Mission: New Power for Progressive Politics
Democracy Labs is a hub for ongoing technology and creative innovation that serves progressive campaigns and organizations at the national, state, and local levels.
Our focus is on long term, sustainable and affordable solutions. An approach that is longer than an election cycle, and isn’t purely dependant on volunteers, can enable more qualified candidates to run for office and for more issue groups to bring about positive social change.
Democracy Labs is a project of the Tides Advocacy Fund.
We start by identifying the key needs that could have the biggest impact on the most races. We hold workshops that bring together groups of experienced political professionals, technologists, creatives and activists. Small multi-disciplinary teams focus on the needs identified and evaluate possible solutions.
DemLabs does not develop software nor create media content. We look for existing solutions that might already exist in the commercial sector or are available from new political-tech startups. This lowers the costs and the long time cycles needed to develop new software. We test these solutions with partners on both advocacy campaigns and races for elected office. They’re evaluated on this criteria:
Impact How much difference could this solution make to a campaign given all the other tasks and expenses that a candidate or group has to deal with?
Cost-effectiveness How much impact can do they make for the cost incurred? How does it compare with other approaches?
Scalability Can the solution be ramped up to support hundreds of races and campaigns?
Complexity How easy is to understand and deploy? Could a team without much technical expertise use it?
Lead Time How long will it take to roll out and implement?
To make any impact, the tools need to get to the front lines quickly and efficiently. DemLabs offers a distribution channel which streamlines the flow of technology and innovation to the progressive front lines while building a robust ecosystem that can continually innovate. Here’s how everyone benefits:
Candidates & groups Affordable new, tested solutions to run smarter campaigns
Consultants & campaign advisors New tools that they can provide their clients along with their own value added services.
PACs & political parties Ability to support more candidates at lower costs.
Technology & media vendors Lower sales costs and broader reach to progressive candidates and groups. More feedback on how their products and services can be improved.
Donnie Fowler has over twenty years experience in Silicon Valley, the public sector and national politics. He has a perfect 3-0 record leading battleground states for Bill Clinton, John Kerry, and Barack Obama. Donnie has worked on-the-ground in seventeen states and for eight presidential campaigns. He has served in the Clinton White House as a congressional liaison, at Silicon Valley’s TechNet, and as a presidential appointee and lawyer at the Federal Communications Commission. Donnies currently leads Tech4America, a civic tech project and formerly was the VP of business development PredPol.
Deepak Puri is a veteran of Silicon Valley and was part of the early teams at Oracle, Netscape and VMware. Deepak specializes in identifying the right technology to solve business needs. He has extensive experience in structuring multi-party licensing deals and building the distribution channels needed to get them to customers. He now applies his professional skills to deliver the right technology solutions and media content to progressive campaigns and groups. Deepak also serves on the board of the Tides Foundation and volunteers with Ashoka, NetHope and Taproot.
Shareen Punian comes from the world of strategy and finance with a career as an investment analyst, manager and advisor. Currently, Shareen has been involved in social impact investing and working to accelerate the change towards gender equity. She is co-founder of GenderEquityNow.org and is on the board of The Advocacy Fund (Tides).