MEGA Generation: The Game with Impact

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MEGA Generation: The Game with Impact: We offer people to play for impact.

MoldovaChisinau, Moldova
Year Founded:
2013
Organization type: 
hybrid
Project Stage:
Start-Up
Budget: 
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Moldovan Environmental Governance Academy (MEGA) gives you MEGA Generation: The Game with Impact – the unique gamified system represented by web platform and smartphone app that empowers a global community of young people to learn and create social & environmental impact in real world in a fun way.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if Farmville and WarCraft created positive social and environmental impact during the gameplay?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Global community faces a degrading environment and shortage of passionate & experienced professionals to address this issue. And the current theory-based education does not provide attractive opportunities for youth to become these changemakers. Thus, the problem we address has 3 social/environmental dimensions: 1) Inadequate, impractical education system; 2) Lack of experienced specialists in environment protection; 3) Pollution of environment.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

MEGA Generation: The Game with Impact offers youth a practical and fun way to learn and create positive impact in environmental management, thus becoming experienced green leaders, entrepreneurs, and changemakers. Our innovation represents the unique gamified learning system that forms a community of young people worldwide and empowers them to learn about real world environmental issues and at the same time solve them in a collaborative and fun way. This system consists of a web platform and smartphone app with the following features: Mission Hub, Training Center, and Library of Opportunities designed with gamification tools. In other words we offer “World of Warcraft for positive impact”. More details are here: http://goo.gl/ULr6fX.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

MEGA Generation example can be shown on its off-line concept test within the project GREEN (Garbage Recycling and Environmental Education Nationwide; http://megageneration.com/projects#/projects/green) offered to 300 students in 3 high schools in Moldova. One of the students, Diana, entered the GREEN Game with the topic "Waste Wars: A New Hope". There she took on environmental missions, thus going through levels with increasing difficulty (http://goo.gl/JZdvEV). To achieve missions, she participated in trainings and peer2peer learning activities. For the final challenge she joined a team to plan environmental strategy, execute it and evaluate impact achieved. Then her team organized their own project based on knowledge & skills from GREEN.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Impact of MEGA on August 2014: + MEGA Generation community of green changemakers includes 21 players and 40 mission providers; + 0.01% (356 people) of Moldovan citizens received practical knowledge and skills in environment protection; + Reduction of waste in Moldova and pollution caused by it by 0.003% (60 t). Future impact by 2025: + 0.08% (6 mln) of young people worldwide have open access to practical, fun, and impact-generating learning experience on social & environmental issues and solutions to them; + They work as environmental specialists in 2000 companies & organizations, thus contributing to the protection of the environment in their local areas; + There are 10 000 green startups established through MEGA that contribute to solving environmental issues; + Improvement of environmental quality in Moldova and neighbouring countries measured by the MEGA Generation platform.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Spread and scaling strategies are based on 2 core concepts of MEGA Generation: 1. Gamification + Learning process is designed as a multiplayer game, making it fun and engaging for young people to take part in it and invite friends. + Game platform features elements of social challenges and competitions, stimulating more players and schools to join it, organize own competitions, and challenge each other. 2. Community + MEGA Generation is designed to scale up virally by engaging players community and partner NGOs in its development. + It is shared and shapen up openly by players and NGOs.
Sustainability

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Financial sustainability is ensured through 2 main revenue streams: 1. Students purchase Pro accounts with special access features, acquire virtual tools/goods to unlock bonus missions and achievements, and pay fees for participating in MEGA Impact Championships as teams. 2. Private and public economic agents purchase Corporate accounts & sponsor players’ projects with 10% contribution going to MEGA. More details are here: http://goo.gl/mnT7F9

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

On the Moldovan market there is no venture similar to MEGA. But the international market of gamification in sustainability and environmental “serious games” that we expand to features some competitors offering somewhat similar value of "fun learning, co-creation, and impact". Several examples are: RecycleBank, WeAct, Econcept, World Without Oil, etc. The difference and uniqueness of MEGA Generation is that it is the only collaborative learning platform on the topics of sustainability and environmental management that organically combines on-line learning with real-world actions and impact.
Team

Founding Story

I have always been a gamer and an environmentalist. And I have been looking for a way to combine games and fun with protection of the environment. The first idea about MEGA appeared after participation in the Global Environmental Governance programme in Denmark. It is there we understood the demand for similar integrated and interactive educational initiatives. So, we decided to bring them to our home country Moldova. The next step was made at the summer school on leadership organized by the British Embassy in Moldova. There we shaped up the prototype of MEGA Generation - the environmental project GREEN. During the organization of GREEN we have found each other and formed the basis of the MEGA Team. Later on more people have joined us.

