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The TEN Project
The TEN Project is a London, UK based non-profit organisation created by Emmy nominated cinematographer John Tattersall, to aid the creation and implementation of both short and long term Sustainability solutions.
The Project's Aim
To distribute a game in 2010 to every single ten-year-old living in the ten most influential mega-cities of the future, to inspire them to create a ten-year plan for redesigning their world into one that will be sustainable and worth inheriting in 2020.
The Game's Aim
As the game Monopoly prepared previous generations for capitalism, this game aims to make lucrative sustainability second nature to the children of a new world in which biology and economics are inextricably linked. The game aims to do this by exciting its players into creating a ten year plan for sustainability problem solving, empowering them as a connected global network, and alerting them to their major role in this next crucial ten years of human civilization.
(Statistics quoted are courtesy of the UN, N.A.T.O., and WHO)
WHY SUSTAINABILITY IS VITAL
IPCC reports reveal that the world has reached a state of emergency, and that during the next ten years we must bring to fruition the monumental advances in Green Technology, social innovation and human compassion that have already begun, if we are to survive. The TEN Project focuses on the positive outcome of this critical age of change, particularly in the vibrant mega-cities of the future.
WHY THE MEGA-CITIES ARE VITAL
51% of all humans now live in cities. In seven years, Lagos Nigeria will be the third largest city in the world, after only Mumbai and Tokyo. We are building the equivalent of a city the size of Seattle (0.6 million) every four to seven days.
Well over a billion people live in resourceful slums and vibrant squatter communities, full of social and economic prosperity, innovation, and hope. In 2010 a global taskforce will distribute the game to every single ten year old in the following ten mega-cities: Lagos, Mumbai, Karachi, Dhaka, Mexico City, São Paulo, Jakarta, Tokyo, Shanghai, New York.
The effectiveness of such a global taskforce was proven by the eradication of Smallpox, which killed more people than all the wars, violence, natural disasters, AIDS and all the other infectious diseases of civilization added together. It was finally defeated in 1979 against all odds, by 150,000 volunteers who were mobilised (without cheap telephony and the internet) and inoculated over a billion households until they succeeded.
THE TARGET AGE GROUP
Over the age of about eight and before puberty, the child’s innovative capacities are boundless. They are not yet educated out of their creativity, their ideals are still flexible and they have a natural understanding of the transforming world (such as computers). More than one third of the world is under the age of fifteen, and they are becoming ever more connected, and they are every nation’s most valuable natural resource.
50% of the entire world population already owns a cell phone. OLPC are distributing millions of ‘$100’ wi-fi laptops to the world’s poorest children, with staggering results. The Project’s game will empower its players as they connect to form a global network.
We are hurtling toward a future no one can predict. Yet one thing is certain: our capacity to mend is as powerful as our capacity to break. Mass-extinction, bio-weapons, uncontrollable disease and the horror of climate crisis, are on one side of the coin. On the other is a powerfully connected society of problem solvers on the streets and in the labs of the world’s cities.
KEY POINTS OF THE GAME DESIGN BRIEF:
1) Must be cheap and self-maintaining, require minimal interface. A short form/ SMS game type would be practical and take advantage of rapid cell phone connectivity in squatter cities. The web, cell phone SMS, word of mouth and creating visual clues in the urban environment, might all be equally effective ways for the players to interconnect within the game. In this way the game environment could become the real environment of the player’s city. Instead of using elaborate graphics in a virtual world, the very fabric of urban life could become the game landscape. (This is also more practicable for areas without computer access).
2) For children in squatter cities who might have no community access to internet or other electronic media, periodic unofficial ‘social connector’ stations might be set up on a word of mouth basis for that particular community, each with periodic contact to practical nearby internet access in another part of the city. Gamers on a rotation suggested by the game itself could be responsible for these.
3) Must enable the children to keep track of and share each other’s ideas, scores and creations, across the global community. Regardless of the simplicity of the game’s interface, it must create a global video gaming community that crosses cultural boundaries as effectively as if it were a ‘Massively Multiplayer Online Game’ (MMOG). It must have networking, collaborative and web-based elements.
