I'm a big fan for the use of gameplay to encourage people to explore concepts, test ideas, build skills and model behaviours while generating awareness - however it is a tool that I have not seen exploited anywhere near to the extent it could be in government or most commercial organisations in Australia (and yes I have some ideas....)
The World Bank is about to launch a very interesting online game, Urgent Evoke, that encourages people to 'make a different', solving real social problems around the world - in a simulated form.
To quote the game's blog:
This is not a simulation. You are about to tackle real problems.
Food security. Energy. Water security. Disaster relief. Poverty. Pandemic. Education. Global conflict. Human rights
Welcome to the Evoke Network. Welcome to your crash course in changing the world.
To understand how this game works and the value it provides, see the Episode 1 video below.
The game launches on 3 March (but is open for preregistration now) and will offer a series of challenges - the first involving an imminent famine in Japan. Missions and quests will be available to help solve these challenges and if it is like previous alternative reality online games of this type, players will be required to research, explore real (and fake) websites, video and other material, following trails of clues to find a solution.
People who complete all of the 10 challenges in 10 weeks will be able to claim the honour: Certified World Bank Institute Social Innovator – Class of 2010.
Top players will earn online mentorships with experienced social innovators and business leaders from around the world, and scholarships to share their vision for the future at the EVOKE Summit in Washington DC.