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Advancing the Best Ideas and People in the Public Service

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - Apolitical (Advancing the Best Ideas and People in the Public Service)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2017-07-31

Apolitical is a global peer-to-peer platform for government, created to help public servants around the world quickly find the ideas, experts and partners they need to solve the complex, urgent challenges facing societies everywhere - from inequality, climate change and women’s empowerment to cyber security, urbanisation and radicalisation. Already used by public servants in more than 90 countries, Apolitical has institutional customers including the UK Government, the UAE Government and Unicef. It was recently named one of the world’s 100 most disruptive companies in 2017, by Disrupt100. James Quinault of the UK Cabinet Office calls Apolitical “Tinder for Public Service”.

When the founders started working on Apolitical in 2015 they thought it was crazy that a traveller could find out about lumps in a mattress on the other side of the world, but a public servant couldn’t easily find out about known ‘lumps’ in a policy – one that might impact millions of people and cost millions in taxpayer money. Peer-to-peer platforms had disrupted almost every sector but not government, perhaps the most important of all in terms of impact on society. The average OECD country government controls about 40% of GDP, that’s around $30 trillion globally. Yet the policies that govern the allocation of these vast sums are often made haphazardly, without looking around the world to see what’s worked and what’s failed – at great cost to society.

Apolitical is a first of its kind platform and in addition to our fast-growing membership and customers, we’ve partnered with organisations like The World Bank and Chatham House, putting us on track to build what we believe could be one of world’s most impactful companies and a multibillion dollar business. This is almost uniquely possible when serving government, given its scale and responsibility to society. In five years, our aim is for a million public servants to be using Apolitical to make better policies faster. We also want to improve the public’s perception of government by highlighting successes encouraging more young people to serve.

Objectives:

Objective 1: Market Assessment
Objective 2: Technological Feasibility
Objective 3: Business model Assessment
Objective 4: Risk Assessment
Objective 5: IP Assessment
Objective 6: Workplan for Phase 2
Objective 7: Business plan
We conducted a feasibility study involving hundreds of interviews with potential users (public servants and government providers) in 30 countries. Based on this feedback, refined our understanding of product-market fit and of key risks and their mitigation. We conducted an in-depth analysis of the market, including an updated analysis of the SoA. Currently there is no comparable platform solution on the market, and our indirect competitors don't directly meet the multi-faceted needs of public servants or government providers. We have studied the technological challenge and feasibility of the ‘global policy topics’ around which our platform is structured and evaluated our short term and medium-long term business model options. We had the assistance of IP experts to develop an IP-strategy and to confirm our freedom to operate. We made a reassessment of market needs and the regulatory pathways that best accommodates our development. Finally, we established a roadmap for further technological development and the commercial exploitation and have set up a workplan including work packages, deliverables, milestones, interdependencies, and Gantt chart for our Apolitical Phase2 project. We have summarised the results of our Feasibility study (Objectives 1-6) into a Business plan.
No other sector can function well unless government does. Government is the ‘platform’ for society, with outsized influence on the fairness and efficiency of any society. If government makes and implements better policy, everyone benefits. Apolitical works across all key global policy topics, with an enormous scope for impact. Already, after less than two years, issues we cover include: inclusive growth, data for impact, women’s empowerment, violence prevention, clean energy, safety and justice, health and ageing and technology frontiers. By showing the connections between policy issues we help public servants create more efficient policies. By connecting public servants to experts, we help them avoid failures and duplication. And by connecting them to innovative partners we help them find better, cheaper solutions. There is also an indirect benefit: by showcasing what’s working in government and the heroic people behind it, we help governments attract and retain talent.

By 2022 we want at least one million public servants around the world using Apolitical to get inspiration, better understand new challenges and due diligence policy decisions. In the average OECD country, government controls about 40% of GDP. That’s $16 trillion in the OECD and about $30 trillion extrapolated globally. To improve the efficiency of much of this spend requires institutional and structural reform. But not everything does. If just 1% of this spend could be spent 50% more effectively by doing more of what’s working, less of what isn’t work, and by avoiding duplication it would unlock $150 bn a year in cost saving or value creation. This is Apolitical’s aim: to unlock $150bn dollars a year of cost savings or value creation for countries around the world. To measure this we have built impact measurement into our reporting and designed systems to encourage the reporting of successes arising from using the platform.
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