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The Social Corporation

Gaming Dynamics and Mechanics - SM Infrastructure

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Our social media infrastructure is designed to engage users in a meaningful way and harness their creative and collaborative energies for the creation of social value. To accomplish this goal, we depend on several strategic pillars, one of which is gamification: the use of game dynamics as a way to engage individuals.

Game dynamics is the concept by which a body of rules guides human behavior in certain ways. It consists of a framework through which activities become ‘like games’, causing participants to feel a sense of achievement and a feeling of progression as they act in accordance with these rules. It engages the ‘gamers’ in a fundamental way as they work toward a set goal.

The most obvious example for the success of game dynamics is World of Warcraft: 593 million hours have been spent playing this game because of the way the framework makes people feel engaged and connected to a (virtual) cause. The average first world youth will have spent 10,000 hours on games by the time they reach age 21.

Bearing in mind that time is the scarcest resource of all for us humans, think about the following: what if all this time, or at least a significant portion of it, had been spent on achieving a greater good rather than on pure entertainment?

Putting intellectual capital to good use

Every form of voluntary social interaction happens when people follow certain rules in order to accomplish their own individual goals. For example, the ancient practice of ‘the silent trade’ saw strangers exchanging goods with one another without speaking a single word. eBayers trade unwanted items with one another and we all work for ourselves or for others in order to increase our standard of living. None of this would be possible without rules and customs: a framework.

These, and other, forms of voluntary cooperation have arisen spontaneously in the real world and work as well as can be expected. However, in combination with the digital social media infrastructure and social networking framework which we will apply, such voluntary collaboration can feasibly be ‘gamified’. Game dynamics may add additional dimensions to such collaborative activities.

The idea is to apply the concepts of game dynamics to our social media infrastructure in order to use the manifold skills and creative talents of our users to produce real change and tangible results which further our goal. This goal is very ambitious yet simple: to change the world.

We believe that maximizing social value is the key to changing the world, that digital medias are the way through which it can be done and that game dynamics are essential to engage people, especially the younger generations, in the 21st century.

So much intellectual capital is out there yet so much is wasted on unproductive activities. To put this capital to good use in the real world, it is no longer sufficient to offer purely monetary incentives. To engage this generation of gamers, we believe that game mechanics are not only useful, but essential.

How to use game mechanics to achieve our goals

In practice, using game dynamics to engage participants to perform important tasks involves the application of a set of principles and concepts from the gaming world. These principles will be applied within the context of a social media infrastructure built around the idea of identifying, selecting and completing social projects.

A non-exhaustive list of such concepts and ideas is provided here:

  • Achievements represent virtual or physical proof of having accomplished something meaningful. They provide a way for successful participants to display their accomplishments and brag about them, while offering incentives for others to increase their involvement and engagement with the project.
  • Behavioral momentum is the idea that ‘players’ expend more and more time on activities of their choosing as they form a habit of ‘playing’
  • Blissful productivity means that gamers are happier when they work hard at a game than they are when they are relaxing and wallowing in idleness. It means that ‘productive work’ can be fun and rewarding as long as adequate game dynamics are in place
  • Cascading Information Theory is the idea that information should be released in small, digestible chunks as participants go along and engage themselves more deeply with the project. The alternative of being presented with overwhelming amounts of data, most of which may not be relevant yet, tends to result in the abandonment of the project.
  • Community collaboration places a whole community of individuals before problems that are to be solved by working together on a voluntary basis instead of delegating specific tasks to specific people in a hierarchical way.
  • Epic meaning is a concept from the gaming world which signifies the feeling of gamers as they work toward something which is bigger than themselves and which carries real significance. It is in a sense the prime mover which sets into motion all the actions and productive activities and in another sense the goal toward which it is all directed.
  • Free lunch is the feeling that voluntary cooperation brings as players discover they can benefit from work that has already been done by others. Although “there ain’t no such thing...” in traditional power dynamics, there most definitely is in game dynamics and spontaneously formed order.
  • Levels are visual indications of getting closer to a goal and give players a sense of progression and achievement
  • Ownership is the basis of market interaction and must be central to any form of collaboration which is to have any chance of success. Without owning -- whether virtually or physically -- the fruits of one’s labor, the incentive for productive activity is drastically impaired.
  • Points, like levels and achievements, are explicit reminders that something meaningful has been accomplished. It is something that gamers are intensely familiar with, but is sadly missing from real life, which has no explicit sense of direction other than what is felt internally by individuals.
  • Status is the culmination of many of these other concepts, it is both the objective and subjective measure of what has been achieved within the context of the ‘game’. It is intensely individual and is unthinkable without the concept of ownership. It may involve a number of elements such as points, levels, achievements, time spent and connections with others. Status is the primary motivation for many, but not all players.
  • Urgent optimism is essential to every game, but missing from countless of individuals in real life. It is the idea that any task or mission that is received within a game can be completed successfully and can and must be tackled immediately.