Team

Our core MEGA Team consists of 6 diverse young people: + Alexandr Iscenco, MEGA Research and Cooperation Coordinator; + Ruxanda Vihrest, MEGA Brand and Communication Coordinator; + Maria Movila, MEGA Learning and Change Agents Coordinator; + Johnathan Li, MEGA Green Business Developer; + Natalia Ursu, MEGA Support and Opportunities Coordinator; + Elena Scutaru, MEGA Censor. More information about our team is here: http://goo.gl/trCdmS.
About You
Organization:
Moldovan Environmental Governance Academy (MEGA)
About You
First Name

Alexandr

Last Name

Iscenco

About Your Project
Organization Name

Moldovan Environmental Governance Academy (MEGA)

How long has your organization been operating?

Project
Organization Country

, Chisinau

Country where this project is creating social impact
What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Foundations, Businesses, Customers, Other.

Supplemental
Awards

November 2013 -> Dell Innovation Challenge -> Promising Project Award and 1000 USD prize.
February 2014 -> Regional Environment Center, SECTOR Program -> Support for the testing and prototyping of the off-line part of the Game with Impact.
April 2014 -> Ministry of Youth and Sport of Moldova -> Support for the gamified summer school and presentation of the Beta version of the Game with Impact within it.
July 2014 -> Creative Business Cup Moldova 2014 -> Top 5 National Finalist.
August 2014 -> Verizon Powerful Answers Award 2014 -> Semi-finalist.
September 2014 -> GIST Tech-i 2014 -> Semi-finalist.

Primary Target Age Group

13 - 17, 18 - 35.

Your role in Education

Administrator, Social Worker, Teacher.

Please specify which of the following best applies:

I am applying on behalf of a particular program or initiative.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with (if applicable)

Public (tuition-free), Other.

Intervention Focus

Extracurricular, Professional Development, Online Learning.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Putting Children in Charge: Giving children a voice and cultivating agency via experiential learning, project-based learning, and civic engagement.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

One size fits all fits none: Students are disengaged and not being prepared for "real life."

Need

Consultancy in "serious game" design & development; contribution with missions, trainings, courses for our Game with Impact

Offer

Knowledge and experience in gamification and environmental education

What key learning outcomes does your work seek to improve?

+ Knowledge and skills to initiate own social / environmental project or startup;
+ Record of measurable positive social / environmental impact for each player and players' team;
+ Learning experience customized for each player by him-/herself according to his/her interests, passion and goals;
+ Intercultural learning through volunteering in different social / environmental organizations worldwide registered in the Game with Impact;
+ Network of peers benefitting from community learning;
+ Personalized coaching and mentoring in social / green project management and business development.

Secondary Form
PROGRAM DESIGN CLARITY: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Please succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details

a) Main activities are planning of game strategy, taking on quests, involving in challenges & missions that require active participation, accessing e-learning materials, collaborating with other players, and submitting achievement reports. All of them are modeled by means of gamification.
b) There are both online (e-learning, research) and offline (active participation in real world) activities.
c) Players are encouraged to visit the Game on a daily basis.
d) There are missions/quests requiring different amount of time (1-12h). On average players devote 12-24h per month for the Game.
e) Each mission is supported by e-learning materials & video training delivered by MEGA and our partners.
f) Players do theoretic learning and planning online, while practical learning through quest accomplishment is performed offline. There are diverse quests, so players choose the ones they like most.

INSPIRATION: What do you consider the most important trends or evidence that inspire you to believe the world is ready to Re-imagine Learning? Please elaborate.

Readiness to Re-imagine Learning is proven by the statistics on Environmental & Entrepreneurial Education. They become more prominent, as shown by the number of Google searches with 100% growth from 2007 to 112,000,000 hits in 2014. Our research also displays a shift to the need for new learning forms: from traditional transmissive learning to collaborative & problem-based one.
It causes such concepts as gamification in learning and play-based education to gain more attention and application. They offer great potential in re-imagining learning to meet the needs and trends of the modern world.

LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: What does “learning through play” mean to you and why it is a must-have, instead of a nice to have?

Learning through Play is a natural state of a young being to receive the most important information about the surrounding world by using all its senses, practice different models of behavior within it, choose the most appropriate ones, and thus efficiently adapt to the environment. Playful learning is present in the behavior of all animals with a more or less developed brain. The nature has chosen this type of basic learning, because it engages all information receivers: somatic, auditive, visual, and intellectual (S.A.V.I. model). This justifies the crucial importance of play in learning.

SUSTAINABILITY: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating the percentage that comes from each source.

2014
Costs: 11229$
5732$ (51%) IT development; 1200$ (11%) marketing; 4297$ (38%) administration
Funds: 11423$
4645$ (41%) awards/grants; 6778$ (59%) research

2015
Costs: 46082$
80% IT development; 17% marketing; 3% administration
Funds: 46750$
58% revenue; 22% awards/grants; 20% research

MODEL: How does your mission relate to your business model (i.e. Non-profit, for-profit or hybrid)?

MEGA is a hybrid organization consisting of:
1) Non-profit entity in Moldova that is responsible for engaging and building up MEGA community, performing research on environmental education, and organizing other projects based on using MEGA Generation.
2) For-profit entity to be fully established in the UK with the focus on managing the MEGA Generation web platform and app, as well as administering revenue streams and financial sustainability.

