Help Us Transform Government Through Innovation Games and IndieGoGo

This is both a very simple, and a very personal, post. It announces our IndieGoGo project to use Innovation Games® online to engage thousands to millions of ordinary citizens around the world in working together to identify and prioritize the best possible solutions to our challenging budget problems. Please donate $25 to our cause. When you’re finished, please ask your friends, colleagues, neighbors, from everywhere in the world, to join us.

Don’t want to watch the video? No problem. Here is a transcript. But the video has some very helpful captions that you may not want to miss.

For over 10 years, we’ve been using our serious games to help companies around the world do serious work by having serious fun. But Innovation Games are about more than just helping companies work better. Which brings us to IndieGoGo.

We’re a little silicon valley startup. Which means we dream big. And one of our biggest dreams is to revolutionize the way that citizens interact with their governments.

We all know that our governments, federal, state, and local, are broke as a joke. Worse, no one seems to be able to come up with solutions.

We have. And we’ve proven it through the in-person version of our games.

Often, special interest groups don’t really represent the priorities of mainstream Americans, and therefore most people have no way of effectively expressing their priorities to their representatives. If thousands of ordinary citizens could truly engage with the difficult budgeting decisions that governments face, they could work through competing priorities together, and achieve the compromises that these problems require.

We’ve already made it possible for hundreds of citizens to engage in this way. With your help, we’ll take our proven solution online, and engage tens of thousands of citizens in solving our toughest problems.

On January 29, 2011, we made history, working with the mayor’s office in San Jose, California to empower community leaders to express their shared priorities through our games.

The result? Over 100 people from all parts of the city, representing every constituency engaged each other to fund and cut programs cooperatively, giving the mayor’s staff unprecedented insight into the real budget priorities of ordinary citizens.

And they used these insights to craft a better budget.

We know now that games can work for serious civic engagement. And now we need your support to bring our community games to thousands of citizens around the world.

While we already have an online version of Buy A Feature, our powerful virtual market game, we need further development to create an online implementation that supports the customized game design that we created in San Jose.

Once we have made the necessary changes to the game, we will then engage between 24K and 40k citizens of a major U.S. city—three cities have already expressed interest: San Jose, wants to play these games at a large scale, as do Lafayette Louisiana, and Portland Oregon.

Our game will be carefully timed to the budgetary cycle of the city in question, to maximize the impact of the game, and to ensure that the insights generated have a direct effect on budgeting decisions. We will then make this system available to other municipalities interested in engaging their citizens to produce the type of actionable results we generated for San Jose.

We will also use a small portion of these funds to promote the program to other interested civic leaders.

You’ll know we’ve succeeded when you join thousands of your fellow citizens to play in-person and online games, and the results of those games lead to specific, measurable actions from your civic leaders. We will measure these results continuously, and provide up-to-date information through our website.

We’re ready and willing to apply our proven games to large-scale problems. We just need your help to get started.


Since you’ve read this far, I thought you might like a summary of links that describe our commitment to civic engagement.

  • The San Jose, CA, Budget Games:  Take a look at our game design, results, and how we envision Innovation Games can be used to to help nonprofits and governments in the future.
  • Watch how ordinary citizens can use the Innovation Game Product Box to promote their city to small businesses, using San Jose, CA as an example, in this post.
  • Attacking Poverty Project with Grameen America and PDMA : In this video, Katherine Rosenberg of Grameen America gives us her initial impressions of the Attack Poverty games we designed and produced at the 2006 PDMA conference.
  • Pro-Bono Work by our Globally Trained Network of Facilitators: Over the years, we’ve helped churches and other faith-based communities, the Agile Alliance, the Scrum Alliance, the Agile Product Leadership Network and the Project Management Institute, to name a few.

We have a proven record of using serious games to solve complex problems. Our unique approach is such that the same game design can be used with both in-person and online populations. But we need your help to bring these tools to the global community.

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