Chocolate Innovation: ending slavery & other delicious opportunities for everyone to play

Three years ago on a plane I dreamt about connecting cacao farmers (especially the unpaid youth age 8-17) with kids who eat chocolate around the world — through GAMES. Now everything in that dream is coming to fruition!

EvoBOOSTERIn 2012 I went to Singularity University‘s graduate program to disrupt slavery & bridge gaps in the education supply chain to make sure that everyone on this planet has access to free learning resources. Eddefy grew out of this work and will be releasing public products for free learning in a few months….and we want to put these tools in the hands of cacao farmers worldwide.

Chocolate makers agree! Last week I won an Innovation Challenge award from the Hershey Company & SU Labs to implement skillbuilding, learning and games to change the way chocolate (and happiness) is delivered by this industry.

If chocolate producers dedicate .25% of their profits for one year we can provide tablets, access and learning opportunities to the hundreds of thousands of youth currently working to grow our chocolate. This starts with one company making a real effort to change the system – Chocolate portraitsHershey’s is starting with the CocoaLink initiative to make sure kids are connected and given every opportunity to learn and grow their skills to create new opportunities. We want to do more, and we need your help!

We want every kid to have access to a healthy future and you play a big part in making this REAL for everyone. We need your insight, expertise and support to grow this opportunity.

I believe that this is the way we will end slavery in our food system….and there are more slaves on this planet now than ever before. Our disconnection from the sources of our food is a divide ready to be bridged in fun, playful ways….and you can help make this real NOW.

Screen Shot 2014-11-07 at 4.38.04 PMWe are working on solutions through Seeds the Game and Eddefy and we invite you to be a part of this journey.

Today’s the last day of crowdfunding for Seeds, the first series of games designed to connect the people who grow food with the people who love to play and eat it! Your gifts will help us go farther and change the way our food is grown on every continent. Help identify and beat pest challenges, share seeds and grow biodiversity at home and on the farm.

We want to grow a world where everyone has access to lifelong learning, healthy food and seeds to grow on. You can help. is a great place to start if you can share today.


39 Strategic Lessons for Creating Great Nonprofit Games

After my last Nonprofits Life event on Gaming our social media team at TechSoup received many questions and requests — I am constantly speaking with leaders who are playing on this field and sorting out the new rules of whatever game we’re playing this week.

I learned so much while hosting this session with Josephine Dorado (JD), Barry Joseph (BJ), Michelle Byrd (MB) and Ben Stokes (BS) that I (EH) shared highlights and lessons learned below. To see the slidecast click Nonprofits Live! GAMES



  1. Games are a $60 billion global industry (MB)
  2. 55% of gamers are now playing on their handheld mobile devices (JD)
  3. The average gamer is 37 years old and almost half are women (JD)
  4. 97% of teenagers in America play games (MB)
  5. 60% of casual gamers are women (MB)


  1. Think about your intended audience first when creating a social impact game (MB)
  2. Games structure participation in vital civic actions like voting, budgeting, advocacy, movement-building, solving major challenges and simulations for disaster preparedness (BS)
  3. Carefully consider context, how and where people will engage with you and why (MB)
  4. Set goals with impact objectives including metrics of success (MB)
  5. Determine the technology platform after designing for audience, context and impact goals (MB)
  6. Experiences that include inspiration, incubation, play and refinement allow for creating new ways to play together in collaboration (JD)
  7. Understand your role in working with professionals, game studios, designers and development team (MB)
  8. Hard Fun = the challenge, strategy may lead to failure, learning and eventually success and innovation (JD, quoting Nicole Lazzaro)
  9. Budgets range widely on nonprofit game projects – corporate entities, educational foundations, learning networks with innovative projects (BJ)


  1. keys include blissful productivity, the social fabric, urgent optimism and epic meaning (JD quoting Nicole Lazzaro and Jane McGonigal)
  2. A dynamic design team will include developers, designers, artists, strategists, community builders, researchers and studies on the success or impact created through gameplay (MB, EH)
  3. Real world games include game dynamics for civic learning, play and performance and crowdsourcing social change (BS)
  4. Games are systems of interaction and human activity – it works for some things and defining the question of what you’re trying to do is essential for success (BS)
  5. Live social actions in gameplay include scavenger hunts, games connected to events, crowdsourcing energy for new actions (EH, BS)
  6. Nonprofits are able to create new systems through gameplay and strategic design (MB)
  7. Designing games as rehearsals for the future includes a clear call to response and ask for the audience to participate (BS, EH)
  8. Games are now an integral component of communication and engagement strategy for nonprofits (MB)
  9. Nonprofits often default to games as communication strategy but this is just the beginning – we can create mass motivation to participate in civic life through gameplay (BS)


  1. Macon Money is one example of a game that creates an alternative currency for real world exchanges in the physical world, similar to economic stimulus (BS)
  2. Farmville and FoldIt (showing the architecture of the AIDS virus) are related in terms of collaboration = crowdsourcing solutions through social play (JD)
  3. Half the Sky, a game in design, is based on Nick Kristof’s bestseller based on social issues in the developing world including virtual goods that tie in with real world goods and actions (MB)
  4. Geocaching allows players to find treasure in nature and map our actions through existing tools like Foursquare, Instagram, QR code readers and AR tools like Layar (JD)
  5. ARIS is used for designing local, geolocative games at Global Kids connected to libraries and schools to talk about the history and issues in their community (BJ)
  6. Transmedia storytelling is shining through projects like Breakthrough: America 2049, an ARG in Facebook that allows for various types of gameplay
  7. Scratch and Game Salad are DIY game tools available for creating games with kids (JD)


  1. To try your hand at game design try the Grow a Game Cards (BS)
  2. Visit to see our wiki of resources including everything featured in this blog post, Causebuilding Games extensive slidedeck and professional connecting points (JD, EH)
  3. Games for Change started emerging in 2004 with Barry Joseph, Ben Stokes and a dynamic development group now led by Michelle Byrd and Asi Burak (BS)
  4. Civic Tripod for Mobile & Games: Activism, Art & Learning by Ben Stokes is published in the International Journal of Learning and Media (BS)
  5. Go to the GamesforChange toolkit to find a full interactive guide to get started in game design (MB & G4C)
  6. Gamestar Mechanic is one game where kids can design in-game around social issues including the Playing for Peace and Media and You challenges (BJ)
  7. HungerCraft explores social inequality using MineCraft as a way to rebuild the world in a game jam event (BJ)
  8. Trackables used in geocaching games are being used to discover opinions on issues related to the 2012 elections (BJ)
  9. Visit has full details on the Global Kids blog about youth-created projects (BJ)

Ask your questions on games and design for nonprofits today at the TechSoup Forums, or hop over to request great products like Adobe CS6 that can help you design great games from your office.

Our next live video episode of Nonprofits Live will happen the third week of July on strategic cloud service navigation and we also invite you to join our event on hosting great Nonprofit Events with Social Media for Nonprofits and Eventbrite on June 20th at 11AM PST.Image