Sunday, August 1, 2010


I took a 10-week course from the World Bank Institute. There were about 19,000 people in the course from all over the world.

Every week we received an e-mail telling us to log in. We did and we read a 6-7 page graphic novel set in 2020 dealing with some world crisis. We were then given a mission. Each mission had 3 objectives. The first objective was educational (do a lot of learning and reading and report on it); the second action-based (you had to do something to solve the problem in your community on a small scale); the third was imagination-based (you had to imagine the world in the future with the problem solved and write about it). Each week there was also a quest, a writing portion to write about you as a hero and what motivates, inspires you, bothers you, moves you, your background and environment, your mentors and helpers, etc.

Each week focused on a different problem: food security and agricultural development, water security and development, the energy crisis, women’s empowerment, crisis networking, etc. The list went on and on for 10 weeks. And the goal was to use social innovation and social entrepreneurship to address the problem. We followed along the story of the secret global agents who were social innovators and used their skills to solve the problem in the year 2020. It was a very cool game and course. I really enjoyed it though it was a lot of work (the 2nd objective each week took time).

If you completed 1 objective from each week and each quest you were called a hero.
If you completed 2 objectives from each week and each quest you were called a certified hero.
If you completed 3 objectives from each week and each quest you were called a legendary here.

I think certified heroes and higher received a certificate saying they finished the course. At the end of the course, you were allowed to submit a proposal developed as you worked each week and collaborated and discussed. Some would win mentorship prizes, some would win travel funding for a summit that is to happen in DC later. The top 20 would win a seed grant to launch their social enterprise and get started.

I submitted two proposals; neither was chosen. But I am helping and advising a friend from the class who is doing a film project on the Story of Happiness. He won a mentorship and chance to put his project on Global Giving and if he can get $4000 from 50 donors in a few weeks he gets a permanent spot there. So I’m helping him a bit, while I still pursue my own AIDS research and student summer project program (ask me later).

The game was designed by game designer Jane McGonigal who thinks games can change the world. Instead of telling her story, I’ll let you listen to her tell how she has created games that are changed the real world, not the virtual one.

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