Tiffiniy Cheng

Ashoka Fellow
United States
Fellow Since 2016

Citation

This profile was prepared when Tiffiniy Cheng was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2016.
The New Idea
Tiffiniy is pioneering a creative model for harnessing the immense power of the online community to change the political process in the U.S. Centered on building rapid-response campaign technology, Tiffiniy and her colleagues at Fight For the Future are showing how small teams can apply solutions to political gridlock so that the public voice is driving the debate. FTFF’s interventions are funny, provocative, of the moment, bold, and designed to create ‘aha!’ moments capable of igniting massive viral responses many orders of magnitude more effective than the web-enabled political engagement tactics employed till now. By designing and executing back-to-back campaigns that have engaged tens of millions of Americans over the last five years and won victories against all odds, they have proven that regular people can change the balance of power in ways never seen before. According to Ashoka Fellow Nicholas Reville, “it’s a model that works in a digital-native world and there’s nothing else like it, particularly for activating younger people.”

A central theme of Fight for the Future’s work is around protecting their lifeblood: an open, accessible, and private internet. By keeping vital technology open, accessible and private, individuals around the world can take part in true, bottom-up civic engagement. As Tiffiniy puts it, “we are trying to tackle structural, political and economic issues through the fights we take on, but also show the world how to win on these fights and how people can tackle these problems.”

Through these efforts, TIffiniy is empowering the grassroots with ability to easily and efficiently organize their members, through powerful tech-based reform. She and her colleagues have created a new and open playbook and codebase for civic engagement in the 21st century. By blazing a path of easy-to-use, low cost advocacy efforts for individual changemakers and the technology field – from Silicon Valley to non-profits alike – they are already seeing their model and tools being directly applied to other issue areas, like drug policy reform, mass incarceration, or trade justice.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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