Around the world, thousands of teams are designing transformational innovations aimed at tackling complex challenges – from a technology company developing tablets that deliver educational content to Syrian children living in refugee camps; to a Kenyan mango cooperative adopting a new model of transporting their fruit to market; to a Brazilian company producing eco-friendly plastic. What if the teams developing and implementing these solutions had access to a platform that enabled them to learn from each other’s ideas, processes, successes, and failures? The possibilities for real-world impact would be endless.
Such is the power of translational innovation – when a successful idea or solution from one context (e.g., cold chain storage to safely transport vaccines in Europe) is applied and adapted to another context (e.g., transporting perishable fruits and vegetables from farm to market in Sub-Saharan Africa). As author and entrepreneur Frans Johansson explains, “When you step into an intersection of fields, disciplines, or cultures, you can combine existing concepts into a large number of extraordinary new ideas” (Johansson 2004). However, these ideas often fail, not because the idea or solution is poor, but because the team overlooks important aspects of the new context (social, cultural, infrastructural, etc.) that made the idea or solution work in the past.
We want to develop a hybrid platform that merges online gaming with knowledge management to spark translational innovation for social good across diverse teams of innovators, bridging Peace, Prosperity, and Planet. Faced with these complex challenges, teams of innovators use a card game to develop solutions, which they can then share with innovators from other domains or sectors via an online platform that highlights their roadblocks and successes. The result: innovators uncover the building blocks of successful innovations and begin to see how those building blocks could serve as the basis of their own innovative solutions to social, economic, and environmental challenges.