Omdena

Omdena is a global platform where AI experts, engaged citizens and aspiring data scientists from diverse backgrounds collaborate to build AI-based solutions to humanity’s toughest problems.
We started with a question: Can a group of enthusiasts, who have never met each other and are located all over the globe, come together to collaborate and solve the big problems of society?
The answer is a resounding “yes.” Since our launch in the summer of 2019 over 700 AI enthusiasts and experts from more than 70 countries have come together to build solutions to 14 real-world problems related to the most significant issues on the planet.


In partnership with mission-driven organizations, including the United Nations and NGOs around the world, Omdena hosts eight-week AI challenges focusing on the 17 Global Goals established by the UN. Our challenges deliver deployable solutions using real-world data to problems that have included:
● Understanding the impact of climate events on refugee populations in Somalia
● Providing renewable energy to Nigerian communities without access to power
● Identifying safe routes through cities in India to avoid sexual harassment
● Detecting forest fire outbreaks to avoid wildfires in Brazil


We start with inclusion.
Not everyone needs to be an expert in AI, nor do they need to have a degree from a world-class university, to do good work that has an impact. We embrace those who’ve pursued an online education. Citizens whose lives are affected by the problem to be addressed bring an on-the-ground perspective that can ’ t be replicated in a lab. Among the most motivated team members are those just starting out with no clear path to a job in the field. Our teams are full of those with aspirations to make the world a better place and the determination to find a way to do just that. When such diverse people come together to collaborate, the result is powerful.

"The most exciting part about my experience was working with people from diverse backgrounds and different parts of the world. The diversity in the community created a collaborative culture which offered very unique ideas, perspectives and a wide range of solutions, where we were all learned from each other.” — Phenyo Phemelo Moletsane, Omdena Collaborator, South Africa

This collaborative approach leads to better AI. In the world of machine learning, it's not the most sophisticated algorithm or the most educated team that leads to the best solution, but rather the quantity of relevant usable data. A collaborative community will find creative ways to get around data roadblocks by seeking out and generating data from alternative sources. Our teams are so effective, and come up with solutions that traditional AI efforts would not, because of the diverse skill sets, perspectives and life experiences that the collaborators bring. The community drives the collaboration.
Our approach is unique in AI development. The Omdena platform provides a framework for the community to self-organize. With no top-down management, development is driven by a collective decision process that fosters innovation and stimulates creativity. Team members mentor and guide each other through a defined growth path.

The entire process, from refining the problem statement to deployment of the solution, is transparent and open for participation by everyone in the community.

‘What seems chaos at first, one starts to appreciate the experience and realize the relevance of working in self-organizing environment, where crucial conclusions and optimal solutions eventually emerge as winners." — Vjeko Hofman, Omdena Collaborator, Poland Our impact is measured in problem solvers as well as problems solved.

We believe the best way to become a data scientist is to do data science. Not only do Omdena challenge participants get invaluable hands-on experience in AI and machine learning, we support their efforts to build a career in AI. We provide resume-building certifications, encourage collaborators to write case studies and articles about their challenge experiences, and offer speaking opportunities at AI conferences. Regardless of their background, through their Omdena challenge experiences our collaborators become AI practitioners. Because our communities are inherently diverse, Omdena is contributing to the democratization of AI with each collaborator who participates.

As part of the community themselves, our partners are engaged with our collaborators as we refine the problem statement, seek out data and assess AI models. Since the entire process is transparent, our partners not only have a deployable solution and data at the end of an Omdena challenge, they have an understanding of how we collectively got to that solution.
“The collaborative approach of Omdena is taking innovation to a whole new level with the idea of leveraging technology to bring in people with different capabilities and work on a problem. The driving force behind this approach is the accelerated learning through collaborative spirit, mentoring and spot-on guidance.” — Sauray Suman, UN World Food Programme


Learn more at Omdena.com

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