Catalysts for Change: Still Going Strong

Dear Catalysts,

At long last, we come together again to reflect on the Catalysts for Change game. For me, personally, it has been an experience that has continued to evolve as I move farther away from the actual game play.  Writing about poverty—while trying to come to a general consensus of that that means to us collectively, as I saw many players try to do during game play—and attempting to crowdsource potential solutions and innovations around social change was both challenging and exciting.

At Institute for the Future, we see many potential breakthroughs and challenges as we continue to innovate and experiment in the area of crowdsourcing social change. For us, Catalysts for Change was the beginning of something very powerful. We, all of us who played the game, are beginning to break down the traditional models of experts’ determining what’s best for all of us. We are beginning to use modern technologies to both tap the wisdom of the crowd, and to give voice to previously marginalized communities. Catalysts for Change was one step in this direction.

The Importance & Power of Global Game Guides

In Catalysts for Change we were, perhaps obviously, very motivated to ensure that we didn’t only portray Western notions of well-being and poverty alleviation. We wanted to build a global community to talk about these issues. In order to do so, we worked diligently to find inspired and enthusiastic global game guides. I need to thank each of these amazing guides for their enthusiasm and their voices that came through in the cards and in the blog. They truly made the overall experience of Catalysts for Change a success.

Just before the game launched, I sent out an email to the game guides with some final instructions. This was the first time the global game guides had been connected to one another, and the next morning I woke up to dozens of responses that were simply amazing. Two of my favorites are below…


hi everyone!!!!!

Valeria from Argentina

I can’t believe THIS!!!!!!!! God bless the internet and this amazing chance we are having. It gives me the goosebumps to feel connected to ALL of you

I keep reading your emails and I know this is getting bigger and bigger.


We should ALL get together some day. That would be a dream come true!!!!

Have a great day !


Hi everyone,

3:37 PM Lagos, Nigeria. It’s dark outside as the rain threatens. I am connected to everyone all over the world thanks to the internet.

We are all on different time zones and communicating in real-time.

Before the game starts we have already solved the problem of time travel.



The Importance & Power of Global Players

During the 48 hours of game play, we gathered over 1,600 people from 79 countries! We played over 18,000 ideas. It was an amazing experience to see so many people from all over the world playing together with one unifying goal: to attempt to make the world a better place for everyone. The more time I have spent reading through the cards and the conversations that happened during the game, the more in awe I have become of your contributions. I saw many novel ideas—like augmented empathy—as well as truly heartwarming collaborations. You can join a player-created Facebook group to continue any conversations and project ideas from the game.

Thank you to each of the 1,600 players. Without your engagement and willingness to share and try new forums, we would not be able to test the limits and potential of crowdsourcing. As a community you have been great. We have taken note of the game-play suggestions posted during the game and will incorporate those as best we can for future Foresight Engine games.

From Problems to Solutions in Four Steps

I want to point out one particular conversation that I think best highlights the power of Catalysts for Change. In a short four-card chain, players collaborated to move beyond mentioning the lack of education as a barrier to finding new paths out of poverty to a novel and practical solution.


The Leaderboard & Awards!!!

I would be remiss not to give a big shout-out to the leaderboard as it will stand in perpetuity! Congrats to Gardner and Game_Brains for being on the top of the leaderboard!

Please stay tuned as the celebrity awards will soon be announced. Sorting through 18,000 cards has had its challenges, so we apologize for the delay, but we’re excited to be able to keep this community connected for that much longer!

Game Analysis: You Get the Reins

Many of you have, of course, wondered what we are doing with the cards in the game. Analyzing 18,000+ cards is an interesting prospect, and just as we are not the experts in finding new paths out of poverty around the world, neither are we the experts in analyzing this data. Every one of us will find a different story worth telling from the 18,000+ cards.

In the spirit of crowdsourcing the future, we are releasing the card data file to the public and asking you for your contributions.

Please download them and tell us what bigger stories you find in the game. Further instructions can be found at the above link.

From The Rockefeller Foundation

The Rockefeller Foundation would like to thank everybody who participated in the game for sharing your creative ideas. You made the game a success by providing energetic and fresh thinking, building on one another’s cards, and raising important questions! As we sift through the 18,000+ cards that were played during the game, the intention is to find ideas and perspectives that can be used to inform funding strategies and that point toward solutions that address real-life problems of poor or vulnerable populations around the world.

Institute for the Future

If you are interested in following Institute for the Future and staying “in the know” for a possible next game, you can follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and our blog.

Signing off now …

Your faithful game master,

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