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Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest

Compassion is the bridge that connects and unifies humanity. We strengthen that bridge.

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*Please Upload User Experience Map (as attachment) and any additional Beneficiary Feedback in this field

The "User Experience Map" video above summarizes the user/player journey of discovery and participation. Here is the Improve Phase summary: Note: the Compassion Games are played by anyone of any age, location, and culture and include people in all walks of life. Our 1 ideal user is based on the true story of an amazing Champion of Compassion: Here's the Feedback doc: Here's the User Experience Map doc:

Explain your project idea in two sentences.

The Compassion Games creatively engages people to address urgent local and global issues by implementing acts of compassion and community service. Players challenge one another in five annual games.

What is your organization name? Explain your organization in one sentence.

Compassion Games International builds compassion action, skill, and impact at local & global levels.

Is this project idea new for you or your organization? If no, how much have you already executed on?

The Games evolved to meet community demand since 2012 & incorporated in 2014. Since then, 16 coopetitions have been organized with 1,000+ teams, spanning 53 countries, serving 5+ million people. We now aim to ignite a viral participatory campaign, making compassion a global force for good.

What is the problem you aim to solve with this idea? How would you define this problem as urgent and a priority in your target community?

Compassion is an antidote to the fear, social isolation, division, loss of civility, & disconnection of our time. Through compassionate action we find common ground to live well together in a diverse world & to collaborate effectively to address the complex local & global challenges we face.

What is the timeline for your project idea? What are the key steps for implementation in the next 1-3 years?

Design and launch Compassionate Cities League and Global Unity Compassion Games: Building Bridges in June. Play in September. Scale annual Coopetitions. Over next 3 years - grow the League's: Compassionate Cities, Youth & Schools, Indigenous Peoples; advance the platform (integrated report maps, sign-up process, multilingual website, app development); stabilize core funding; establish customized Games for businesses and organizations; cultivate media partnerships.

Describe the individual or team that will implement this idea (if a partnership, please explain breakdown of responsibility).

We are a non-profit led by a mostly volunteer core group of innovative social network entrepreneurs and compassion enthusiasts that has grown organically from a “compassion challenge” from two US Mayors to supporting a global platform and experience accessible to all ages, cultures, and communities.

What do you need the most support with in this project idea?

  • Business Development/Partnerships

What is your primary goal over the next 6 weeks of Refinement?

  • Get feedback from experts

How do you currently measure (or plan to measure) results for this project?

We measure the number of Players and Partners & their participation on the Compassion Report Map. Players report their impact (# of volunteers, # of hours served, # of people served, & monies raised for local and global causes). We will include social progress indicators measuring the wellbeing of individuals and communities and shared prosperity. We will add measures that include social and mainstream media engagement and message reach. We will request & integrate ongoing public feedback.

How has your project proposal changed due to your user research during the Beneficiary Feedback Phase?

The feedback phase has encouraged us to consider all aspects of the Compassion Games workflow, and whatever needs to change to take this to scale. New partners were identified, including via OpenIDEO. We fine-tuned our focus for the next 3 years, balancing our attention between our platform and grassroots, community advancement. We enhanced how we communicate about our mission and our team.

(Optional) What are some of your still unanswered questions or concerns about this idea?

What don't we know, the knowing of which would enable us to spark a viral self-replicating participation? What is the appropriate financial model(s) that can move the project to scale? How do we ensure that everyone can participate?

During this Improve Phase, please use the space below to add any additional information to your proposal.

