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EVOKE was developed by the World Bank Institute, the learning and knowledge arm of the World Bank Group, and directed by alternate reality game master Jane McGonigal.

The 4 rules of EVOKING

Posted by Alchemy on 21 Feb under How to EVOKE, Investigation Files

How do you EVOKE? There are only four rules.

Live by these rules, and you will become a master social innovator.

Rule #1. “I tackle social problems.”

What are social problems? They’re big problems that affect society as a whole, and not just individuals — problems like hunger, poverty, climate change and disease. Solving a social problem means making life better for an entire community.

What social problems should I tackle? Here are three ways to start picking a social problem that matters most to you. Try one, or try them all.

To EVOKE, you must find a social problem that you care about — and that you want to help solve.

Rule #2. “I don’t just make, I innovate.”

What’s innovation? It’s the process of bringing something new and better into existence. Something cheaper, or faster, or stronger, or more efficient, or more fun, or more sustainable, or safer, or more just.

Innovation is risky. It means trying things that might not work. It means learning from failure, and not giving up.

When innovation works, it makes people say “wow.” It’s not just different. It’s transformative. It changes what other people think is possible.

Here are some innovators who are defying expectations of what’s possible.

To EVOKE, you must believe that you can make possible in the future something that is impossible today.

Rules #3. “I’m ready for a venture.”

It’s not enough to have a good idea. You have to make that idea real.

You make it real by starting a venture.

What’s a social venture? It’s a business that helps you change the world. It turns your creative idea into a solution other people can use.

Social ventures combine the passion to make a difference with a business-like discipline.

Here are some guides to brainstorming a venture, and creating a business plan:

To EVOKE, you must share your best ideas and take action to make your solutions real.

Rule #4. “I go wherever I am needed most.”

Social innovation can happen anywhere.

It is most urgently needed in the developing world.

Every community has unique challenges to overcome.  Your goal is to solve problems with a local community, and not for the community. So learn about local needs, local values, and local resources.

There are developing areas on every continent. Explore some of the places that need your world-changing ideas here.

To EVOKE, you must learn about the unique challenges of communities all over the developing world — and create solutions that work locally.

Remember these four rules as you embark on your social innovation adventures — and you will EVOKE to great success.

9 Responses to “The 4 rules of EVOKING”

  1. uberVU - social comments

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by avantgame: Wondering what it means to EVOKE? http://blog.urgentevoke.net/2010/02/21/the-4-rules-of-evoking/...

  2. Matt

    Super information,I have bookmarked this site for future and will keep a eye on your other posts. Thank you

  3. mpumi

    the real problem we are facing in nawar days are deseases and if we can try to come up we the solution to this we can try to do some thing as the youth of today some thing like we can gather during weekend and visit hospitals and assiste whre we can

  4. Peter Han

    Seems to be missing a few rules and perhaps overstating a few others. Sure innovation is great, but replication and adaption can also address social problems. We don’t need to allocate the world’s resources on re-inventing solutions that are already in existence. Sometimes, we can solve a real need by applying an existing solution from somewhere else with local adaptation.

    A rule that is missing is to be alert to cultural and political systems, not just technological and economic considerations when addressing social problems. Real world problems usually need to be solved through a systemic effort at changing the existing ecosystem. A lone technology solution is seldom sufficient and might even cause unintended harm.

    Peter Han

  5. Nangar Soomro

    I agree with Peter Han but want to submit that All the innovations existing if possible suited to local conditions is also addition in innovation and can work. Yes we need both Innovations and additions in innovations already done.


  6. dominique sermon

    the words you speak are absolutely after two years of model unite nations i have learned about these importance of the broader subjects to the narrow ones in order to come up with a fool proof solution .

  7. Liz MCLellan

    Peter – I so agree. Our idea is not technical – it’s just a slight shift in how we relate to each other and the planet.

    Local food is important for many reasons but primarily because our current system relies on cheap oil. We have space all around us – especially in the US but we also work long hours.

    Setting up a yard sharing group uses tech but allows people to share time, strength, tools, seeds, plants, and the fruit and veg they grow together. Everyone wins. Everyone eats better. Everyone saves money. Many hands make light work. Its a simple social shift. We don’t need to make it on a huge scale but one on one – with our friend or family members or if we are adventurous NEW friends and neighbors.

  8. Turil

    I’d like to suggest that personal problems are social problems, because we are all both related and similar. It’s very likely that my personal problems are shared by a large percentage of other humans, and even by many individuals of many other species as well, since the needs for health – mental and physical – for all life are essentially the same: nutritious food, clean water, fresh air, warmth, light, and the freedom to express ourselves (poop, pee, exhale, radiate, locomote, etc.). ALL problems in life are a derivative of lacking these basic necessities, though we humans are pretty good at being creative and coming up with astoundingly complex versions of them! :-) So with humans it might take a bit of effort to really get to the root of the problem, but it’s definitely possible to find the problematic roots, especially when you know what those roots look like.

    So yeah, don’t ever discount working on your own personal problems, because, having solved them with your creativity and intelligence, you are guaranteed to have also come up with a solution to social problems, which is just awesome!

  9. Urgent Evoke » EVOKATIONS – FAQ!

    [...] What are the criteria on which the EVOKATIONS will be judged? We will be looking for individuals and teams who have a clear and specific plan for solving a social problem, creatively. In particular, your EVOKATION should follow the 4 rules of EVOKING. [...]

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