On April 3, The Rockefeller Foundation and the Institute for the Future (IFTF) will join forces with people across the globe and ask them to help solve global poverty through an interactive online game. The game, dubbed Catalysts for Change, is based on the premise that collaboration on a global scale can yield unique insights into ways to create a more prosperous, equitable future. These insights will trigger innovations that will make a significant difference in the lives of poor or vulnerable communities. The game can be played online at game.catalyze4change.org.
Around the world, hundreds of millions of people are looking for ways out of poverty. While progress has been made, over 1.2 billion poor or vulnerable people around the world are still living in extreme poverty.
“The public, private and social sectors have worked to tackle poverty, vulnerability and exclusion for years,” said Dr. Judith Rodin, president of The Rockefeller Foundation. “While the lives of countless people and communities have been transformed as a result, the persistent level of poverty and vulnerability that remains requires new and innovative thinking. Using technology to engage a new set of actors from all over the world will provide unique perspectives, allowing us to identify new ways to solve problems and address poverty at its root causes.”
To close this gap, The Rockefeller Foundation has joined forces with IFTF to test a new way of solving global problems and developing solutions. Using cutting-edge gaming principles and collaboration techniques, Catalysts for Change creates an opportunity for people everywhere to contribute their unique perspectives. Armed with these insights, our global community will be better equipped to address the root causes of poverty.
“Gaming has come a long way – from the days when we sat around collecting points for Pac-Man to helping solve global poverty,” said Jane McGonigal, Chief Creative Officer at SuperBetter Labs and designer of the IFTF Catalysts for Change gaming platform. “Games are powerful tools for breaking through the limits of our thinking. They use competition to build cooperation and as games spread across the Internet, they provide a great platform for linking ideas around the world for a common purpose.”
Catalysts for Change will be played over a 48-hour span. It will draw players from around the world, with the goal to identify thousands of new paths out of poverty with hundreds of players from all walks of life. The game itself will leverage simple 140-character messages to play cards. Each card will capture an idea, and participants will build on one another’s ideas. By building on the cards, players will start chain reactions of innovations and solutions that are more than the sum of their parts.
On April 3, Dr. Rodin will kick off the game and initiate a conversation with leaders in international philanthropy, development, technology, design, and social innovation. Building from the real-time experiment of the Catalysts for Change game, the Bay Area forum will focus on imagining innovative ways to catalyze positive change in the lives of poor or vulnerable people throughout the world.
Ideas generated during the game and forum will be featured in an online game blog that will build on an interactive online map already offering more than six-hundred examples of innovative approaches to the issues that poor communities around the world face.
The game will offer celebrity awards that highlight different kinds of catalysts for change. For example, Jane McGonigal herself will select the card or chain that best uses game principles to identify concrete ideas that transform the landscape of poverty.
But as Marina Gorbis, IFTF’s Executive Director points out, “The real epic win, to channel Jane, will be the future we create together and the solutions we gather to help solve global poverty.”
About the Institute for the Future
The Institute for the Future (IFTF) is an independent, nonprofit strategic research group with more than 40 years of forecasting experience. The core of its work is identifying emerging trends and discontinuities that will transform global society and the global marketplace. IFTF’s research spans a broad territory of deeply transformative trends, from health and health care to technology, the workplace, and human identity. The Institute for the Future is located in Palo Alto, California.
About The Rockefeller Foundation
The Rockefeller Foundation’s mission to promote the well-being of people throughout the world has remained unchanged since its founding in 1913. Today, that mission is applied to an era of rapid globalization. Our vision is that this century will be one in which globalization’s benefits are more widely shared and its challenges are more easily weathered. To realize this vision, the Foundation seeks to achieve two fundamental goals in our work. First, we seek to build resilience that enhances individual, community and institutional capacity to survive, adapt, and grow in the face of acute crises and chronic stresses. Second, we seek to promote growth with equity in which the poor and vulnerable have more access to opportunities that improve their lives. In order to achieve these goals, the Foundation constructs its work into time-bound initiatives that have defined objectives and strategies for impact. These initiatives address challenges that lie either within or at the intersections of five issue areas: basic survival safeguards, global health, environment and climate change, urbanization, and social and economic security.