Using online idea-sourcing techniques to drive a discussion about the future of medical research

Billions of dollars are invested in medical research each year. However, the discovery of new treatments and cures for many chronic and life-threatening diseases has not kept pace with the level of investment. Using a new crowdsourcing platform and leveraging the power of online game play, the Myelin Repair Foundation (MRF), a non-profit medical research foundation, and the Institute for the Future brought together a virtual community of experts working both inside and outside of the medical research arena to discuss creative solutions for accelerating the pace of medical research. This idea-generating game designed by the Institute for the Future (IFTF) was played by more than 400 people during two "Breakthroughs to Cures" game periods. Participants were asked to play "cards" that described the best and worst outcomes for a fictitious public health crisis while adding their own thoughts to evolve the narrative. "The game we built for Breakthrough to Cures is designed to generate a sense of urgency and unleash creative ideas for finding ways to speed medical research," says Jane McGonigal, IFTF game designer and creator.

Played in October and November 2010, Breakthroughs to Cures generated over 3000 ideas — brief, 140 character brainstorms — about how to accelerate medical research. Key ideas that emerged are summarized in a detailed analysis and ranged from specific innovation in technology to ideas about how to facilitate social and cultural changes that could advance collaboration.

Grant Details

Amount Awarded $189,430.00

Awarded on: 3/9/2010

Time frame: 4/1/2010 - 3/31/2011

Grant Number: 67062

Grantee

Myelin Repair Foundation Inc.

18809 Cox Avenue, Suite 190
Saratoga, CA, 95070-6618

408-871-2410
Website

Justine B. Lam
Project Director

408-871-2410
Email

Carol L. Menaker
Project Director

408-871-2410
Email

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