4) Must be able to develop and grow in complexity with the child, and maintain its appeal and functionality throughout a ten-year period.
5) Must inspire children to workshop a personal and a social ten year plan for surviving the current ecological emergency (short-term radical solutions to get us through the critical moment); as well as a long-term sustainable world that will never again forget how to maintain its own lifeline, its planet/world/environment.
6) Must not have anything to do with their schooling or come across as an educational tool, but be action-based, and fun enough to compete (or even integrate) with their current popular activities. It must be fashionable and at least as much fun as stealing cars, sniffing glue, skateboarding, playing play-station etc.
7) Despite operating above and without requiring literacy, the game will need still to demonstrate, however subtly, the following three key points… a) That technology is a biological system with its own evolution. b) That the onus is on us to ensure that system works properly (makes all species including our own happy, healthy and prosperous as opposed to miserable, diseased and extinct). c) That technology is sustainable for itself and in context to all biological systems, and how important it is to re-evaluate the things we think we need to make us happy in light of what is actually sustainable.
THE TWO-YEAR DESIGN PROCESS:
It is an ambitious design brief, but as an open source design project, a heavily networked global team of ten thousand voluntary designers (amateur and professional) will have two years to ponder the game (from January 2008 to December 2009).
Child psychologists, teachers, counselors, game designers, large corporations such as Sony Inc., and successful recruitment organizations (e.g. The Military) will be offered corporate sponsorship or other incentives in exchange for knowledge about how to captivate children’s imaginations, and possibly even promotion for recruiting volunteers.
The best ideas will be consolidated on the TEN Project website, where they will be instantly accessible for revision by everyone involved. Minimal game summaries will be encouraged at this point rather than over-complicated descriptions. The website will then divide into separate design branches for multiple cultures and tastes modifications, and the most successful ideas to emerge will be rigorously tested for appeal on children in multiple cultural, consumer and stylistic contexts.
2010 POINT-TO-POINT DISTRIBUTION PROGRAM: The distribution targets of the game are every bit as ambitious as its design, but the globally conscious and philanthropic community that grows daily cannot be underestimated. Abundant and popular web 2.0 sites, which allow for an intermesh of discussion and social networking can be used to amass a vast team. This will operate in a decentralized fashion with a common directive. A million volunteers will be needed to personally deliver the game to ten million children of around ten years old across the globe.
The game will not insist on any proof of age, and its target figures allow for the fact that the game will very likely be played initially by eight to eleven year olds. By targeting every child of this age bracket in each of the target cities, the TEN Project hopes to make a significant impact on those cities, and in the way this growing generation, en masse, thinks about economics, sustainable city living and the future.
The cities were chosen based on having the highest ten-year-old populations in the world, with the exception of Shanghai and New York, which are included to complete the picture of global influence represented by this top-ten list of tomorrow’s mega-cities.
The numbers of children in the target age group for each city are:
Lagos (1,500,000), Mumbai (1,400,000), Karachi (1,300,000), Dhaka (1,200,000), Mexico City (1,000,000), São Paulo (900,000), Jakarta (800,000), Tokyo (800,000), Shanghai (600,000), New York (600,000)
The TEN Project is a way of maximizing the promises and staying ten steps ahead of the threats of this accelerating world in our race toward the sustainability of a future no one can predict.
Sign up for participation in whatever capacity you like, however small, by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Any comments or suggestions whatsoever about the project concept, alternative name suggestions or the wording of the brochure would also be greatly appreciated at the above email.
The goal of the organization is to design a Serious game for web or SMS (Short message service ) application (that could also be a networking strategy game) to be launched in 2010. The goal of this game is to inspire ten million children of around ten years old, in the ten most influential Megacities of the future to consider a ten-year plan for redesigning a sustainable world.
The TEN Project espouses five core principles:
- People are motivated more by discovering their potential than by their faults.
- Pre-pubescent children over the age of eight are not yet educated out of their creativity , their ideals are still flexible and they have a natural understanding of the technological world, and therefore they are a vital creative resource
- Connectivity is productivity. In a rapidly cellular and internet connected world, connected communities create empowerment.