FUNDING PRIORITIES: If your organization were given $20K in unrestricted funding today, how would you use it? Why?

The top priority now is to finalize development & testing of the MEGA Generation platform and app and then launch them on 05.06.2015 (World Environment Day). Therefore 80% of the funding will go to programming and design. The rest will be used for engaging youth and NGOs in testing our innovation.

PARTNERSHIPS: Tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.

In delivering practical environmental learning through MEGA Generation we have joined forces with Moldovan branches of such global youth organizations as AIESEC and JCI. They assist us in forming the MEGA community, enriching its members with knowledge, and mentoring young green changemakers. And the company Bright Games develops the web platform and mobile app for all that.
More details are available here: www.megageneration.com/partners.

COLLABORATIONS: Have you considered or initiated partnerships with any of the other Challenge Pacesetters? If so, please share.

Due to my experience as Trusted Reviewer, I managed to interact with several other entrants and Pacesetters. Before the Challenge we had already agreed on partnership with EduJoc in creating missions for MEGA Generation. Nowadays we discuss cooperation with Puppets for Future and RedRover Learning.

VISION: If you had unlimited funding, and you could fast forward 15 years to when your program has been able to achieve wild success - what will it have achieved?

Year 2029. MEGA Generation is the #1 gamified learning system on environmental protection and management worldwide. We are now celebrating the growth to 7 mln registered users (around 0.1% of global population), who benefit from accessible, practical, fun, and impact-generating learning experience through our innovation. Due to that experience there are 15 000 green startups established that improve the quality of environment on a global scale.

IMPACT - KEY METRICS: Please list the key data points that you would cite as evidence that you are able to achieve lasting learning outcomes. Please also share one data point for which you most hope to see better results over time

1) Coverage of delivering learning value:
Number of registered users, growth rate of users pool, retention rate of existing users.
2) Engagement into learning activities:
Number of missions successfully completed by users, number of users per each on-line training.
3) Social / environmental impact:
Quality of mission reports by users, improvements of environmental quality compared to status quo (here we hope to see great results over time).

IMPACT - REPORTING SAMPLE: Please attach any examples of your impact reporting. [optional]:
RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE: Please link or attach any research or evidence resource you are open to sharing more widely [optional]. Building research and evidence is a key aim of this initiative, and the resources you share may be chosen for listing in the Center for Education Innovations library:
SOURCE: If applicable - who created the research or evidence you are choosing to share? :
IMPACT - REACH: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

0 to 500

STUDY: Has an external evaluation or study been conducted of your organization?

Yes

Other (please specify)

By National Youth Council of Moldova

Number of Employees:

Fewer than 10

Number of Volunteers:

10-100

APPROACHES: Given the complexity of play, it is not surprising that there have been numerous research attempts to categorize the different types and approaches! Please indicate which of the following your project focuses on.

Physical Play, Creating a Supportive Socio-Emotional Environment, Educational Structuring (developing playful projects within educational contexts), Adults Participating (Ensuring adults are able to play alongside children), Challenging Play (play that disrupts - where rules are disregarded and levels of imagination are high).

Other (please specify)

Combination of Virtual + Physical Play

AFFILIATION: Please specify if your organization has any existing affiliations with the LEGO Group.

No, we are not affiliated with the LEGO Group.

Comments

Alexandr Iscenco's picture

Hello, APs (Amazing People)!
What do you think about transforming environmental education into a real-time game with real impact?

Shaylyn Romney Garrett's picture

I love your assessment of the marketplace. We face the same issues in Jordan. I think what you're doing is wonderful and I hope you succeed! What I'm wondering is how you actually get students to do the game. Through schools? Youth centers? Who would be your institutional partners?

Alexandr Iscenco's picture

Thank you, Shaylyn, for your feedback!
Regarding the engagement, currently we attract them through youth organizations we are partners with. These are, for instance, AIESEC, JCI and Let's Do It!
When we build up the base of the community around the game, then we will involve universities as well.

Jim Salmons's picture

Hi Alexandr,

I'm in my early 60's and the state of the environment for what's left of my lifetime scares the willies out of me. I can't imagine being young today and not laser-focused on our environment. Making experience fun tends to prolong engagement, so making environmental ed MEGA fun is a great idea.

Good luck in the challenge... It's a Karma Economy, so we kind of get out what we put into it. :-)
--Jim--

Alexandr Iscenco's picture

Hi, Jim!
And thank you for these words!
All of us in the MEGA Team appreciate them very much!
And we will surely make it truly MEGA TOGETHER! ;-)
Wish you a MEGA awesome and sustainable day!
Respectfully Yours,
Alexander, Ruxanda, Maria, Natalia and Elena

Storyland Teachers's picture

The game design is really very inspiring and original. It can be replicated and effectively integrate into ecological educational programs in a larger regions.We really wish you good luck in your very important business!