What is Assembl?

Assembl is an online application that enables hundreds or even thousands of people to work together effectively on the definition of new ideas. The application supports the belief that with the proper conditions, people working together can think smarter than any one member of the group could alone. Traditional collective intelligence software tends to refine ideas from one person. Assembl is different. It focuses on co-building new ideas.

Try out our sandbox, here!


Capture ideas that get lost in a traditional forum

Assembl reorganizes the discussion so that no ideas get lost. When people feel like their ideas will be seen and valued you’ll be amazed at the great ideas they share and the outcomes you can achieve! The restructuring of the debate also allows people to really build on each other’s ideas – something that is key for creating collective intelligence.


Find the section that interests you

Because the discussion gets organized into a ‘table of ideas’, ideas that are of interest to you are easy to find. Click on the idea in the table of ideas, and instantly connect with all the messages related to the topic. Jump in on the discussion and start replying to others!

Keep the discussion going with iterative cycles

One of the issues with large scale discussions is that eventually people stop checking them. Conversation stagnates as ideas get repeated and inevitably lost. Assembl sends out syntheses of the discussion periodically to keep the discussion going. These syntheses are peer-validated and help direct the flow of the discussion.

Plug in to existing communities

Do you have an existing community? Not to worry! We have developed APIs for social networks and corporate chat programs that will allow you to continue the discussion…. but in a new and improved way!

How does Assembl facilitate collective intelligence?

Unlike a traditional forum, Google Docs or a Facebook/LinkedIn group, Assembl uses three user roles to curate user’s ideas and content. These roles help alleviate some of the common problems participants experience in these traditional online discussions by ensuring people’s contributions don’t get lost amongst the comments. This valuation of comments helps drive a more productive, participatory discussion and facilitates true collective intelligence. Assembl is based on a methodology that organizes information so that it is easy to navigate, it builds consensus, and it produces a concrete deliverable. This methodology is structured around three key user roles:

  1. The Orchestrators – The orchestrators formulate what the discussion will center around. It could be any problem or topic that requires the contributions of a large group or people from many different backgrounds. The Orchestrators also set the pace for the discussion and decide upon the type of final product that will be produced e.g. a policy report, white paper, proposal, brochure, book etc. as well as the constitution of the group participating (open, semi-open, closed; small, medium or large; with or without deadlines etc.). They can also source a core of knowledgeable participants that are deemed necessary for the group to be efficient and appealing for other participants to join.
  2. The Harvesters – The Harvesters are individuals who identify and extract the key ideas from each discussion thread. Discussion threads can happen within Assembl, can be imported from emails, or can be taken from web sources. These extracted ideas are placed into a visual map that can be easily navigated to determine key topics the discussion has covered and where a user would like to comment or jump in.
  3. The Wrappers – The Wrappers are individuals who create summaries of the key ideas and submit the syntheses to the group for rough consensus or line-by-line voting. Once the synthesis has been validated, the Orchestrator can launch a new cycle of debate.

Why do these roles matter?

For participants, one key thing these roles facilitate is the ability to get an overview of the discussion in very little time – no matter how long you have been away. The re-organization of the discussion also helps keep conversations on topic while still allowing for relevant sub-conversations to be started. It also avoids issues of comments getting lost in threads and being restated multiple times, eliminating the inefficiency of traditional forum threads and increasing participants’ sense of worth in the discussion. For organizations, Assembl helps divide by a factor of 10 (when compared to a manual process) the time required to get the best out of the collective intelligence effort.