ReliablyME Character Credential
One-line solution summary:
A commitments-based SMS nudging platform that empowers users with a character credential based on evidence of their experiential learning.
Pitch your solution.
We are helping people without Internet connectivity and sufficient formal credentials to be recognized for their authentic self and social worth in order to gain equitable access to education, employment, housing, credit, insurance, and social groups.
ReliablyME empowers them with the ability to register their commitments via SMS instant messaging using their feature phone to earn digital completion badges from reliant people and organizations that acknowledge the nature of their experiential learning. Hiring employers can adjudicate an objective, evidence-based digital credential that attests to the candidate's reliability, punctuality, personal integrity, and accountability for relevant soft and hard skills.
If scaled globally, everyone will have equal access to technology that empowers them to gain equitable (unbiased) access to opportunities anywhere by being able to present objective evidence of their lifelong experiential learning and good character.
Film your elevator pitch.
What specific problem are you solving?
We are empowering the most marginalized communities with technology that gives them equitable access to opportunities based on objective evidence of their lifelong learning and good character. Specifically, ReliablyME helps provide more equitable access to the digital workforce for all, including those lacking connectivity, those who are differently-abled, and those with undervalued talents.
Fifty percent of the global population does not have mobile Internet access. Even higher-income countries, such as in North America and Europe, leave about a quarter of their populations without mobile Internet. Mobile connectivity is important for informal, experiential learning that takes place outside the classroom and is particularly valuable for students with non-traditional backgrounds, unique profiles, and undervalued skills, impacting more than 16M people in the United States.
Fifty-seven million poorer students with minority backgrounds are often excluded from learning and access opportunities due to an under-resourced U.S. public education system creating an environment that perpetuates disparity in educational and economic opportunity through generations despite many having the potential to excel.
What is your solution?
ReliablyME is a technology platform that empowers people with a transferable character credential to demonstrate their authentic self and social worth and access opportunities from which they might otherwise be excluded.
Character credentials are earned by the people being served through programs provided by social and community organizations, governments, and educational systems.
- Individuals make digital commitments to each other and/or to their service organizations
- They receive “nudges” based upon commitments to remind and motivate behavior change
- They are awarded issuer (the relying party, such as a service organization) defined badges for their demonstrated behavior
- Earned badges and reliability related scores are accumulated in a private commitment portfolio that serves as their personal character credential
- Service organizations analyze data and behavioral results from a dashboard to report success and intervene if individuals are derailing
Who does your solution serve, and in what ways will the solution impact their lives?
We are currently engaged with a number of organizations that serve youth and other underserved populations, helping them to develop the skills and access opportunities that create pathways to prosperity. These include:
- Goodwill for staff soft skills development - Canada
- United Way for neighborhood workforce development - Canada
- Regent Park subsidized housing for youth empowerment - Canada
- Jobs For the Future for easing employment of ex-convicts - USA
- CEMEX for Junior Achievement - Mexico
- Dream A Dream for empowering youth from vulnerable backgrounds - India
- CRI for lifelong learning - France
- Catalyst 2030 identifying collaboration opportunities to empower people in support of the UN SDGs - a global community of collaborating social entrepreneurs
In each case, ReliablyME is being introduced to recognize people (mostly youth) for their experiential learning through extracurricular and uncompensated activities with a tool that helps them adopt behaviors conducive to prosperity and wellbeing.
Our technology platform enables local service delivery organizations to define commitments-based applications that earn participants badges. Badge policies specify the name and nature of each badge issued, as well as the processes and standards that need to be met in order for a badge to be awarded. Each application of ReliablyME is, therefore, unique to the implementing organization. In all cases, participating individuals are nudged to demonstrate a desirable behavior that is valued by the service provider and/or third parties to which the individuals are applying for opportunities.
ReliablyME is also used to affect systems change by connecting all ecosystem stakeholders via a blockchain-enabled data commons. For example, in Regent Park, at-risk youth are engaged in numerous personal development activities:
- volunteer to deliver warm meals to homeless people
- attend financial literacy workshops
- participate in a financial responsibility mentoring program
- access a technology lending library
- attend a digital skills development program
In each case, they can register their corresponding commitments via SMS text messaging on ReliablyME in order to build a commitment portfolio that demonstrates their ongoing commitment to contributing to the community and financial empowerment. It gives them an opportunity to demonstrate their reliability, punctuality, personal integrity, and accountability, as well as providing evidence of their dedication to become financially responsible. Individuals who show up to deliver meals on time, attend financial literacy sessions, follow through on their mentor's recommendations, and return borrowed technology to the library on time can use their ReliablyME commitment portfolio as an indicator of their creditworthiness that opens doors to financial inclusion.
