonholed as too elite- more accessible. They are also hoping to defer to the crowd when it comes to creating a valuable, lasting discussion.

“We’re creating the framework, but we’re hoping that better thinkers can come along and embarrass us. We are simply pushing off the conversation.”

Learn more about The Human Project on Kickstarter here.

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