Saving the world through game dynamics

March 25, 2010 | Leave a comment

Jane McGonigal’s TED talk starts out a little bit hokey, but rapidly evolves into an important new idea that could genuinely change peoples’ lives.

Jane was the community designer for I Love Bees, the infamous Alternate Reality Game that was released as a promotional endeavor for Halo 2. Her later work recognizes the importance that games play in society, and harnesses our impulse to play in order to create solutions to real-world problems. Her slogan – reality is broken; games designers can fix it – challenges our assumptions of what is worthy, and immediately offers a new line of inquiry. It’s at once a beautiful acknowledgement of the human condition and a practical way to effect real change using technology in an innovative new way.

Want to learn more? She’s put her research online.

Buy from marginalized communities with Elevyn

February 17, 2009 | 2 comments

Elevyn is a kind of Etsy for marginalized communities: a way to buy directly from artisans in poorer parts of the world. You get a unique piece of clothing, jewelry or other art; they get to lift themselves out of poverty through their own work.

This is something that would be far less possible before the web. The whole thing exists online, promotion is in large part via social media (I found out about it via Metafilter), but the impact is global.