When they use ReliablyME to develop additional community development applications that award additional badges to community members and empower them with evidence of their authentic self and social worth it can help them create new pathways to a prosperous career in applying and developing digital technologies.
Which dimension of the Digital Workforce Challenge does your solution most closely address?Provide more equitable access to the digital workforce for all, including those lacking connectivity, those who are differently abled, and those with undervalued talents
Explain how the problem you are addressing, the solution you have designed, and the population you are serving align with the Challenge.
We are working with the following communities that have limited mobile connectivity:
- Healing as One supporting at-risk youth in Regent Park subsidized housing (Toronto)
- Goodwill OLG in London, Canada to help affect behavior change of subsidized employees who have limited mobile connectivity
We are currently working with CEMEX in Mexico to support their (extracurricular) Junior Achievement mentoring program by ensuring that all program participants can have equal access to mentors regardless of the capacity of their mobile connectivity.
In what city, town, or region is your solution team headquartered?Toronto, ON, Canada
Is your solution already being implemented in one or more of the following ServiceNow locations (Australia/New Zealand, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Japan, the Netherlands, Singapore, the United Kingdom, United States), or are you planning to expand your solution to one or more of these countries?
My solution is already being implemented in one or more of these ServiceNow locations
What is your solution’s stage of development?Pilot: An organization deploying a tested product, service, or business model in at least one community.
Explain why you selected this stage of development for your solution.
We are now implementing the fourth release of our technology platform (see ReliablyME News Releases). The first version was developed for Goodwill. We subsequently ran a pilot with 16 users in Regent Park who volunteered to deliver meals to homeless people.
We have also conducted dozens of customized live demonstrations for a wide variety of use cases and are in the process of advancing these to pilot implementations worldwide.
Who is the Team Lead for your solution?
Do you qualify for and would you like to be considered for the ServiceNow US Racial Equity Prize? If you select Yes, explain how you are qualified for the prize in the additional question that appears.
No, I do not wish to be considered for this prize, even if ServiceNow is specifically interested in my solution/I do not qualify for this prize
Which of the following categories best describes your solution?A new application of an existing technology
What makes your solution innovative?
We have applied blockchain technologies to create a community-governed commitments-related data commons that is accessible to a broad demographic via SMS (and WhatsApp) instant messaging to empower them with a global, transferable character credential.
We apply a commitments-based nudging methodology that has been academically proven to be the most cost-effective means of changing behavior, to affect and track behavioral outcomes, a leading indicator for measuring social impact.
Our character credentialling utility is designed to integrate with and power existing applications that feature a commitment component in order to allow people to build the ReliablyME Commitment Portfolios via a variety of organizations and applications.
Describe the core technology that powers your solution.
ReliablyME integrates a series of advanced technologies to stimulate, track, and acknowledge behavior change by recording commitments made and fulfilled via instant messaging on a blockchain. Our application programming interface (API) allows for a wide variety of third-party integrations that empower users to build a cross-application and cross-organizational commitment portfolio.
We have also applied commitments-based nudging methods to affect behavior change.
Provide evidence that this technology works. Please cite your sources.
We have integrated a suite of commercial technologies to create a unique technology platform that can support a wide variety of applications:
- IBM Managed Hyperledger Fabric blockchain to facilitate a community-governed data commons.
- A Node.js microservice architecture running on AWS
- Segregated admin console and MongoDB databases for the platform and each customer
- Twilio Studio for the chatbot dialogue flow Twilio APIs for integration with SMS and WhatsApp
- React.js with Bootstrap for the web-based admin console and web application
- Our commitments-based nudging approach is based on published effectiveness research
Try a live demo: Message “Hi” to WhatsApp +16474904903 or text “Hi” via SMS to +18312906400 in the US or +16475609919 in Canada.
Please select the technologies currently used in your solution:
Does this technology introduce any risks? How are you addressing or mitigating these risks in your solution?
The biggest risk is possible infringements of privacy. We address this by:
- Storing anonymized commitments data on a community-governed blockchain
- Segregating commitments details to each badge issuer's dedicated server and database
- Collecting minimal personally identifiable data (only a mobile number is required)
Select the key characteristics of your target population.
In which countries do you currently operate?
In which countries will you be operating within the next year?
How many people does your solution currently serve? How many will it serve in one year? In five years?
We currently have 118 registered users from previous pilots and demonstrations who are mostly inactive as we do not encourage non-revenue-generating use of the platform.
Our objective is to reach 100,000 users through a variety of program delivery organizations and their funders within 12 months.
In 5 years, we believe we could empower 1 million users worldwide by partnering with national and international NGOs.
