Mar 19 2019

Ecoopoly: An SDG Game

By Audrey Selian

We are excited to announce the development of a multi-stakeholder game that aims to solve water and sanitation issues by teaching a more systems thinking approach to problems. It’s called Ecoopoly.

The Ecoopoly team is based in Switzerland and working under the auspices of the Social Transformation Lab at MIT using the Theory U methodology, a unique approach to group discovery and collaboration.  The problem with our current societal eco-systems is the broken feedback loopbetween the parts and the whole. Theory U offers a method to relink the parts and the whole and is based on the idea that form follows consciousness. 

We came together as a group of professionals consumed with the need for better systems thinking and design around the burning issues of our day, notably the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and specifically in the context of SDG #6.  1,800 children die daily from water and sanitation problems globally. Current funding methods are mired in traditional processes that exacerbate this problem and many others by extension.

The game we are designing will build and use dynamic scenarios and a nuanced view of the spectrum of capital and resources at our disposal as funders, investors and donors – to outline a new way for more efficient financing solutions to a big problem. The intention is to use a game format to help funders experiment, think ‘out loud’ together, and eventually consider real ways of working differently about the most effective path for capital deployment. If we manage to address the vast structural/behavioral inefficiencies and replication of effort in our process of financing development, we believe we stand a chance of success. 

The game aims to help players alter their mindsets to better understand what is at stake and what is possible through: identifying key stakeholders; creating the conditions to uncover the most appropriate financing path(s) at our individual/collective disposal; validating relevant metrics; simulating the launch of operations & scale up; and assessing impact outputs as well as outcomes. 

ECOOPOLY is a multi-stakeholder game. A series of underlying assumptions will inform our game development process: 

  • A single intervention, product or service, hero entrepreneur or company (unicorn) or “silver bullet” will fail.
  • Stakeholders’ personas: For each stakeholder, a persona will be created including: legal form, role & function, attributes, SWOT, financial & human resources, etc.
  • Modular gaming: Stakeholders may enter or leave the game at any moment and measure of relative value gained or lost will be undertaken.
  • Sound financial and collaboration outcomes
  • Output dashboard: profit & loss (OPEX), cash flow, balance sheet, investments (CAPEX), impact (both subjective and objective), etc.
  • Contextual assessments.