Starting point: Buckminster Fuller’s philosophical commitment to cooperation, and use of technology to achieve social and environmental sustainabiliy
Organizing strategy: A game that invites and rewards collaboration
Tools: A training institute, publications
Outcomes: Some of Fuller’s ideas have entered the fringes of the mainstream
By translating core elements of the global economy into cards, chips, folders and other familiar objects, the Global Simulation Workshop allows players of all ages and backgrounds to act naturally, trust their instincts and teach each other, while simulating thirty years of future socio-economic history.
No two workshops are ever the same — each group of participants creates a world that is truly its own, reflecting the players’ knowledge, maturity and creativity. While students as young as 12 are able to quickly grasp the essentials of the game, older students can discover and take advantage of the simulation’s many subtleties.
An experienced o.s.Earth facilitator, backed by extensive multimedia support, guides students through the event and helps them to put their game experience into perspective during a post-game debriefing.
Real World Data
The game integrates geophysical and socioeconomic data so that players work with real-world issues and problems. Empowered by tools and techniques in the game, individuals define, understand, and solve regional and global problems.
Which is more important, wealth or resources? Should we form an economic alliance with Southeast Asia? In a Global Simulation Workshop, players constantly make tough decisions and follow them through. Their actions have a real impact on each other and on the world they create.
Every team of 3-6 players must work together to build a coherent strategy. Each player develops an area of expertise and learns to cooperate with teammates. The success of the team depends on the ability of its members to pool their knowledge and skills.
The world is a complex system. Actions have consequences. Nowhere are these concepts more clearly demonstrated than in the Global Simulation Workshop. Players see the results of their actions reverberate throughout the world.
China: Maya’s team is rich in resources, especially human resources, but relatively poor in chips. As a Trade Specialist, Maya quickly learns that corporations and organizations in the game strongly prefer chips to regional resource cards. To purchase development solutions, Maya and her teammates are sometimes forced to trade their resources at drastically deflated prices. Maya asks her team’s Culture Specialist to develop a public service announcement that emphasizes the value and benefits of investing in China’s resources. Unfortunately, the announcement makes little impact– good deals remain hard to find. By the end of the game, China has not advanced its infrastructure level, and actually loses five wealth points. In the debriefing session, Maya and her teammates share with other players the problems and challenges they faced as a cash poor region. Environment: Conscious of how important a healthy environment is to every region in the world, Andres and his teammates vow to forgo profits and instead try to help the world. Andres sells environmental solutions at very low prices, often times below cost, to any region that needs them. His team quickly sells out of solutions, but do not generate enough profits to purchase new environmental solutions. As the Environment team declares bankruptcy, the world’s progress halts since no region can develop its infrastructure without environmental solutions. The situation nearly reaches a crisis point until Japan, Southeast Asia, and W.P.Matthews Inc. pool together enough chips to bail out the Environment team. Andres and his teammates manage their wealth carefully for the rest of the game, and the Environment team finishes the game as the only true non-profit organization. Eurotek: Eurotek is one of the four multinational corporations in the game. As a Culture Specialist, Mikka spends much of her time in each round creatively expressing the goals and strategies of her team. In Round 2, she writes a funny skit about Eurotek’s desire to trade with less developed regions and showcases it to the world during the WSN report. Mikka and her teammates’ performance earns a lot of positive feedback from other teams, as well as two “Culture Power” chips from the Global Foundation. Other teams begin to follow suit, using the news rounds to help spread awareness of their unique successes, abilities and needs. In the debriefing, players discuss how the media and culture in the game shaped perceptions of each team. Health: At first her teammates are unsure about what goals they should pursue. After some deliberation, Naima and her teammates decide that they would like to make as much money as possible. Since every regional team needs healthcare solutions, Naima sells the solutions for five times their value and accumulates a 700% profit by the end of the game. Many teams cannot afford healthcare, and players complain through the media and cultural channels about the Health team’s unfair practices. During the debriefing, there is a heated discussion about the effects of one team profiting excessively at the expense of the entire world.