Urgent Evoke – Social Good Alternate Reality Game offers lessons learned. 30k missions in 3m.


Did you miss playing Season One of the World Bank’s Alternate Reality game, Urgent Evoke? Robert Hawkins, Senior Education Specialist at the World Bank and Executive Producer of the Urgent Evoke game, posted his reflections on the results recently – “The World Bank’s First Foray into Serious Gaming” – on the Educational Technology Debate website. The Urgent Evoke game was developed by the World Bank Institute (the learning and knowledge arm of the World Bank Group) under the direction of alternate reality pioneer and gamemeister Jane McGonigal. (If you haven’t seen Jane’s TED talk, take the time to watch. )

The lead team has posted the game Post Vita with each member offering the Top 10 What Went Right followed by Top 10 What Went Wrong (with solutions proposed).


We want to be as transparent as possible to help other social good games learn from our EVOKE experiences.

 What was the designers’ purpose for the game?
The goal of the social network game is to help empower young people all over the world, and especially young people in Africa, to come up with creative solutions to our most urgent social problems.
I especially appreciated the #5 What Went Right shared by Jane McGonigal–Multiple Win Levels. Adding that to tags. 
We designed multiple win levels. We correctly anticipated our pyramid of participation and calculated thresholds for engagement. We made it possible for casual players and lightweight players to meet a goal (e.g. founding member), and for active players to meet a goal (e.g. certification), alongside the most active players, who received heroic or legendary certification.
In Season 1, from March 3 to May 12, 2010, “more than 18,500 agents from over 150 countries worked together to successfully to complete more than 30,000 world-changing missions and quests.” And in the best spirit of participatory design, many of those agent players are helping to co-design the new and improved Season Two.
To get ready for Season Two, scroll through the game’s engaging storyline creatively told in a Graphic Novel – you’ll find 10 episodes covering Social Innovation, Food Security, Water Issues, Womens’ Rights, Indigenous Knowledge, Urban Resilience, Power, Crisis Networking, the Future of Money and the future of Evoke (episode 5 didn’t load for me).



Studio H in Bertie County, NC blends participatory design with early college high school in innovative, open source STEM curriculum

I first stumbled upon Project H because of an Airstream trailer and the Design Revolution Roadshow.
In addition to Airstreams and Roadshows, Project H combines several other passions of mine – participatory design for social change, design learning, early college high school, and a very global perspective. They describe their focus area as Design for K12 Education:

Project H believes that design solutions belong in the hands of the next generation. One of our key skill sets is building a human-centered process that collaboratively develops and implements curricular, material, and environmental solutions for K-12 public schools, youth-focused organizations, and educational agencies. Our focus on K-12 education is rooted in the belief that design is not just about products or beautiful spaces, but a way of thinking, and that this creative critical thinking is a valuable problem-solving skill to be learned at a young age…

 The roadshow ended in May, 2010 after 75 days visiting 35 schools to showcase humanitarian designs to the next generation of designers. A group of kindred spirits called Urban Re:Vision bought the Airstream and Project H founder Emily Pilloton and project architect Matthew Miller (that’s Matthew making water filters with the students) have settled in Bertie County, North Carolina to do design with students in the School of Agriscience and Technology at the Bertie Early College High School.  The video above is from day two — their first project — in Studio H. You can follow progress on the Studio H Blog.

We hope to develop Studio H into a deployable one-year curriculum that could integrate into any other school district’s core, technical education, or STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program. In Bertie County, we will use the next two school years to tweak the syllabus so that it might better fit a variety of districts seamlessly. We hope to offer the full one-year program to other rural school systems by fall 2012, but in the meantime, all of our project lesson plans are open-sourced and available for all to use within their current course structure.

I was happy to see an August New York Times article tell the story of their work in Bertie County which has not been without significant obstacles. They’ve designed some brilliant solutions.