Unleashing the Innate Goodness of People


We know people are basically good. With the right tools allowing us to collaborate at a large scale, we can redesign society so we are all able to experience and share that goodness together.


Inclusion.  Care.  Growth.  Happiness.  Transparency.  Fun.


We want to live in a happy, creative, peaceful, and exciting society that we thoughtfully build together. Goodly creates, demonstrates, and shares the cooperative tools humans need to create such a world.


We share our plans openly so that all of us understand the concrete steps we can take to build a better future. Each project listed on the GoodlyLabs website includes a progress bar reporting its status and a page at the Open Science Framework allowing researchers to join our efforts. We invite anyone to participate in our work  – as a volunteer, research collaborator, sponsor, or social media fan.

Strategic Plan: The Next 5 Years

The world is experiencing a painful but necessary disillusionment as people are losing faith in humanity’s ability to work together and improve our world. We don’t trust our governments. We don’t trust our media. And increasingly, we don’t trust in university science or organized religion. All of these elite institutions are responding poorly to the popular disillusionment – asking people to “just trust us anyway,” or pointing the finger at some other elites they claim are even worse.

The GoodlyLabs’ response is different. Inspired in part by designers and engineers like Buckminster Fuller, we know that change comes when we create better ways of doing things, not when we fight against old, obsolete traditions. We intend to grow from a small band of early adopters to a worldwide mass community, demonstrating to everyone that internet users have the capacity to create a better society without waiting for the initiative or permission of traditional organizations.

Goodly’s approach to re-creating society is truly something new under the sun. Never before have humans had the mass information networks and cooperative technology needed to so effectively redesign society. But the opportunity to remake the world will seem impossible to those who are stuck believing they can only face their problems alone or through traditional channels. To bring as many people as possible into our future society, we will guide our growing community through a 3-stage learning process teaching us: to see ourselves as part of society, to act in concert, and to generate, refine, and enact complex plans.

1. Seeing Ourselves: No one can improve themselves if they don’t have the capacity to view and understand their own behavior. The same goes for society. That’s why the first stage of our 5-Year Plan will center on projects designed to help Goodly’s growing community observe society in action. Using our mass-collaborative research software, Goodly’s large volunteer research teams will be taking a close look at important aspects of society that already seem problematic. We will be investigating questions, including:  How can we develop a collective immunity to faulty information? What information in a news article is credible and what portions seem mistaken or poorly supported? How do different societies (in different places and at different times) promote different notions of race and gender? How do peoples’ grievances get expressed through protest, and how can governments and civil society address those grievances more peacefully and effectively?

Until very recently, the public could never have meaningfully participated in developing answers to these questions. And without Goodly’s software, no social scientist could have processed enough data to meaningfully answer them either. But working together using TextThresher, researchers and the public can finally see for themselves how humans are behaving, and how we might change. In another set of Stage 1 projects – drawing on partner technology and Goodly’s expertise in social psychology – we will demonstrate how human communities can identify the “normal” cultural practices that many individuals feel obligated to perform even though very few us actually like them. Through such projects, GoodlyLabs will offer a mirror to society, empowering us to collectively see how we are creating our social worlds, and reflect more clearly about those aspects we might wish to change.


2. Demonstrating Our Ability to Act and Change: Once we can see ourselves and understand the ways we have been thoughtlessly constructing a social world that is less than ideal, many of us will feel an urge to start rebuilding together. But that is not easy to do if we don’t know how we can act in concert. In Stage 2, the Goodly community will demonstrate to itself how its members can act, in groups large and small, to improve society. A project called GoodlyAdvice will gather the community’s collective wisdom into a smartphone app that assists individuals in major life decisions. Another project will develop ‘interactive recipes’ helping groups of 2 or 3 people move through tense or difficult situations. And another will focus on interventions organizations can make to acknowledge and heal broader social inequities that manifest within their organizations.  All of these projects will demonstrate how we can improve our daily lives right now by taking actions informed by the knowledge we are generating together.

Stage 2 will culminate in an exciting mass-demonstration of our collective capacity. Just as people “do the wave” in sports arenas, Goodly will organize, publicize, and film a giant, collective, “GlobalWave,” where people from around the world come into the streets and demonstrate to ourselves that we can act in concert as a global community. This historic event will require very little from individual participants, but deeply reshape the consciousness of humanity as we prove to ourselves – for the first time – that properly used internet technologies give us the capacity to act in concert without needing the initiative or permission of our governments or traditional institutions. We can do what we want without needing to change the old way of doing things.


3. Rebuilding Society with Confidence: Stage 1 and 2 activities will continue into Stage 3, increasing the public’s confidence that we can understand the social world and change it through well-researched, carefully coordinated actions. But Stage 3 will further accelerate humans’ capacity for collective change, because Goodly will openly demonstrate and deploy its SamePage technology. SamePage is a set of online collective decision-making tools that communities large and small will be able to use to set priorities, research problem solutions, and deliberate about tradeoffs and courses of action.

Currently, society-level decisions occur within government deliberative bodies like legislatures, committees, and bureaucratic panels, which were all designed for 17th century communications technology.  In Stage 3, after years of research and development that have already begun, GoodlyLabs will demonstrate its 21st century democratic technology, SamePage. The software is vastly more inclusive, transparent, and free from corruption, and produces vastly better outcomes for the individuals and communities who use it. At this stage and beyond, Goodly’s social and democratic technologies will be increasingly used by organizations, cities, states, and even countries.


Community Growth: Over the next five years, as we move through these stages of activity, the Goodly community will increase in size, traction, and momentum. To support our projects with a growing base of volunteers and donors, we will communicate using both social and traditional media. In addition to standard outreach campaigns, we will seek partnerships with video production and distribution companies to ensure that our work, findings, process, mission, and values are accessible in the world’s most popular and viral medium.

As we grow, we will also federate our governance and operations through local and regional franchises. This way, Goodly’s tools and approaches will be widely available to any community seeking to consciously improve individual and collective welfare. It will also ensure that collective power and responsibility reside where they should: at the most local level that is practical for solving a given challenge.

To learn more about participating in Goodly’s strategic planning, see our ‘Join Us’ page and consider applying to serve on our Board of Directors.