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Co-creating the future of money

I attended the MozFest today and had the great honour of playing a simulation game with a bunch of strangers to co-create the future of economics and money. It was conducted on Spatial Chat, and it was by far the most engaging virtual event I have attended. The game was designed and facilitated by the creative teams at TechDirt, Copia Institute and Leveraged Play, and was brought to us by Grant for the Web.

The details

The game was set in a dystopic future where a corporate giant called MegaCorp controlled all the social, economic and political systems of the fictional Money City. MegaCorp had a monopoly in almost all sectors and 85% of the city workers were employees of the corporation. The game world had a well-thought-out list of currencies that were in circulation that were used to buy good and services. It also had a list of influencers with elaborate backstories that players could rope in as allies as needed. Some of these included a whistleblower (trying to reform MegaCorp from within), a pop star (famous singer but MegaCorp keeps almost all profits from their record label), a trillionaire (made their wealth by selling their company to MegaCorp but resents them for their lack of innovation).

With this background, the players then self-organized into three factions intending to disrupt the force and power of MegaCorp. The three factions were: Humanity United (a coalition of activists, cooperatives, and charities), Singularity Now (a group of inventors and technologists), and The Hustle (a group of entrepreneurs and investors).

For the first round of the game, factions created interventions to disrupt the force of the corporation. We shared our strategies with other factions and game facilitators, who used the details to shape the scenario for the next round. Round two was meant to create interventions for an alternative positive force. The prompt for the final round was to create a future vision for the city. The game ended with a final vote of the desired future for Money City. Players and influencers voted for their favourite alternative economic future.

In the end, we had a chance to debrief the game and its creation process with the designers. They were generous enough to share their process and learnings through various stages of iterations. After playing this game, I feel inspired to explore how I can use game design in my foresight practice to spark conversation and imaginations for a better future.

My takeaways from the game:

If I ever decide to make a game, there is stuff from this experience that I’ll take forward.

  • The game offered a rich imaginative conversational space to have co-creation discussions.
  • The future of the economy is a topic that can be made accessible for many groups to engage with
  • Game design takes a lot of iteration to get right.
  • Facilitation skills are necessary to keep the game moving along and keep players invested and engaged.
  • We had a pretty small group of players, which made the conversations engaging and meaningful. It is likely that with more players, the dynamic of would change dramatically.
  • Pauses in between rounds can be dangerous. They can offer up possibilities for casual conversations or can ruin a players’ engagement.



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