Here is the Improve Phase Summary document HERE IS AN EXCERPT: We are grateful to OpenIDEO and the GHR Foundation for visioning and putting forth the BridgeBuilder Challenge. It's a gift to work together to design and innovate for the global good. Thank you! The following summarizes the Compassion Games participation in the "Improve Phase." We highlight the changes we've made so far and our plans for the next three years. We see a great fit with OpenIDEO/GHR and share how we think we meet the criteria and offer a few possibilities for how we might grow together. Here is the Improve Phase Summary document The Power of Feedback Participating in the OpenIDEO BridgeBuilder Challenge empowered us to solicit and integrate feedback in a way that has already improved and will continue to improve the Games for our Players and Partners as well as the Leadership Team that organizes the Games. The Games are grassroots and community-driven. We routinely welcome and ask for beneficiary feedback via informal conference calls and face-to-face meetings with participants and other beneficiaries. In 2017, we instituted an online “chat” feature on our website to receive and respond to feedback in real-time. In this past month as part of the OpenIDEO process, we challenged ourselves to receive feedback from sources we had not previously heard from or who had no previous experience with the Compassion Games. This opened up a variety of perspectives and comments that will inspire, transform and guide the participants as well as the Compassion Games Leadership team to expand our creativity and respond to new ideas. During the Feedback Phases of the Challenge, we received over 100 meaningful comments. We summarized them in a document and cataloged them for review, and shared selected ones via social media to attract more feedback. For us, the feedback phases became much more than soliciting suggestions. The feedback opened our hearts and minds to appreciate what the Games have come to be and offered key insights and pathways for the Games to expand and grow. Consequently, we now see the need for having a more formal feedback loop in place as a basis for ongoing improvements and enhancements. The input we received in the Feedback phases has affirmed that the Compassion Games engages communities all over the globe while building bridges across cultural, national and generational divides. The Games inspire individuals and groups to take on collective action and community service, making a difference in local communities, in a new and exciting way. One Expert said: “This is a really interesting model, which has clearly already built considerable scale. Well done! Impressive both for numbers involved and their global spread. I haven’t seen anything at this scale before quite like this!” In other comments, people wanted the Compassion Games to be of the same importance, global prominence and participation as the Olympics. We feel that this feedback supports our goal of bringing the Compassion Games to scale to serve 100 million people within the next 3 years. To help us in expanding the Games, the beneficiary and expert feedback also identified areas in which we could improve. Based on the input, we are planning many changes to our Game Design Framework and Global Community Platform. Through an inclusive design approach, we will address accessibility and usability issues by including multiple languages, support for players with various abilities, and create ways for players that do not have internet access to be able to report. We will also enable participants to connect with each other and share their stories on the Compassion Report Map via social media. As we make improvements, we will gather feedback, learn, and continue to restructure the Games, so they become easier and easier for people to understand, play, and share. We will embrace “design thinking” strategies and share “design thinking” resources via our website. We aim to develop the Games so that players and teams gain personal and collective benefit from participating, see the value of compassionate action in their communities, and connect with each other to amplify and synchronize the collective impact. Here is the complete Improve Phase Summary document

Note that you may also edit any of your previous answers within the proposal. Here is a great place to note any big final changes or iterations you have made to your proposal below:

We have learned a lot! Here is the complete Improve Phase Summary document

We propose that the “bridging work” of our time may be “bridging play” to build bridges to peace, prosperity, and planet by “playing with compassion”.  

Here is the Improve Phase Summary document:

Welcome to the Compassion Games: Survival of the Kindest.  

Compassion Games International promotes and strengthens new narratives of citizen power through the lens and experience of compassion. Compassion is an antidote to the fear, division, disconnection and social isolation of our time. Scientific research abounds in revealing the intrinsic value of compassion in supporting civil society as well as individual people to flourish.

As a profound source of empowerment within each of us, doing compassionate acts as part of a community challenge inspires us to connect authentically with one another, rejuvenating our spirits as we actively live into a positive vision of our world, together. 

We see compassion as the power-source for a positive social narrative and that compassionate acts transcend boundaries that divide people and institutions. 

With your help we can take this to scale, to extend and enhance community-level change by increasing the number of participating communities; and increasing the quality of life for the players and partners and those they serve within each of their communities.

The following six impacts offer a way to appreciate and anticipate the benefits of participation in the Compassion Games:

1. Catalyst to Ignite Engagement: The Compassion Games reframe play and competition by turning “competitive altruism” and “friendly-competition” into “coopetition” amongst and between different teams to create excitement and motivate interest in participating.

