Preparing Civil Society for the Fourth Industrial Revolution

The Preparing Civil Society for the Fourth Industrial Revolution Initiative (CS4IR) is a multi-stakeholder platform to accelerate responsible technology practice and future readiness of civil society—through cross-sector learning, collaboration and investment. As part of its multi-stakeholder platform, the World Economic Forum is partnering with civil society, companies, philanthropy and other stakeholders to investigate shared challenge areas and accelerate systems change interventions needed to influence civil society readiness and impact in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

The CS4IR value proposition includes: 

  • Providing a broader multi-stakeholder platform for discussion and cross-sector learning across ongoing expert civil society networks on innovation and technology

  • Connecting academia, philanthropy and the private sector with a network of 200 regional and global expert civil society leaders in innovation, digital and emerging technologies

  • Helping to create, contextualize and disseminate critical strategic intelligence on digital and emerging technology for broader understanding and guidance for civil society organisations

  • Building evidence for change through both accelerating existing initiatives and co-creating multi-stakeholder “prototypes” for collective action and evidence aimed to scale civil society learning and innovation

The initiative will be launching global working groups over the course of 2019-2020. Working group topics and lead organisations include:

Theme 1: Digital Nonprofit Strategy and Processes

Responsible Digital Transformation for Social Impact: Exploring cross-sector strategy synergies in operationalizing RDT: building culture, assessing skills, and measuring intervention impact (Co-leads: Louise James, Accenture Development Partnerships; Lauren Woodman, NetHope)

Minimising Tradeoffs for Technology for Good Projects: Building long term strategies and models for social sector technology partnerships in order to minimise tradeoffs in high impact, large scale tech for good projects (Co-leads: Sonja Betschart, WeRobotics; Rhodri Davies, Charities Aid Foundation; Mark Latonero, Data and Society; Buffy Price, Element AI; Linda Raftree, MERL Tech)

Theme 2: Protecting Vulnerable Populations from the Fourth Industrial Revolution Harms

Group Data and Human Rights: Developing case studies of evidence of group data vulnerabilities and implications of algorithmic grouping, towards rationale for reform in policy and practice (Co-leads: Stuart Campo, Centre for Humanitarian Data; Nathaniel Raymond, Yale University; Linnet Taylor, Tilburg University)

Mobilising and Inspiring Action with Technology: Exploring how a changing digital public sphere impacts advocacy and mobilisation strategies for organisations promoting social activism and advocacy for global public goods (Co-leads: Nighat Dad, Digital Rights Foundation; Michael Jarvis, TAI; Sam Gregory, WITNESS; Alexa Koenig, UC Berkeley; Glen Tarman, Thompson Reuters Foundation; Wolfgang Jamann, International Civil Society Centre)

Practical Digital Security Support for Civil Society: Accelerating learning and collaboration among platform companies facilitated by civil society in developing digital security support for at-risk populations and engaging civil society (Co-leads: Seamus Tuohy, Human Rights Watch; Daniel Bedoya, Access Now; Harlo Holmes, Freedom of the Press Foundation)

Theme 3: Civil Society Resourcing and Systems Change

Future of Nonprofit Work and Talent: Identifying evidence for alternative approaches to workforce development from civil society and accelerating technology talent pipelines (Co-leads: Melissa Huerta, Mozilla Foundation; Jochai Ben-Avie, Mozilla; Chris Worman, TechSoup)

Future of Civil Society: Developing shared understanding of future threats of the 4IR and other megatrends and creating pathways for more resilient societies through thriving civil societies (Co-leads: Aarathi Krishnan, IFRC; Kathy Peach, Nesta; Chris Worman, TechSoup; Nanjira Sambuli, World Wide Web Foundation)

For more information and to get involved, please contact David Sangokoya, Project Lead, Society and Innovation, at 


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