What are your impact goals for the next year and the next five years, and -- importantly -- how will you achieve them?
Our goal is to help at least 40% of all users accelerate their progress through their social/educational program and 70% to adopt more desirable behaviors. Within 5 years we also aim to ease 40% of applicants' access to education, employment, housing, credit, insurance, or social communities.
We are planning to partner with national and international NGOs to help them achieve their goals. We are currently engaging with the following organizations:
- United Way
- Catalyst 2030
- Junior Achievement
- Jobs For the Future
- Brookings Institute
- Dream a Dream
How are you measuring your progress toward your impact goals?
Our technology platform is designed to track the following progress indicators:
- Commitments made
- Commitments fulfilled
- Reliability Record
- Punctuality Record
- Confidence Factor
- Badges (types of commitments) earned/attempted
In the aggregate, these measures indicate behavior changes over time and serve as a leading indicator of impact.
Our initial pilot implementations revealed a dramatic reduction in tardiness among at-risk youth of a subsidized housing community.
What type of organization is your solution team?
For-profit, including B-Corp or similar models
How many people work on your solution team?
1 Full-time employee: Alex Todd, Founder and CEO
1 Full-time contractor: Partha Roy, Sr. Software Engineer
1 Part-time contractor: Reina Weirong, Software Engineer
How long have you been working on your solution?
Idea was born in 2017. ReliablyME was incorporated in 2018.
How are you and your team well-positioned to deliver this solution?
Alex Todd has 40 years of experience with emerging information technologies in leadership roles as both a corporate innovator and executive, and entrepreneur. His focus has been on leveraging technologies to optimize conditions for trust. This has helped him envision new possibilities for creating value from emerging technologies and to provide the team and market leadership required to identify and deliver on opportunities.
Partha Roy has 12 years of experience as a full stack engineer with a proven ability to develop all aspects of our software solution.
What is your approach to building a diverse, equitable, and inclusive leadership team?
We have had more than 100 volunteers supporting our venture over the past 4 years. The vast majority were new immigrants and visible minority students looking to gain Canadian work experience.
Our current core team consists of the caucasian male founder and an Indian engineer working remotely from India. Our part-time developer is a recent Chinese immigrant.
We do not have an explicit DEI policy, but our founding principle is to empower people to prosper.
Do you primarily provide products or services directly to individuals, to other organizations, or to the government?Organizations (B2B)
Why are you applying to the 2021 Digital Workforce Challenge?
The purpose of our submission is to leverage the funding and in-kind resources available to the challenge winner in order to establish strategic national and international partnerships that open doors to customer opportunities that demonstrate the feasibility, scalability, and traction of our innovative approach for reaching, engaging with, and empowering underserved communities with evidence of its social impact to prospective investors.
In which of the following areas do you most need partners or support?
Please provide an overview of your current activities in those locations.
Our first implementation partner was Goodwill in Ontario, Canada. They wanted to help their staff (subsidized employment for people with barriers to employment) to develop soft skills, such as communication, teamwork, leadership, and confidence by using ReliablyME to make promises to their managers about demonstrating desirable behaviors.
We ran a pilot with a youth organization, called Healing as One, in Regent Park (subsidized housing development) in Toronto, Canada. Youth volunteers used ReliablME via SMS text messaging to register commitments to deliver meals to homeless people.
Please explain in more detail here.
Our primary objective is to leverage strategic partnerships to accelerate access to customers. We seek the following kinds of partners:
- National and international NGOs
- National and global employers
- Foundations and Impact investors
- Impact measurement services providers
- Technology integration partners
- Application domain experts and developers
ReliablyME is a platform designed to easily create no-code instant messaging-based applications. Our current integrations include Twilio, WhatsApp, and a native web app, while our APIs can be used to integrate ReliablyME commitments tracking and recognition functionality into any third-party application.
What organizations would you like to partner with, and how would you like to partner with them?
Our ideal partners would include:
- National and international NGOs
- UNESCO - Global Education Coalition
- Brookings Institution
- JA Worldwide
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of America
- Jobs For the Future (JFF)
- Youth Employment Service (YES) South Africa
- Dream a Dream - India
- National and global employers
- US Department of Defence
- TATA Consulting
- Corporate Volunteering and Community Investors
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Strategic Partners
- Impact Investors and Grant Funders
- Skoll Foundation
- Mastercard Foundation
- Rockafeller Foundation
- Ford Foundation
- Omidyar Network
- Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
- Chan Zuckerberg Initiative
- McArthur Foundation
- John Hopkins Society
- United Way
- Impact measurement services providers
- The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) - IRIS+
- Social Value International
- Technology integration partners
- Alex Todd Founder and CEO, ReliablyME