2. Amplifier of What’s Already Working: The Compassion Games can strengthen and amplify what is already working in a community.  Weaving together existing events and activities from different groups and organizations catalyzes a shared collective impact. The Compassion Games also inspires new events and activities that build upon existing efforts.

3. Framework and Baseline for Measuring Compassion Strength: The Compassion Games measure community service through the number of volunteers, hours of service, monies raised for local causes, and numbers of people served.  Results create a baseline for building a team’s compassion impact and value over time, strengthening our individual and collective “compassion muscles”.

4. Engaging Environment for Reflection and Learning: The Compassion Games offer a means for engagement and reflection which transfers the experiences from the Games to the real world. Composing and sharing Compassion Reports that include these reflections helps players build the skills needed to act more effectively and compassionately with ourselves and our communities.

5. Platform for Cultivating Open Participation: The Compassion Games offer an open-source, “Do-It-Ourselves” creative platform. The Games tap into a growing capacity and desire to engage with compassion in ways that go beyond theory and passive consumption.  The Games are open, participatory, peer-driven, and a thriving example of open-source collaboration.

6. Connection to a Global Movement: The Compassion Games are a part of an international compassion movement that inspires participation in something greater than oneself. The Compassion Games help us to understand, connect, and learn from each other while co-creating a global culture of kindness.

Results to Date

Explain your idea

In five annual Compassion Games, competition becomes coopetition as teams and individuals challenge one another to strive together to make our planet a better place to live through community service, acts of kindness, and raising monies for local and global causes. Each of the five annual Games are organized around a theme (i.e. global unity, youth and schools, social equity, interfaith cooperation and earth stewardship) or a globally synchronized event such as a Solstice or Equinox. The Games amplify what is already working in our communities and inspires increased engagement, leading to new activities that bring compassion to life and improve our well-being. Based upon just what's reported on the Compassion Report Map, in the past five years almost 500,000 agents of compassion have directly served over 5 million people in over 40 countries and donated over $80 million dollars to local and global causes. Each coopetition begins with organizing teams of players. The teams identify creative ways they can engage in compassionate action. They consider all 3 dimensions of compassion: caring for others, self, and the Earth. Compassionate actions can range from personal acts of kindness to community service projects. Examples include everything from creating and distributing “compassion currency” within a school district, implementing strategies to end homelessness for veterans, coming together to clean up hate graffiti and install a bench at a mosque, to community service such as revitalizing a downtown, creating a food drive and rehabilitating a trail. From prisons, to schools, faith and interfaith congregations, businesses, non-profit organizations, Tribes and government agencies the Games strengthen and communicate what's positively working and provides a framework to benchmark and measure a community's collective capacity to serve. Then the coopetition gets into full gear as teams carry out their projects. Players and teams reflect upon the outcomes and impacts of their participation and post on a report map the number of volunteers, people served, volunteer hours, and monies raised.

Who Benefits?

We are building an open, participatory, peer-driven collaborative platform that communities, organizations, businesses, governments and individuals use to catalyze volunteering and service. It is being enthusiastically used to bridge peace, prosperity, and the planet. From prisons to schools, faith and interfaith congregations, businesses, non-profit organizations, Tribes and government agencies, the Games strengthen and communicate what's positively working and inspires increased engagement, leading to new activities that bring compassion to life. Anyone can play the Games.

How is your idea unique?

We live, organize and play in the largest "compassion competitions" in the world. "Life games reflect life aims." The Games are an antidote to the Hunger Games of our times. The Games reframes competition. You cannot lose the Compassion Games. By playing and sharing together we manifest win-win co-creative solutions. The Compassion Games are infinite games. and the more people play, the more people win!

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Full-scale roll-out: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the users I am trying to reach with my idea. I am ready to expand the pilot significantly.

