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Build Your Own (Virtual) Village, One Business at a Time
Robert Katz, 2 Sep 06

Village%20The%20Game.jpgWhat do you get when you mix SimCity with social entrepreneurship? Village, a multiplayer strategy game that puts the BOP hypothesis to work. It's hardly the first game to take on worldchanging topics, something that never ceases to amaze me (and make me wish I had more time for gameplay). According to the game’s web site, Village’s mission is let players practice building sustainable villages for developing nations using real-world technologies and real-world business models.

The game is still under development – as far as I can tell, there’s a decent proposal and some ideas for game play and design, but no money or people to put the idea into practice. Despite the obvious hurdles Village must yet overcome, I am really excited to see the idea out there. It’s putting proven BOP products and models – like Kickstart treadle pumps, XAccess bikes, and Village Phones – to the test in a simulation anyone can try. Prospective BOP entrepreneurs might even use the finished game to scope out new business ideas; venture capitalists might identify promising investments by seeing which players are having the most success.

Maybe I’m getting ahead of myself – the game isn’t even out of the conceptual stage yet. But assuming it comes to fruition, the worst that can happen is that Village raises awareness about the importance of innovative products and business models to sustainable, local development. If making social enterprise fun helps push the idea even further into the mainstream, then Village is a project I’m happy to support.

(Via PSD Blog)

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Great post, great project! Be sure to keep us alerted, Rob, on developments with this project and any others like it. It's wonderful to see gamers looking to social entrepreneurs, including a number of Ashoka Fellows, for their inspiration in designing game challenges. Village the Game may find itself introducing an entire generation of young people to the professional opportunities of social entrepreneurship and the real-world chance of actually solving long-entrenched social problems.

Many thanks,

Ashoka Innovators for the Public

Posted by: Karin Hillhouse on 3 Sep 06

Hope it works - great initiative

Posted by: haydn on 4 Sep 06

Will be very interesting to see who plays this game... will it be RPGers who also grew up playing Warcraft? or will it be those who grew up playing SimCity or maybe even GTA? Or will it be a new breed of gamers from new places, young gamers from developing countries maybe?

Posted by: matt on 5 Sep 06



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