Urgent Evoke

A crash course in changing the world.

I've just returned after a week off (thanks to Telecom for losing my payment details!) and found that Evoke is just as confusing as before. In fact, it's even more confusing. There seems to be a lot of disagreement over what happens after 12 May, for instance.

Is it possible for the people in charge to post a simple article explaining exactly what newbies are expected to do and how to go about it? Could they also link to this article prominently at the top of every page? I have referred a lot of people here and all of them have expressed frustration at the lack of clear information.

In addition, active members are getting up to all kinds of adventures which they then refer to in their posts under the mistaken impression that everyone else knows what they are talking about. It would be great if there was one regularly-updated page which people could refer to.

Please add your suggestions to this outline below:
(I've tried to keep the language simple.)

Greetings, and welcome to Evoke!

If you're new here then you may be a little confused. There is a lot to understand and not much time, so we've written this article to try and make it easier.

What is Evoke? Evoke is a project of The World Bank Institute designed to help people learn about the most important social and environmental issues. We hope that you will use Evoke to identify problems in your own community and think of solutions to them. Evoke is also designed to improve your ability to make change. We want you to become an innovator, someone who is saving the world.

At the centre of Evoke are the missions and quests. To complete them you will need to write short articles, take photos or maybe make videos. It sounds like a lot of work, but it's not that difficult. Most people only write 50-100 words each time, and this only takes maybe 30 minutes.

There are ten missions we ask you to accomplish, and also ten quests. The quests are all about your own personal development. The missions are about solving the problems around us.

Quests: The word 'quest' means a search for some great prize. Many people have the ability to achieve great things, but don't know how to start. The quests are your starting point, and the prize is to become a social innovator - a superhero! Quests usually follow a simple format. There will be a few questions, and you have to write your answers in the space provided. That's all. Each quest asks questions about you and your life. By answering them, you will have a better understanding of your own abilities and come closer to being a superhero.

Take a look at Quest 1. Click on 'Quests' at the top of the page and select '1- Secret Identity' to see the questions. You can probably answer them quite quickly before you read about the missions.

Missions: A mission is a difficult task given to a special person - you. The missions are all about different topics and each mission is in  three parts:
  • Learn - Our leader, Alchemy, has provided information about the mission. Your job is to look at the information and share your opinion about it. Tell us what you know about this topic by writing a blog post, taking a photo of something related, or making a short video.
  • Act - Knowledge is not useful if we don't use it. After learning about the topic, you have to do something. We don't ask you build a house, but maybe you can find some information about house-building and share it with us?
  • Imagine - We all want our actions to mean something. So think about the future, and imagine what your actions might mean. If you do something today, what will it mean in ten years? Even the smallest action has some effect, so don't be shy. Use your imagination.
After you complete these three steps you will be credited for finishing the mission. It's that simple!

Finishing Evoke: If you complete all ten missions and all ten quests then you have completed Evoke. If you finish everything before 12 May then you will qualify as a "Certified World Bank Institute Social Innovator," but don't worry if you finish after that. Your ideas and learning are important, and the Evoke website will remain online as a resource for you to use in the future. (Maybe you should use this experience as practise for the next evoke in 2011?)

The Evoke Community: In addition to the missions and quests, Evoke allows you to communicate with other people who are also trying to save the world. You can see their ideas, and they can see yours. If you see something you like, you can leave a message for them, and you can also give them "power points".

When you vote for people, it encourages them. People will probably leave comments or votes for you too, so you will make friends all around the world. Maybe you will talk about your ideas with them, and work together on some project to save the world. Take a look at the official Evoke projects page to see some of the things that are happening on Evoke.

That's all for now, but I'll update it later. I think it needs a list of stuff that may be useful to know, such as what are Delta Team, etc.

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Hi Chris, great suggestions, thanks. I have passed this along to Alchemy as you requested. Meanwhile, I'm not sure if you've seen this blog post? Not as helpful for newbies as your text is, but it does summarize the end game goals: http://blog.urgentevoke.net/2010/04/24/forge-your-evoke-legacy/ Thanks again for the thoughtful post.
Perhaps you could add the new user forum, which I call the rest stop. Its a good place for people to go outside of themselves and say hello
Righto Gabriel, I should have thought of that! Chris, Gabriel's Rest Stop for Newbies is here.
by the way, part of the fun for kids (this could be highlighted i mean) can be in hunting down the answers to the very questions your students ask. Helping them to be active learners on here will really engage them. Maybe get the class together and create a list of questions that they want answered, and then picking the ones that can be solved by looking through the site, you could give them somthing to solve. like a mystery. There is a reason that FAQ lists are everywhere, why not here or in the classroom as an assignment? Afterwards, you can share what your class accomplished with the community, and we can make a FAQ link on the rest stop
Useful summary of the main points, thanks!

Several questions for the FAQ:

Do I have to complete every single quest and every single mission if I've been late to join the game? Are there minimums? Maybe recommended minimums?

Can I do them in whichever order I please? Or do they build on the previous ones?

Can I participate just by helping others? We need everything, of course, but most of the times, in social innovation or whatever, we act by helping those who are already at work. To do that we'd need some kind of "map" of what others are doing, so that we can actively and personally _select_ where to help. http://www.ted.com/talks/derek_sivers_how_to_start_a_movement.html

Of course, that might have the effect of creating a power distribution of "jobs", with a few famous ones and most forgotten in the long tail. So there would be a way to access those "not famous ones": by recent, random, by continent or country or age group or keywords, or whatever. The "ignored and stuck" ones should be able to ask for specific help.

Also, while we're at it, I find the categories for awarding, giving or earning points a bit confusing. How's something "innovative", "corageous", "helpful" or whatever those categories are? Maybe it's just me.

There's lots to be learned about how this game is playing out. Is there a place for "lessons learned"? I guess there is, or will be!

Also, there could be a place to "reflect", as leaders and coworkers and helpers, about how we feel about what we're doing. What kind of world-changer am I? Do I feel blocked when finding information, when imagining, when acting? Why? Others feel the same way, so how do they go about it? A sort of "inner powers" place. Maybe even "personal lessons-learned". This "layer" might be overkill, or maybe not.

Much of this tells us about the structure of the game. It could be a bit more obvious, perhaps? It's built on Ning, but what would it look like if designed from scratch? Do people feel at ease in a FaceBook-like interface, or would some prefer something ultrasimple like Twitter, or more likely something in between? Is there a wiki to create a mockup? Is there a specific challenge in "designing the next version of the game", perhaps?

Ok, that's a bit much for a single entry, but this Urgent Evoke is really interesting. Probably off-topic but I couldn't help it and got carried away. :-)
Gabriel, exactly right! There needs to be a few pointers to 'places of interest' such as the Rest Stop, list of official projects, etc. I hope people will recommend more and I can append a list. I personally don't have time to go hunting through all the conversations to find all the interesting and relevant stuff that is happening.

Lucas, as ever your posts are interesting and thoughtful, but in this case I can only reply that my students are people with relatively poor English and not much time. I think your points are more directly related to 'how can Evoke be improved next time around?' rather than 'what can we do to make it easier today?' I think that's a wh*** different topic, and one that I'm sure we'll spend a lot of time on in the coming months.

Of course, there is always the unanswered question of what Evoke is really trying to achieve. is the objective to raise awareness among the maximum number of people worldwide? Or is it to identify the small percentage of people that have the energy, skills, and motivation to effect change? Maybe the non-ease of experience is simply the first test, designed to keep the numbers manageable?

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