Saving the World, One EVOKE at a Time

evokeWouldn’t it be great if, during times of crisis, there was a way to access a network of experts ready and able to help avert the crisis? Starting March 3rd, the Evoke Network goes live and available for all your crisis-averting needs!

EVOKE was developed by the World Bank Institute, the educational branch of the World Bank Group, and directed by Jane McGonigal, the creative mind behind Superstruct and World Without Oil (among many others) and most recently an invited speaker at TED2010. The alternate reality game’s mission is to help the world help itself, by empowering young people to tackle the world’s toughest problems. In the first episode, the year is 2020 and Japan is facing a nation-wide famine. The Governor of Tokyo sends an “EVOKE” to the mysterious Alchemy, who then activates the Evoke Network by contacting individuals with the necessary skills and ideas needed to help Tokyo avert her food crisis, and teach her people how to avoid it in the future.

During the 10 week course of the game, players will be presented with 10 different challenges involving topics like hunger, poverty, and education – one challenge per week. Players who participate in all 10 challenges will be honored as a “Certified World Bank Institute Social Innovator – Class of 2010.” On top of that, the top 10 Social Innovators will also have the opportunity to be mentored by noted social innovators and business leaders, along with scholarships to the EVOKE Summit in Washington, DC to share their innovative ideas with the world.

The goal of the game? Fun of course! But the main goal is to teach the young people of the world skills such as networking, resourcefulness, creativity, and vision; empowering them to start solving the world’s problems. Teach the people, save the world!

EVOKE launches on March 3rd and is accepting membership reservations now, and discussion is brewing over in Unfiction. Also, the first graphic novel episode can be read in its entirety on the EVOKE homepage, including links to articles for additional information on the topics discussed in the episode and a video trailer with clues about the nature of the EVOKE Network.


  1. Andrew D

    I love how they’ve worked the World Bank propogand right in, and made it look cool.

    The story’s all about a shadowy network of operatives that parachutes in and tells goverment’s what to do. (Without any public disucssion or participation in decision making.) Exacly like the real World Bank.

    Check out the last page of the comic, “We’ll keep 50% of the profits, you’ll take all the credit”.


  2. Jane McG

    I understand where you’re coming from, but the good news is, that’s pretty much exactly the opposite of what this project is about. As you’ll see more when the game launches (or if you read the about messages on the this is a game about social innovation/entrepreneurship. That means anyone, anywhere in the world can tackle development issues with creative solutions — not top-down policies or practices, but bottom-up, local ideas — and the good ideas can spread via networks. This game is about giving young people the encouragement and mentors and practice they need to solve local problems with local solutions, and to become a part of the global social innovation network. I understand perfectly skepticism about traditional development aid, but anyone interested in new ways to empower communities to tackle local problems using local insight, values and resources — well, this is exactly the kind of work that we’re doing in the game.

  3. Andrew D

    Hmm, been having a nice chat with Jane on the side, and decided I was maybe too hasty in judgement.

    Looks like a fun game too. Going to give it a try with a more open mind.