Changing the world, one achievement at a time

The success of games have directed the intellectual capital and productive capacity of whole generations of youths toward idle entertainment. Meanwhile, truly meaningful initiatives remain untouched and unloved, and the productive engine of society is increasingly dependent on an ever smaller group of producers and innovators.

We must tap the virtually bottomless resources of time, energy and expertise that reside in these generations of gamers and apply them to a higher goal: the maximization of the social value of the community.

This can be done by engaging these gamers in our projects through the use of a social networking infrastructure which draws heavily on game dynamics. Participants will compete with one another for status, expressed in points and achievements, and reach higher levels with a sense of urgent optimism in a state of blissful productivity, but always keeping in mind the project’s epic meaning.

And our meaning is epic indeed. It is to change the world. It will happen one project, one level, one achievement at a time, but the result will be community collaboration on a scale that has never been seen before, all directed toward a goal that is the loftiest of all.

Our vision is epic and our ideas revolutionary. All we ask is a moment of your time and a pinch of effort. We are confident that you will do the rest. The future is now and it is called The Social Corporation.
Marquis Davis

Founder - The Social Corporation

Website: marquisdavis.com

Related items

  • Resource Inventory System/ Market- SM Infrastructure
    A key element of the digital infrastructure of The Social Corporation is our resource inventory. This inventory, or market, is the primary means through which we will organize the physical and material assets of social production.

    The resource inventory is an essential element of our MPM-based architecture. It is located on the same level as the labor exchange market and its function run parallel with it. As we can expect every project to require both labor and resources, neither market will take precedence over the other.

    In short, the resource inventory is a repository of materials, resources and capital goods. Individual members have the opportunity to donate or pledge items after which they will appear in a digital inventory. Social enterprises have access to the inventory, allowing them to plan accordingly.

    Without a way to efficiently manage resources and materials, social projects are stuck with only traditional -- monetary -- means of acquiring the necessities of production. Our resource market provides an alternative for social enterprise to acquire materials and resources effectively and efficiently.

    How it works

    • Donate. Members of the SC donate items directly to our organization or pledge them to have them listed. In the latter case they essentially volunteer items for when or if we need them for a social venture.
    • Manage. Donated items may be physically located at and managed by either the SC headquarters or by social enterprises under its banner. Our digital infrastructure virtually manages both pledged and donated items. Unused items will, after a specified amount of time, be donated to charities or individuals in need.
    • Use. Social enterprises observe the donated and pledged resources and materials and make plans for social projects based on this knowledge. They access the items and put them to a good, social use. They can also ask the network to provide specific materials and resources.

    How it increases efficiency

    First of all, the inventory market, at least not in the early stages of The Social Corporation, won’t replace traditional means of acquiring resources entirely. It is unlikely that volunteered items will satisfy all material requirements in the first few months. Traditional means will have to complement these new and alternative means of gathering materials.

