Monday, September 04, 2006

Serious Game To Build Sustainable Villages

Serious Games challenging us to play a better future

Posted by Robert Katz at September 2, 2006 06:28 PM

What do you get when you mix SimCity with social entrepreneurship? Village, a multiplayer strategy game that puts the BOP hypothesis to work. According to the game’s web site, Village’s mission is to let players practice building sustainable villages for developing nations using real-world technologies and real-world business models.The game is still under development – as far as I can tell, there’s a decent proposal and some ideas for game play and design, but no money or people to put the idea into practice.

Despite the obvious hurdles Village must yet overcome. It’s putting proven BOP products and models – like Kickstart treadle pumps, XAccess bikes, and Village Phones – to the test in a simulation anyone can try. Prospective BOP entrepreneurs might even use the finished game to scope out new business ideas; venture capitalists might identify promising investments by seeing which players are having the most success.

The game isn’t even out of the conceptual stage yet. But assuming it comes to fruition, the worst that can happen is that Village raises awareness about the importance of innovative products and business models to sustainable, local development. If making social enterprise fun helps push the idea even further into the mainstream, then Village is a project I’m happy to support.