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Cards Against AD - a game of playing cards, with optional app/AR expandability

I provide innovation ideas to for-profit and non-profit organizations by leveraging my prior experience in healthcare, neuroscience.

Photo of Mitul Sarkar
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Please elaborate on your proposed solution to the challenge in no more than 300 words.

How do you cope with atopic dermatitis (AD)? Being bullied about your skin? The strain of suffering AD can wear down many a patient and caregiver/parent. How does one stay upbeat when outbreaks are embarrassing? How does one look forward to enjoying a school day, an outing in the park, mall or zoo, or even an invitation to the neighborhood BBQ or to a birthday party? >>>>> CARDS AGAINST AD is a card game suitable for parents, kids with AD, school classmates etc. Cards may be purchased or printed off an online PDF. I also envision game extensions via a mobile browser-app on phones, i.e. not dependent on the operating system used. Story cards feature a real patient's words about dealing with AD (or tips, or "how to" suggestions, inspiring takes, etc). A video/audio narration or more content may be launched from the card using augmented reality. Situation cards feature a situation or a question that a sufferer might encounter- with tips to handle it and to help families discuss it. Here, AR can launch a skit/dramatization, or narration, or let a user upload one's own (#community spirit!). Direction cards are used to change the direction of the game, so that the discussion does not get monotonous or repetitive. The pure game aspect, which can be played independent of any AD discussion, involves interesting puzzles that inspire younger and older players to prioritize, assert their views, challenge others, etc (for e.g. see Amazon item B07DF6XGNV aka Illusion : optical pattern).

What is the name of your organization?

So far, I have one non-profit partner.

I did try others, too. Given I don't have the big name recognition that, say, OpenIDEO or Sanofi enjoy, getting through to a non-profit's hierarchy isn't as easy as Sanofi thinks :-) When it comes to attracting a partner and getting funded, it's like a "first chicken or egg" problem.

Where are you and your organization based?

Annapolis, MD. USA.

Please provide a description of your organization.

I, along with my network of thinkers/solvers from various backgrounds, provide innovation ideas to for-profit as well as non-profit organizations.

What is your name?

Dr. Mitul Sarkar

Tell us about your organization, or the organization you are partnering with: What inspired you to participate in this Challenge (300 words or less)?

My primary partner non-profit organization will be The Diana Award, registered as a charity in England and Wales. It's mission "is to develop and inspire positive change in the future of young people," honoring the legacy of the late Lady Diana, Princess of Wales. The organization has also been at the forefront of anti-bullying initiatives among young people in the UK and beyond ( ). I am inspired to partner with it because it already has a presence and credibility in schools and communities, and has already built its youth ambassador program and trainers for its anti-bullying work.

I am also working on bringing in advisors/experts from The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley ( ), because I admire their (neuro)science-based approaches to positivity in life and in disease. Confronting the negativity, fear and anger that underlie bullying, especially bullying of dermatitis sufferers, requires that we increase positivity within sufferers and also nudge bullies towards knowledge, empathy and positivity.

Building on your initial proposal in the Ideas Phase, please share additional information on your solution to the challenge in more detail (500 words or less).

The Diana Award, which has a separate shortlisted proposal also under consideration in this Challenge, has previously successfully implemented a peer-to-peer model in which young people, as either Ambassadors or volunteers, serve as role models and speak out against bullying in their schools, communities and online. The game design, build, iterative testing, etc will all be carried out within these communities.

I am also excited about the possibility of talented tech-savvy youth creating some of the augmented reality features. For example, there are tools they can use to build augmented reality experiences/infotainment on the S/Hero badge, such as
The Diana Award's own community networks, as well as other people and communities elsewhere might come together to "create solutions for good" and in the process learn more about atopic dermatitis, the challenges faced by sufferers, the importance of tacking bullying, etc. We can see the potential to scale it beyond national borders or the Western world.

Please share more information on the steps you’ll take to make sure the project is a success (500 words or less).

Assuming that a funding guarantee from Sanofi Regeneron is month 0, below is how we tentatively envision the subsequent timeline:
Online and in-communities mobilization of atopic dermatitis sufferers, caregivers and volunteers/supporters, - month 0-3 and ongoing thereafter;
Discussion and polling of community to understand their expectations regarding our game ideas - month 1-4;
Create the game, the printed/virtual materials, and the augmented reality gateway - month 3-6;
Internal workshops and focus groups refine the game, interactive features - month 7-8;
Orders placed for game cards printing - month 8;
Launch the game and atopic dermatitis anti-bullying campaign, potentially with a public inaugration by HRH Prince Harry and/or HRH Prince William in the UK, and online launch for any partner communities/school districts in other nations - month 9;
Feedback Surveys of school children, parents, community volunteers, Ambassadors - month 11, and every 2 or 3 months thereafter.
Re-analyze impact achieved, Apply for further funding from Sanofi Regeneron or potential funders to scale up - month 18.

How is your idea scalable (300 words or less)?

We shall use social media, online patient resource forums and other partnerships (created along the way) to spread the idea to more school districts and nations, and recruit the volunteers and Ambassadors (using the time-tested model that The Diana Award already has in place). Once the game and the interactive experience gateway are created and refined for maximal impact, subsequent tweaks for scaling - for example, the translation of the interactive content into other languages - can be accomplished by a volunteer pool. Thus, once we get the ball rolling, scaling internationally is very feasible.

How would you know if your idea worked and how would you measure it (500 words or less)?

Survey, Survey and Survey. Not just the patients, but also their peers (to gauge the increased empathy, the turn in sentiment against bullying, etc), school teachers/administrators, and our community contacts/volunteers. We will also be able to measure the AR or shortcut URL engaged through the game cards, see the geographical spread and density of game plays, etc, to correlate with our analyses of the surveys.

I also foresee a possibility of working with allergologists and dermatologists to gauge how their patients are reporting their experiences with the disease. Perhaps Sanofi Regeneron can pitch in here?

During the Ideas Phase, you estimated how much your project will cost. Please update if this estimate has changed?

  • $7,000 - 9,999

Please share more information on how the grant funding will be used to bring your idea to life. Please provide an itemized budget. (500 words or less)

Anticipated expenses include:

Game development - $7000;
In-person workshops and community meetups - $2000;
Game materials and flyers - $2000;
Total - $11000

Requested amount - the maximum, i.e. $9999?.

If possible, or if our other S/Heroes proposal is also funded, we may be able to bootstrap or pool some expenses, e.g. travel expenses.


Join the conversation:

Photo of Susan Jackewicz

Good Morning, @Mitul Sarkar
Thank you for sharing your concern about time, effort, and efficiency around the challenge of finding an NGO partner, as an innovator with a vision. May I ask you three questions? For your specific idea, what kind of NGO would be a “best fit” partnership for you....bringing what resources to the table? What would be your ideal expectations from them? Ancillary to that, you reference game design and gamification you have the capacity for design execution, or would you be looking for some one/organization to assist you in the development? Thank you for the continuing conversation! Susan

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