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Game mashes up megatrends through the lens of wicked problems

The Megatrend Mashup card game was developed as part of the digital strategy work being done by the System Transformation team at the Department of Internal Affairs (DIA).

It was created by Lee Dowsett and built out by a team including Sonitha Aniruth, Daniel Talbot, Lisa Zondag, Rehana Mohideen Brown and Natalia Pritchard.

They wanted to find a different, engaging way to help people understand and feel the value of emerging, disruptive technologies like artificial intelligence, blockchains and virtual reality for themselves, rather than being told about them in seminars and presentations.

Megatrend Mashup is a collaborative card game that will help you consider those technologies and, as a thought experiment, apply them to real problems.

In this game, you:

  • face an issue by drawing a problem card
  • gain knowledge by drawing 6 cards that outline megatrends
  • share knowledge with your team about the megatrends you have drawn
  • make a plan to solve the problem using 2 or 3 of the trends.
Image 1: Problem card example

Example of a problem card

Detailed description of diagram

This is an example of a problem card. It covers the topic of social inequality. The text says 'We don’t get the best out of our society because talented people are stopped, suppressed and disadvantaged solely because of their gender, sexuality, race, religion or other factors.'

Image 2: Example of a megatrend card

Example of a megatrend card

Detailed description of diagram

This is an example of a megatrend card. It covers the topic of artificial intelligence.

On the front of the card, the text says 'Artificial intelligence describes computer programs that have the ability to learn, adapt, reason, plan and problem solve to improve how they perform tasks. AI can be trained to recognise and act on pretty much anything, including discerning patterns in information that we can’t. Eventually, it is likely we will be unable to distinguish between a human and an AI as they communicate with us. Why is this so important? AI promises to take a vast amount of tasks that have always been done by humans, and do them better than we can. It will free up our time to use our understanding, judgement and empathy.'

On the back of the card, the text says 'Future Now — Siri is one of the most popular personal assistants, offered by Apple. She assists us to find information, get directions, and much more. Siri uses machine-learning technology in order to get smarter and more able-to-understand natural language questions and requests. Future Next — AI will change the world of healthcare with personalised medicine. AI will be able to provide a diagnosis and use integrated data to recommend the most effective personalised treatment options for the patient. Future Beyond — AI will be used in smart businesses to adapt to the individual worker’s needs allowing performance and happiness to be enhanced.'

After coming up with the initial idea, Lee and the team iterated the rules and flow of the game several times with many participants from within and without DIA.

And now it’s available to everyone.

Play the game yourself

You’ve got a number of options:


We’re releasing these files under the Creative Commons attribution licence (CC-BY). This means you can distribute, remix, tweak and build on this work, even commercially, as long as you credit DIA for the original creation.
CC-BY 4.0 international licence terms

Using a game to engage with emerging tech — blogpost

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