Imagine if you could play / game your way into changing the world? You can!

Have you heard of Urgent Evoke? Neither had I until a few hours ago while sharing ideas with the brilliant Javie Ssozi who is a freelance digital media consultant destined to change the face of media as we know it, for the immense better. Excitement jiggles. He is a blogger and trainer of citizen journalists in Uganda.  He runs a personal blog – “The African Timer” where he writes about the link between Technology, Education and ‘Development’. He endeavors to dispel the belief that “Africans” don’t keep time and that’s why Africa lags behind while other continents continue to lead. Javie also happens to be my personal and close friend! (Yippee, lucky me! 🙂 ) Anyways, so, Urgent Evoke.

Evoke was developed by the World Bank Institute, the learning and knowledge arm of the World Bank Group, and directed by alternate reality game master Jane McGonigal. It was launched as far back as March 2010 and is recommended age 13 and up. It is a ten-week crash course in changing the world that is free to play and open to anyone, anywhere. The goal of the social network game is to help empower people all over the world to come up with creative solutions to our most urgent social problems. The game’s first season began on March 3, 2010 and ended on May 12th, 2010.  However, that doesn’t mean that the game stopped!  You can request to join the game with a group now and think up genius ideas on how to change the world! Bottom line: Playing games and you get to help people too! Who says you can’t have your cake and eat it too?

From playing the game, you discover that there are certain “superpowers” aka skills and abilities you need to develop that will ultimately help you tackle the world’s toughest problems. I realized these also apply so well to all the entrepreneurship ventures I have been a part of so I decided to share and put them in context.

  1. Collaboration

Build a strong team. Work together with your team to achieve the seemingly impossible; tasks that you possibly could not achieve on your own. It would be ideal to find team members with whom you complement each other’s skills.

  1. Courage

Take risks. Dare to tackle seemingly unsolvable problems. Take a stand for what you believe in. Face your fear. Ultimately, success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.

  1. Creativity

Apply your imagination. Dream up new ideas and devise uncommon solutions. Bring different ideas together. Be original. We have to continually be jumping off cliffs and developing our wings on the way down.

  1. Entrepreneurship

Achieve social goals with sound business strategy. Focus on innovation and large scale transformation. Make your ideas financially sustainable. Create something that will thrive for a long time. As Peter F. Drucker said, “This defines entrepreneur and entrepreneurship – the entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it, and exploits it as an opportunity.”

  1. Local insight

Know your market. Meet local needs and build on local assets. Create solutions that fit the community. Also, do not create solutions to non-existent problems – that will not result into money in your pocket. Do the due diligence and ensure you are solving a real problem and not an imaginary one your mind made up just because the stars seemed perfectly aligned when you thought it up!

  1. Knowledge share

Contrary to popular belief, keeping all your knowledge to yourself does not make you any more intelligent than sharing it would have. Find fascinating facts and share what you know. Empower as many people as possible and reap from the ripple effect that creates.

  1. Resourcefulness

Make something out of nothing. Rise to the occasion no matter what. If you are a developer, now would be a good time to devise what kind of game you can build to create social change! 😉 Thank me later!

  1. Spark

Set an example. Inspire others with bold action, build momentum for change. Unleash an idea that has the potential to snowball. Do not be afraid of being copied – imitation is the highest form of flattery. That said, ascertain that you always have an edge over your competition. Be aware of what they are doing but do not waste too much time following their every move! (That is how you become a follower instead of a leader in your industry). Stay true to your vision.

  1. Sustainability

Care for the wellbeing of the environment. Promote the responsible use of natural resources. “Serve the planet. Learn to do common things uncommonly well; we must always keep in mind that anything that helps full the dinner pail is valuable.” – George Washington Carver

  1. Vision

My dad likes to say, “Dream big and think even bigger!” Plan for the long term, invent the future. If you are working on something exciting that you really care about, you do not have to be pushed, vision pulls you. Plan, plan, plan, plan! And work towards achieving your laser-focus vision.

Being a closet gaming addict, I feel that this is an effective way to “play” for social change and social impact in my society. I implore you to do some soul searching and self-discovery and find the genius within you and use that to make social change in your community. We all have a genius hiding somewhere within, just waiting to be discovered. And like Javie said, there are real superheroes in the world today, they are just not as obvious as Superman and Batman anymore because WE are not allowed to wear capes! 🙂 Also, for developers, this really is a free business idea – develop some addictive games for social change and join other superheroes in making this world a better place!

What other “superpowers” do we need to garner to make our world a better place?



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