    The key difference between the two methods of material acquisition is that the alternative strategy works in the opposite direction: enterprises develop projects, based on the amount of materials, resources and labor in the network. Traditionally, projects are developed first and the material requirements acquired afterwards.  

    A digital repository of materials enables us to look at what the network has in stock. We can then come up with creative projects that maximize value for the community. This, along with the ability to solicit the network for donations, offers social enterprises more flexibility to be optimally effective in the production of social value.

    Like the labor market, the resource market is essentially a voluntary network that provides value for its volunteer members as well as for their communities.
  • Labor Exchange Market - SM Infrastructure
    The labor exchange market is an essential element of the Social Corporation’s digital infrastructure. It enables individual members to offer their time, labor and services in return for those of others. Members will use the labor market to cooperate with one another and our social enterprises to solicit services.

    A digital market for labor exchange is crucial in two ways. On the one hand, it offers social enterprises access to the manifold physical and cognitive skills of the community at large. On the other, it provides members and volunteers with a way to offer their time and labor to those who have good use for it.

    As always, the relationship between The Social Corporation and its members is mutually beneficial, and this applies to the labor market aspect as well:
    • The Social Corporation benefits by getting a good overview of the labor that is available for the social enterprises it owns or is thinking of sponsoring. It may also decide to extract a fee, potentially in labor, for making the network available.

    • Members benefit primarily by being able to barter their services for those of others. They might also volunteer labor in exchange for user points.

    What the labor exchange market is not
    • It’s not a traditional currency-based digital labor market like oDesk or elance. We reject the use of hard currency on our labor market because it would lead to a hierarchy based on economic status, which we are explicitly trying to avoid.
    • It’s not only for volunteers. Members can barter services with one another based on what they have to offer and what they need. However, the ability to volunteer is an integral part of the infrastructure.
    • It’s not a way for the Social Corporation to grow rich from the labor of its members. We will reinvest any fee we may extract into The Social Corporation and/or in related social enterprises and community programs deemed worthwhile by our members.
    What the labor exchange market is
    • It allows for-benefit corporations to draw on both volunteer workers and specialized labor and knowledge to complete social projects.
    • It allows The Social Corporation to streamline its social production process.
    • It gives members the opportunity to make a real difference by putting their skills and their time to use in a socially responsible way. The labor market allows them to act in their own self-interest while at the same time advancing the common good.
    • It is one of the most important elements in achieving a primary goal of The Social Corporation: the realization of an economic system based on social value and true need, rather than purely monetary calculation.
  • Collaborative Idea Management - SM Infrastructure
    Managing Ideas From The Bottom Up

    The Social Corporation considers its members the principal stakeholders in a social movement. It is only natural that the direction of The Social Corporation, and the ideas and policies that guide it should also be determined by these primary stakeholders. This is where our digital framework for idea management comes into play.

    Ideas are more than just mental concepts; they are building blocks of change. Every change, from giant societal shifts to small changes in corporate policy, begins with an idea.

    Traditionally, change comes from the top down.  Privileged individuals or groups come up with mutations of old ideas that benefit themselves. Other members of the power elite then enact them. This model ensures that the system is resistant to change, because ideas that threaten to upset the established order will be dead upon arrival.

    We want to turn this upside down. Change has to come from the bottom, from the grassroots level. Ideas should be sourced, discussed, passed and implemented by the members of The Social Corporation and for the benefit of their communities.

    In Practice
    • Every user can submit ideas to the network via a digital application. These ideas could be tiny cosmetic changes, new social enterprises to support, particular financial decisions, or anything in between.
    • Users view the submitted ideas and offer thoughts or criticisms. They then choose to support ideas they consider worthwhile.
    • Over time, the most valuable ideas (in the eyes of the network at large) aggregate to the top, allowing them to pass and be implemented with popular consent.
    • In the case of mutually exclusive ideas, the network proceeds to a vote.
    • The idea management platform will be integrated with the user points module of The Social Corporation’s digital infrastructure. Opinions of members with reputation for social entrepreneurship should carry more weight than those of newly minted members.
    • In the early stages, some ideas and policies will come from the top down for approval. Once the network reaches a critical mass that can support constant innovation, this will no longer be necessary.
    • At some point, a corporate charter will be crowd-sourced and passed with popular consent and the members and staff will co-opt a board of directors. Both will serve as a protection of the underlying values of The Social Corporation against potentially anti-social ideas and abuse of the system.
    • Apart from the provision above, everything The Social Corporation does, and everything it is, passes through the idea management system and is subject to user control at all times.

