Ruckus Nation Celebration!

Mar 18, 2008, 10:31 AM, Posted by Susan Promislo

Ruckus Nation announced its grand prize winner today -- congratulations to Stacy Cho, a Seattle middle school teacher, for rising to the top of 429 entries with her "Dancing Craze" game idea and landing the top prize of $50,000! 

“Dancing Craze” is an interactive game with wearable motion sensors that make your virtual character come alive as you show off your real-world dance moves. It lets you pick your music, record your moves and share your virtual dance video online. With “Dancing Craze,” you can also create group dances or test your skills by mimicking videos from other players, and log on to the “Dancing Craze” website to see whose moves are voted number one.

Moments after finding out she won, Stacy said:  "I wake up every day and look for ways to motivate kids. I looked around at the games kids were playing and realized that the piece that was missing was physical activity. My idea is all about movement and music and fun to get kids moving." 

When she learned about Ruckus Nation, she encouraged her students at Island Middle School to enter, and then got inspired to enter herself.  The idea came to her in the middle of the night.  "You always think of the best things when you’re sleeping, right?  Kids are obsessed right now with games, with Dance Dance Revolution and Guitar Hero. We even have Rock Band at our house. I just started trying to think of what else I wish they had, and I thought, ‘Why can’t a game respond to my movements or actions?’"

HopeLab founder and board chair Pam Omidyar had this to say about the competition to find ingenious ideas to get kids more physically active -- "We learned from our experience with Re-Mission that if you lead with fun, health will follow...Ruckus Nation continues that tradition. HopeLab’s commitment to quality research and innovation will ensure that the creative thinking put forward in Ruckus Nation is put to great use to help kids.”  Indeed, the next step is for HopeLab to test the winning idea for its viability as a product that could be prototyped and brought to market.

The awards ceremony took place at the de Young Museum in Golden Gate Park, and our own Paul Tarini was on hand to help judge finalist entries and speak at the ceremony.  Congratulations to the winners and to HopeLab -- it was exciting to see the creativity from so many teams around the world.  Ruckus Nation always challenged people to believe that "Your idea could start a movement."  Hopefully, the ideas it generated will help sustain a movement to direct innovation toward helping kids lead healthier lives.

This commentary originally appeared on the RWJF Pioneering Ideas blog.