In the News

April 2012

Online game seeks to alleviate poverty

On April 3 and 4, The Rockefeller Foundation and the Institute for the Future (IFTF) joined forces with people across the world asking them to help solve global poverty through an interactive online game. Dubbed Catalysts for Change, the game seeks to generate ideas for triggering innovations that will enable millions of people to find their way out of poverty.

Over 1.2 billion people around the world are still living in extreme poverty. “The public, private and social sectors have worked to tackle poverty, vulnerability and exclusion for years,” said Dr. Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation. “While the lives of countless people and communities have been transformed as a result, the persistent level of poverty and vulnerability that remains requires new and innovative thinking. Using technology to engage a new set of actors from all over the world will provide unique perspectives, allowing us to identify new ways to solve problems and address poverty at its root causes that will make a significant difference to those living in poor or vulnerable communities.”

The initiative tests a new way of solving global problems and developing solutions. Using cutting-edge gaming principles and collaboration techniques, Catalysts for Change creates an opportunity for people everywhere to contribute their unique perspectives, opening the way for a better understanding of the root causes of poverty.

“Games are powerful tools for breaking through the limits of our thinking. They use competition to build cooperation and, as games spread across the Internet, they provide a great platform for linking ideas around the world for a common purpose,” noted Jane McGonigal, Chief Creative Officer at SuperBetter Labs and designer of the IFTF Catalysts for Change gaming platform.

Catalysts for Change leverages simple 140-character messages in a game of play cards. Each card captures an idea, and participants build on one another’s ideas, starting a chain reaction of innovations and solutions. Ideas generated during the trial will be featured in an online game on an interactive map that already offers over 600 examples of innovative approaches to challenges that poor communities around the world face.

First Philippine Traditional Textile Gallery

(Photo: National Museum Textile Gallery)
Legogong, Backstrap loom, South Cotabato/T'boli,
Senator Loren Legarda Collection.

In late March, the National Museum of the Philippines opened the nation’s first gallery for indigenous Philippine textiles, according to a report from the Thai News Service. The Hibla ng Lahing Filipino (Traditional Philippine Textile Gallery) brings together fabrics (as well as weaving apparatus) including the Abel Iloko from Vigan, Tinguian blanket from Abra, Gaddang garments from Ifugao, textiles from Polomok, South Cotabato and Maranao, and garments from Southern Mindanao. In his remarks at the gallery’s opening, Senator Loren Legarda, Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Cultural Communities, said that the gallery tells the story of the diverse cultural traditions that connect Filipinos and which reveal the country’s national identity.

Documenting traditional practices

The Indian State of Assam recently joined up with Stanford University to document its rich culture, traditional knowledge, customs and indigenous practices. At the inauguration of the Institute of Research and Documentation of Indigenous Studies (IRDIS), the State’s Chief Minister, Mr. Tarun Gogoi, said “the Institute has been conceived to carry out research and documentation on indigenous practices of ethnic and indigenous communities in the state,” according to a report by Sarkaritel. The work undertaken by IRDIS in collaboration with Stanford University, he noted, would empower these communities socially, economically and culturally. IRDIS and Stanford University are expected to carry out a range of studies on the way of life of the tribal and indigenous communities. The knowledge resource that evolves from these studies will be stored in a database for future reference.

Smart milk cartons coming soon

The chances are that within a year you will be able to buy milk in cartons that change color when they have been left out of the fridge for too long. Tetra Pak, the world’s largest packaging company, is working on a chip that can be embedded into packages to provide information – such as how long a carton has been out of the fridge – according to a report in the Financial Times. So-called smart cartons are an example of growing innovation in the USD400 billion packaging industry. Tetra Pak has patents on some 5,100 packets and spends 4 percent of sales on research and development (R&D), supporting 11 R&D centers around the world according to a company press release. In an endeavor to cut costs, meet sustainability criteria and serve emerging markets, packaging companies are using less material. “Resources are becoming scarcer and, with costs being higher, it is important… to do more with less”, said Dennis Jönsson, the company’s chief executive.

New trailer launched to battle online pirates

In an attempt to boost anti-piracy sentiment among cinema goers, Universal Pictures UK and the Industry Trust for IP Awareness are launching a special trailer cut using content from the studio’s upcoming blockbuster, Battleship. The trailer is part of the Industry Trust for IP Awareness campaign entitled “Moments Worth Paying For”, according to a report in the Hollywood Reporter. Using film content, the trailer turns the camera on the audience and captures their emotions while watching the film. The 30-second spot will be shown in all UK cinemas for an eight-week period ending in early May. Niels Swinkels, Managing Director of Universal Pictures UK, said that showcasing a blockbuster film like Battleship “reinforces the notion that films like this are made to be seen on the big screen and deepens cinemagoers’ understanding that their support is essential for us to continue to deliver such unique experiences.” Liz Bales, Director General of the Industry Trust for IP Awareness, said “using new release content to engage with our audience on the important issue of copyright infringement is a proven approach embraced by both the film and TV industries. We feel certain it will provide great benefits to the marketing of the release while continuing the great strides made in changing attitudes and consumer behavior around copyright theft.”

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