Concepting Craze

If I tell you not to think about a dancing monkey, then what will happen? You are thinking about a dancing monkey now, aren’t you? This is exactly what happens when trying to come up with the greatest idea ever thought of. By focusing too much on the outcome, your mind gets blocked and interesting thoughts might get lost. So, we decided to do multiple brainstorming sessions that would help us to think outside of the box and to just let our minds go. We came up with some crazy ideas during these sessions, some that are usable, but also some that might not really work.


As Sandro already explained in the previous blogpost; we are developing a game. But what kind of game? Looking at our problem statement and the amazing meetings with John, we immediately agreed that whatever game we are going to develop: it should convey our devotion for helping the informal sector and subsequently, enforcing a decentralized approach.


First issue we came up with is the knowledge gap that is common in every layer of society. ‘Segregation, what is that? How should I segregate? And why should I segregate? Would it make any difference?’ Most people do not know what is happening with their garbage after it leaves their house, and how this affects other people’s lives. Other people really do not care about what is happening with their garbage, as long as it is out of their sight. Trying to confront people with the consequences of this ‘blindness’ is one of our main goals when developing this game.


Secondly, we would like people to understand the current infrastructure and their crucial role in this. DWCCs are fairly new and as our research showed, they are not all well functioning, due to a lack of inflow of dry waste. What citizens often fail to grasp is their crucial part in the waste disposal chain. The BBMP can set up these buildings, but if citizens do not decide to take their (segregated) waste there, the whole effort gets lost. During our project we have often heard ‘But if I’m the only one doing it will never make a difference’. But 99 plastic bottles is one less than 100, so even though it looks like you are looking for a needle in a haystack, you actually are making a difference.


The last major point that we think is of great importance, is to create discussion around the subject. Too long has the problem been ignored. But in order to solve the problem, one should first acknowledge the existence of the problem. You cannot fix something that is not there. When creating a game, this should spark discussion between the different players and make them think and understand different perspectives of the problem.


So how do we get these points across in a game? We came up with multiple ideas: ‘Find the trashcan in the city’, ‘segregate as much garbage as you can in 2 minutes’, ‘run an economic feasible DWCC’, ‘play a truck driver and pick up waste and transport it to a DWCC’ or ‘role play a SWM commissioner’. As we do not have time to work out all of these (unfortunately), we made a selection of two ideas that we want to work with. The first one would be a role playing game, as we strongly feel that, this will convey all points noted above. This game would help the players to extent their own perspective of the problem to maybe a scrap dealer, rag picker, SWM commissioner, NGO, contractor, truck driver and do on and so forth. The second idea we had was a game that let’s you play the role of a DWCC manager. You would have to try and run a feasible business, in order to win the game. This kind of game will give the players insights in the problems surrounding the DWCCs and the importance of their existence.


But even though we now have a more clear idea of what kind of game we would like to develop, translating these raw ideas into tangible ideas presents a new challenge. A game is often an abstraction of reality and as the problem is very complex, we will have to decide what aspects of the problem can be sidelined in order for us to convey the main goal of the game. Therefore, next week we will shift our focus to thinking about the game mechanics! 🙂

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