About ISD


A secure and cohesive global society

Our work helps protect, foster and normalise a civic culture of freedom, openness and respect for the rights of others, without which there can be no durable peace and freedom.


To power real-world solutions to extremism and polarisation.

In innovating, trialling and scaling data-driven solutions across our ecosystem of unique influencer networks, city, government and private sector partnerships, we aim to mount a soft power strategy, proportional in influence and impact to the ever-more sophisticated, cross-border polarisation and recruitment machineries of state and non-state actors promulgating hate, division and conflict.

What is Extremism?

Extremism is the advocacy of a system of belief that posits the superiority and dominance of one ‘in-group’ over all ‘out-groups’, propagating a dehumanising ‘othering’ mind-set that is antithetical to the universal application of Human Rights. Extremist groups advocate, through explicit and more subtle means, a systemic change in society that reflects their world view.

Our belief
We believe it is the task of every generation to challenge such divisive, fascistic movements and to invest in the ongoing edification of open, democratic, and free civic culture, without which there can be no lasting protection of the rights of others, no cohesion and no lasting peace.

Why We Do It

The escalating influence of extremist movements poses a systemic threat to a secure, free, cohesive and open society.

  • We’re facing a global crisis of polarisation, hate and extremism. The most visible aspects of this are the sharp spikes we see in hate crime and terrorism around the world.
  • But that is just the tip of the iceberg – beneath the waterline lie the orchestrated and coordinated efforts of extremist groups and their ever more sophisticated propaganda machineries that seek to sow hate and to divide.
  • Fascistic, totalitarian movements are not new. But we face a dangerous moment in history with a perfect storm in hybrid threats brewing. The digital era has just hypercharged this problem – giving small numbers of committed bad actors, the means to spread their noxious ideologies further and faster than ever before.
  • The result is not just the spike in violence we see (terrorism or hate crime), but the rise in cumulative and ‘normalising’ extremism and polarisation.
  • If left unchecked, this poses a systemic threat to democratic civic culture without which there can be no durable freedom, cohesion and peace.

How We Do It

ISD is uniquely equipped to bridge research, thought leadership, policy and grass-roots programme delivery, and to distribute innovative, data-driven models at scale.

  • We work collaboratively to equip individuals, communities, cities, governments and institutions with the insights, skills and tools to challenge the spread of extremist ideologies.
  • We combine cutting edge data analysis and policy advisory support to governments, cities and international organisations, with the empowerment of youth and community influencers through innovative communications and technology tools, and the inoculation of the next generation through educational programming.
  • In this way, ISD is measurably impacting the tide of polarisation and extremism through its ‘full-stack’ approach.