- Activities that are fun are most inspiring, particularly in childhood.
- The mechanisms behind causes of environmental crisis are by the same token, causes for abundant creative human resources with which to avert that crisis, if the necessary efforts are made to empower those innovative resources.
"As the board game Monopoly prepared the last three generations for a world of capitalism, the TEN Project will make commercially profitable sustainability become second nature to these parents of our future." - John Tattersall
In November 2007, John Tattersall conceived the TEN Project based on ideas that grew out of years of world travel in over eighty countries on all continents and the meshing of three sources of inspiration: The positive tone of worldchanging.com, the diverse information of ted.com his exposure to the cross cultural social bridging power of the Massively multiplayer online gameing community which he came into contact with while filming the World Series of Video Games in London 2005. In December 2007, the first TEN Project proposal was invited for submission to the AFTRS Laboratory of Advanced Media Production lab in February 2008. On January 3rd, the project will be presented to the British Virgin Islands Rotary International at their 2008 New Year meeting.
Proposed Time Line
Design (2008 – 2010)
The TEN Project is being presented as an open source design project. The organization hopes to amass through heavy networking a team of ten thousand volunteer designers (both professional and non-professional).
A TEN Project website is being designed to consolidate the best ideas, where they will be instantly accessible for revision by everyone involved. The website is intended to then divide into separate design branches for all ten target cultures for individual cultural modifications, and the most successful ideas to emerge, to be rigorously tested for appeal on children in each represented culture, using strategies similar to those used by the producers of Sesame Street to test its effectiveness on their target TV audience .
Distribution (2010 onwards)
The TEN Project intends to use abundant Web 2.0 sites to network a globally conscious and philanthropic volunteer community to distribute the game in a hands-on, face-to-face manner to potential gamers beginning in 2010. It is estimated that a million volunteers will be needed to personally deliver the game to ten million children of around ten years old across the globe.
The volunteers are not intending to insist on any proof of age, and their target figures allow for the fact that the game will likely be played initially by eight to eleven year olds.
"By targeting every child of this age bracket in each of the target cities, the project team hopes to make a significant impact on those cities, and in the way this growing generation, en masse, thinks about city living and the future." - John Tattersall, concept creator
The TEN Project target cities and their ten-year-old target numbers are in order:
1. Lagos (1,500,000) 2. Mumbai (1,400,000) 3. Karachi (1,300,000) 4. Dhaka (1,200,000) 5. Mexico City (1,000,000) 6. São Paulo (900,000) 7. Jakarta (800,000) 8. Tokyo (800,000) 9. Shanghai (600,000) 10. New York (600,000)
Manipulation and corruption
The project has been criticized for its potential to create a vehicle for moral and political manipulation of large numbers of children.
Problems inherent in children
The possibility that children’s creativity is less tamed than adults, and that so too are their base instincts for self-centeredness leads to the idea that this might encumber a project the purpose of which is to inspire broadmindedness. The same criticism is made vis-à-vis children’s considered lack of good judgment.
The project has also been criticized for the ambitious time frame of its game design and anticipated numbers of volunteer participants for both game design and distribution.
Further criticisms point to difficulties in penetrating the vibrant activities of children in squatter cities and the difficulties inherent in maintaining the game’s appeal and functionality across its projected ten-year time frame.
Further criticisms have been identified in regards to the difficulty of transmitting enough information to convey the problems of sustainability for the project to work, while still seeming exciting and fun for children who show no interest in learning and other educational initiatives.
- Related projects
- Robinson, Sir Ken, Do Schools Kill Creativity? (TED.com - October, 2006)
- The Vision Behind One Laptop per child - Negraponte, Nicolas, - TED.com August 2006
- Mobiles Fight Poverty (Quadir, Iqbal - TED.com - October 2006)
- Becoming Buddhas, Thurman, Robert - TED.com - June 2006
- Gladwell, Malcolm. The Tipping Point: How Little Things Can Make a Big Difference 2000 Published by Little Brown. ISBN 0-316-31696-2.