By Sven Larsen & Dan Licht
One of the most fun parts about working at an organization that has innovation at its core is the opportunities we get to work with like minded partners. Piers Fawkes, Jeff Weiner and the team at PSFK are some of our favorite “fellow travelers” and we’re always excited whenever they invite us to participate in one of their innovation challenges. Their latest effort involved working with The Climate Reality Project on “PSFK Gaming for Good“, an initiative that challenged creative shops like ours to use gamification to promote awareness of climate change. The talented innovation team at Zemoga rose to the occasion once again, submitting a number of different approaches and we were delighted when one of our concepts was selected for inclusion among the top ten finalists. Quite an honor considering there were more than 60 agencies submitted material for consideration.
Last Friday, Dan Licht and Sven Larsen attended a presentation of the finalists at Soho House in New York’s trendy Meatpacking District. The PSFK event featured gaming expert Aaron Dignan and a number of notables from the Climate Reality Project including CMO (and ad industry legend) Alex Bogusky, his Fearless partner Rob Schuham, Maggie Fox (CEO of the Project), and of course, the chairman and founder of the project, Al Gore. After each of the finalists made a brief presentation about their concept and Bogusky and Dignan offered American Idol style critiques, Mr. Gore took the stage. Speaking to an enthralled audience, he delivered a charming and slightly geeky address (he effortlessly cited Moore’s Law and apologized for his numerous Apple references) about the importance of promoting awareness of climate change and taking immediate action to address the issue. After his remarks, Piers Fawkes invited Mr. Gore to deliver his own evaluations of the concepts being presented. You can imagine our thrill as the Nobel Laureate praised our own submission, “Climate Trail” as one of the standout ideas and let us know it was on the shortlist as one of the top three entries being considered for final selection.
In case you’re wondering, Climate Trail is a game that lets players follow the ‘money trail’ tied to the dissemination of false data. Similar in style to the classic game Oregon Trail, Climate Trail is text-based. The goal is to reach the year 2036 with a healthy and livable community. The hope is to use open data to supply the questions that one will answer to win/complete the game, and through that gameplay, to give users a greater understanding of the reality of climate change. You can read a full writeup about the game in PSFK’s Gaming for Good Report and you should also be sure to have a look at their http://www.psfk.com/future-of-
After Mr. Gore’s remarks, he joined his colleague for a brief panel on the potential of gaming and gamification to solve complex social problems before being whisked away to his next meeting. The event concluded with an informal networking session as Zemoga and the other finalists spoke with the Climate Reality Project staff about the challenges and potential for turning some or all of these concepts in to reality.
A big thank you to Piers, Jeff Weiner and the whole PSFK team for hosting such an inspiring event and to Mr. Gore and the members of his team for selecting us as one of the three finalists. It’s truly an honor to work with such talented people and it reminds us all of just how powerful the spirit of collaboration can be.
Have you scheduled a Climate Reality Presentation yet? How are you or your company using innovation and creative thinking to make the world a better place?