Tell us more about you

The Compassion Games is made up of the Leadership Team who are the working life-force and organizers of the Games, Mentors who guide and support the development of the Games, and Luminaries who light the way with their vision for a compassionate world. Learn more below about the diverse group of people who make the Compassion Games possible here

Expertise in sector

  • 5-7 years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.
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Team (12)

Lesa R.'s profile
Lesa R. Walker MD, MPH

Role added on team:

"Dr. Walker is the Founder of Compassionate Austin and member of the Compassion Games Leadership Team."

Jon's profile
Joey's profile
Joey Crotty

Role added on team:

"Joey is a member of the Compassion Games Leadership Team."

Adil's profile
Adil Kassam

Role added on team:

"Adil is a co-founder of Unify"

Marilyn's profile
Marilyn Turkovich

Role added on team:

"Marilyn is the Executive Director of the Charter for Compassion."

Brioné's profile
Brioné LaThrop

Role added on team:

"Brione is a co-founder of Compassionate United Arab Emirates."

Sommer's profile
Sommer Albertsen

Role added on team:

"Sommer is a member of the Compassion Games Leadership Team."

Phil's profile
Phil Lane

Role added on team:

"Hereditary Chief Phil Lane Jr. is Chairperson of the Compassion Games International."

Seren's profile
Seren Dalkiran

Role added on team:

"Co-founder of the Synergized Earth Network. Initiator Millennial Motion: The Next Generation of Leadership."

Pearl's profile
Pearl Gottschalk

Role added on team:

"Former Charitable Giving Ambassador at LUSH Cosmetics and Refugee Advisor to the World Bank."

Yan's profile
Scott's profile
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Attachments (4)


This is our "Improve Phase" summary and final submission. This integrates the feedback from beneficiaries and experts.

OpenIDEO Comments.pdf

This document contains selected comments that we have received during the beneficiary feedback phase. If you are looking for the User Experience Map go here If you are looking for the consolidated feedback we are synthesizing go here

CGI User Experience Map.pdf

This document has slides that walks through the user experience from discovering the Games, signing up to play, playing, reporting, and sharing. The feedback that we are gaining from this phase is organized in this online document

IDEOGUG2017 (1).pdf

This is the original submission.


Join the conversation:

Photo of OpenIDEO

Hi Jon and Team!

We’re excited to share with you feedback and questions from the BridgeBuilder team and an external set of experts. We encourage you to think about this feedback as you continue to improve and refine your idea. You are welcome to respond in the comments section and/or to incorporate feedback into the text of your idea. Your idea and all associated comments will all be reviewed during the final review process.

One expert shared: “This is a really interesting model, which has clearly already built considerable scale. Well done! Impressive both for numbers involved and their global spread. I haven’t seen anything at this scale before quite like this!”

When thinking about desirability, feasibility and viability here’s what experts shared:
• One expert shared: “Yes it would be desirable if it encourages more people to get involved with acts of compassion. From your record it appears to be feasible and for a greater scale what additional resources would be needed? What would your plan for this look like.”

Human-centered design starts with the people you’re designing for and ends with new solutions that are tailor-made to suit their real needs. How does this idea consider user needs?
• Yes!

Outstanding comments and questions:
• The challenge is to scale it beyond those who already are involved in this work and how might you encourage more people to participate?
• How do you ensure that the main focus is on the needs of the recipient and not the person practicing compassion? I would like to know how the recipient of these compassionate acts is brought into the process and has a say on the compassion 'being done' to them. Otherwise my concern is that it might give the impression of an unequal power dynamic rather than the intended empowerment and collaboration.

Thank you so much for sharing the important work you are doing!

In case you missed it, check out this Storytelling Toolkit for inspiration for crafting strong and compelling stories: Storytelling is an incredibly useful tool to articulate an idea and make it come to life for those reading it. Don’t forget - June 16 at 11:59PM PST is your last day to make changes to your idea on the OpenIDEO platform.

Have questions? Email us at

Looking forward to reading more!

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