Synanim was initially developed in 2003.
Synanim was designed to enable any group, regardless of disparity or size, to develop a consensus and to build new understanding.
Most social technologies only offer users a means to express whether an idea is good or bad, thumbs up or thumbs down. This tends to reward extreme views.
The Synanim process utilizes “social constructionism,” which is the term used to describe how “various facets of social reality—such as concepts, beliefs, norms, and values—are formed through continuous interactions and negotiations among society's members, instead of the pure objective observation of physical reality” (from Wikipedia).
We believe that humanity is at a perilous moment as we face challenges brought on by climate change, artificial intelligence, and economic stagnation. We need more than clear, reliable facts to resolve problems. We also need a shared understanding of the meaning and implications of facts. We need shared values and the mutual respect this brings.
Synanim removes negative social influence. It guides groups to embrace the best from each participant, enabling only the most positive and helpful social constructions.
Synanim has been used in a variety of ways. Here are some leading examples:
Peace Not Poverty
Peace Not Poverty brought together over thirteen thousand people in 2005 to create a document against the Iraq War and to identify a leader to present it, On April 4, Kelley Ogden read the document at the Beyond Iraq interfaith service at Riverside Church in New York City.
Institute for Women's Policy Research
"Synanim helped us gather ideas and prioritize them while working with hundreds of participants from many walks of life. We brought new and innovative contributions into our work, and finetuned our own perspectives, within a matter of hours. What a fabulous tool!"
--Amy Caiazza, Ph.D., Director
Center for Nonviolent Communication
The Center used Synanim to create a mission statement, engaging nearly 200 stakeholders from around the world. Inspired by this experience, Board member and Brazilian political activist, Dominic Barter sought to use Synanim to enable constituents to draft legislation, which Brazilian law allows. He had the support of a Brazilian Senator but the project was abandoned when the Bolsonaro government was elected in 2018.