Archive for social technology

The Oasis Game

Posted in Collective Intelligence, Cultural Innovation with tags , , , , , on January 5, 2010 by yodelheck

Many of us may feel that the work to solve the world’s biggest problems is stressful, uncomfortable or mind-bendingly challenging. Some of us shrug off responsibility because it seems like a sacrifice to change our lifestyles. The work is needed on such a huge scale that we begin to feel overwhelmed or insignificant.

So imagine if it were actually fun to make the world a better place! What if, instead of seeing this as work, we threw a party and had a blast while we cleaned up the earth and our communities? This spirited approach feels like it can inspire a lasting and genuine culture of jedi-earth-stewards!

I’ve been holding this idea of making change fun as a “design principle” for the last year or so. So I was excited when I found a project that transformed their work into play, and their strategy into a game!

My friend Benjamin introduced me to the work of a Brazilian architect, urbanist, and inspired social entrepreneur named Edgard Gouveia.

Edgard co-founded a community leadership initiative in Brazil called Instituto Elos. They have developed an awesome social technology to ignite meaningful action called the Oasis Game. Their idea is to approach a community-development project as a game, and invite a diversity people to participate, from street children to regional officials and business owners. This inclusiveness attracts more people to join the game, and once involved, each person is invited to bring their most unique and valuable talents to the table. People participate by offering their passions, skills, or any resource that is abundant and gives them joy to share. Money is avoided in the Oasis Game, the special skills and talents of the community are considered to be more valuable.

Of course, throwing a good party is not a science. So I contacted Edgard to learn the secret recipe that is driving the success of this model. We chatted over skype, and first got to know each other on a personal level. We are both involved with The Hub, a network of co-working spaces for social innovators. We both feel a clear and powerful call to step up our collective efforts to ensure a safe and healthy future. And we both seek and respect the guidance of spiritual insight; he’s heading on sabbatical to southeast Asia to consult wise elders as he steps into greater service to the globe.

He did his best to translate the magic ingredient that makes Oasis Game work, but mentioned that in his culture, it is not as customary to systematize things. There isn’t always a recipe; people just “cook” from the heart! Nonetheless, they are working on a document to outline the process so they can share the Oasis Game with others around the world.

Speaking with Edgard reminded me to trust my instincts, be a fun host, and give the party life!