CEO of WHITE SWAN
Miranda Mapleton started White Swan in 2016—a reg-istered charity with a mission to improve the health of society using technology and analytics, to accelerate diagnosis and improve the effectiveness of treatment. Miranda’s vision, drive, and ability to engage others and create clarity from ambiguity have been key to becoming the global organization it is today, powered by over 130 volunteers in addition to its employees, Trustees, and Clinical Advisory Board.
Not hailing from a technological back-ground, Miranda was always curious to know the possibilities of how technol-ogy could shape and improve the fu-ture. And, in turn, how it could change and save lives. Within two months of its inception, White Swan had attracted over 30 volunteers, convincing people to give up their time for free to serve those in need, a big step for anyone in today’s world. Starting from a com-pletely blank sheet of paper, Miranda enjoyed setting the vision and strategy for the organization.
The only ‘given’ was to “utilize Black Swan’s technology for good.” “The possibilities were endless. And no other organization is doing the type of work White Swan is.
At every step along the journey we have faced endless potential paths and opportunities, so the ability to create clarity from ambiguity and set us on a clear path for the future has been essential.”
Miranda is a big advocate of women in leadership positions. She has led, guid-ed and mentored many women in the previous organizations she has worked with, such as PepsiCo and Mars, and currently continues to do so with White Swan. Her advice to everyone is to em-brace challenges outside of their com-fort zone and say ‘yes’ to a new chal-lenge. “If you’re a fast learner and open to the input of others, then you’ll learn, grow, and succeed! Ask for help – it’s surprising how many people want to help if you just ask. People love shar-ing their wisdom, making connections and feeling as though they have made a difference to someone else,” says Mi-randa. “If you’re unsure, ask. Pay for-ward too, be generous with your advice and help. Be your best self – people join you on your journey because they buy into you – your values and behaviors. Everyone loves a mission, but it’s your passion and energy that attracts the best people to join you.” Armed with these qualities, Miranda has been lead-ing the organisation to new heights.
White Swan was inspired by the sto-ry of Julie King, sister to Steve King (CEO and founder of Black Swan Data Ltd). Julie had been seriously ill and wheelchair-bound for many years with an undiagnosed condition. Steve and his team used Black Swan’s technology to analyze millions of social conversa-tions to spot patterns and find out what was wrong with Julie. They identified two rare conditions she hadn’t been tested for and, armed with this new in-formation, went to her doctors, and it turned out she had one of them. Now on the correct medication, she’s out of her wheelchair and leading a normal life again. She is even completing tri-athlons! Steve and Miranda had been personal and professional friends for many years. Naturally, he asked some-one he trusted to create White Swan as a ‘not for profit’ offshoot of Black Swan. Inspired by Julie’s story, White Swan’s mission is to improve the health of society using technology and analyt-ics – accelerate diagnosis and improve the effectiveness of treatment.
“We believe competition is healthy when it drives us to improve and de-liver better solutions for the people of the world. White Swan is unique in its leading-edge proprietary technolo-gy and data science combination with charity status and mission. No other or-ganization in the world is as advanced as us in our utilization of social data to support the acceleration of diagnosis,” says Miranda. White Swan has a spe-cialist capability in prediction and pat-tern recognition, combining hundreds of data sources and billions of online conversations to identify signals in the data, and show how these signals can be interpreted to derive unbiased pa-tient insight, supporting organizations’ strategies and decisions.
White Swan combines two key ingre-dients to help solve problems for their partners: Firstly, they leverage Black Swan’s proprietary technology – which uses natural language processing (ex-tracting meaning from text), machine learning techniques (training up the technology to tackle specific ques-tions), and other approaches to making sense out of complex data sets. Secondly, White Swan’s brilliant people use ground-breaking solutions to complex problems, including cutting-edge data science and their proprietary taxon-omy, combined with expertise across insights, marketing, computer science, health, and environmental science fields.
“We work with a wide variety of or-ganizations – both private and public sector – across the spectrum of health areas, from cardiology, arthritis, demen-tia, mental health to rare diseases. Ex-amples of our work include: Working with the Royal Marsden NHS Founda-tion, to further improve their already world-leading cancer care patient ex-perience,” adds Miranda. According to the Chief Nurse at the Royal Marsden NHS Trust, “We want to be at the fore-front of patient care, so I was genuinely excited when I read the report – this has the potential to have a significant positive impact on patient experience at The Royal Marsden.”
Their current major focus is on acceler-ating the path to diagnosis for the c500 million people worldwide suffering long term undiagnosed, with a propri-etary technology called Million Minds, which automates the process Steve used to help his sister. Million Minds is a unique and innovative app that com-bines collective patient experience with enhanced symptom and lifestyle track-ing, powered by proprietary technology and leading-edge data science models, to help those suffering undiagnosed to help themselves and their doctors find a diagnosis. “Our dataset already in-cludes 200 million online social conver-sations (but we have limitless access), which we can mine to deliver insights into conditions and symptoms, from the earliest signs to treatment experi-ences,” explains Miranda.
“White Swan is different to most or-ganisations CEO magazine feature because it is a charity. The vast major-ity of man hours spent achieving our mission are given freely by volunteers. It takes very special people-orientated leadership to get all of these people working, virtually, worldwide, without payment, towards our mission. We are hugely grateful to every one of them for their efforts to help us improve the health of society using our proprietary technology and analytics capability”.