Individuality matters.


Personalization is the watchword of the 21st century.

Across society more and more people are recognizing the value of human individuality, and coming to expect systems that are responsive to it. This recognition manifests in everything from the way we engage in commerce and entertainment, to the way we want to be treated as patients, students, and employees. It is even changing how we define success: For most people, it is more about personal fulfillment than how you compare to others in wealth, status, and power.

The realization that individuality matters helps explain the profound dissatisfaction we feel with our current systems. We want something more personal, but our industrial systems were built on the assumption of average and the process of standardization -- both, by definition, erase individuality. In a real sense, we are frustrated with our systems, not because they are broken, but because we expect them to do something they were never designed to do: be responsive to human individuality.

Fortunately, scientists and entrepreneurs have been laying the groundwork for a future where personalization defines our systems. Researchers are moving beyond average, leveraging a new science that has generated an unprecedented understanding of individuality. Innovators are moving beyond standardization, harnessing the mechanisms of personalization to change how we learn, work, and live. These advancements, coupled with a public appetite for change, have thrust us into an Age of Personalization; and while we may not fully appreciate the implications and consequences of this shift, the reality is that we are never going back.


Choosing the better path. 

Populace is a new type of social impact organization that blends the advocacy and thought leadership of a think-tank, the world-class research of a university lab, and the hands-on expertise of a design consultancy. Through a lens of rigorous optimism, we are working to ensure that the shift to personalization produces better outcomes for individuals and communities, that the gains are widely shared, and that the transition is smooth because we are prepared.

We believe that choosing the better path requires two important societal shifts: a public that understands what is possible, knows how to access it, and is willing to act; and a restructuring of our public systems to meet our rising expectations. Our work in Public Activation and our Personalization Lab are structured to facilitate these societal shifts.

Public Activation equips the public to determine the outcomes and values of our society in the Age of Personalization. We do this by socializing examples, creating cultural expectations, and empowering people to act.

Personalization Lab ensures that innovation in the public, private, and social sectors is grounded in the best research and practices by providing both national thought leadership and hands-on guidance and support; helping organizations and initiatives scale their solutions in ways that improve outcomes and contribute to transformative change.

We believe it is entirely within our power as a people to build a society that understands individuals—one that meets each person where they are and gives them what they need to realize their unique potential and live a fulfilling life. The goal of Populace is to make this vision a reality.