    A Blueprint For Genuine Change

    Our digital framework for idea management gives The Social Corporation a true popular mandate. The system ensures that everyone has the opportunity to make their voice heard and that the best ideas rise to the top.

    Conscious idea management will turn The Social Corporation into a constantly evolving machine. A machine consisting of individuals who voluntarily work together to enact positive social change throughout their communities.

    A network is only as strong as its members. We need your ideas and your contributions to do some real and lasting good in the world. Spread our message to your friends and family and help us create the movement our society needs now more than ever
  • Social Capital Investment Think Tank
    Create. Develop. Realize. Grow.

    The Social Corporation is a think tank for social enterprise ideas. However, we go beyond analysis and planning, and actually implement our ideas in the real world. Social projects are realized by drawing on the available resources of the network in the same way a venture capitalist draws on his available capital.

    A venture capitalist invests his acquired capital into projects he expects to net a positive return. Our approach is similar but different: our investable capital exists only in the members and resources of the network. The labor network can be solicited to perform physical deeds. The cognitive network to improve upon existing ideas and execute cognitive tasks such as testing products and doing market research. The resource inventory to deliver the required materials.

    It is important to realize that this ‘network’ is a living, breathing community. The members who comprise it are the ones who submit ideas for projects, analyze them, decide which ones to invest in, and do the actual investing. In a sense, it is capital investing itself, rather than capital being invested by a venture capitalist. The role of the decision maker is thus delegated to the community at large, which is at the same time the capital which is to be invested.

    How The Process Will Be Coordinated

    In the early stages of the Social Corporation, our resources will understandably be limited. Therefore only a select number of projects will be worked on at once (perhaps just one per quarter or one per month at first). When a communal decision is made to realize a particular project, it becomes ‘A Social Corporation’.

    The project is started, we take an ownership stake and the network is put to work. It is assessed and broken down into small pieces according to the Micro Project Management (MPM) philosophy. The project’s needs are presented to the relevant sectors of the network, allowing for efficient processing and execution of the necessary tasks.

    As the network grows and our cooperation becomes more streamlined, more projects can be started and worked on simultaneously. If the system is built efficiently and allows projects to draw on an extensive network of physical and mental expertise and a large inventory of materials, it may not be necessary to supplement this with cash in order to complete the projects. Either way, projects will draw on the network first and only then look to traditional modes of investment and production.

    In due time, it may also create synergies and economies of scale by acquiring a physical building in which representatives of the several Social Corporations can work separately but as parts of the network. Working in partnership with and physically close to one another, cost savings may be realized and redundant work eliminated.

    Social Enterprises benefit from The Social Corporation and vice versa

    The Social Corporation benefits from social enterprises and more members joining the network in an obvious way: every individual and every project enriches the network and makes it more powerful, more versatile and more resilient. However, the relationship goes both ways and is mutually beneficial. An example may further clarify this claim.

    Suppose a recycling enterprise called “Joes’ Recycling” becomes a Social Corporation. Immediately, the associations with the network may lead to increased interest and volunteerism as the benefits of the Social Corporation brand are conferred upon the individual project. This association can be made by displaying the logo, advertising the connection online, or in other ways.

    “Joe’s Recycling” thus becomes a localized piece of a global brand, an individual cog in the machine of our global social philosophy even. Once an integral part of ‘our’ community, this social project will be developed locally as per the principles of our network -- ‘local’ in this sense is not limited to geography, but refers to the particular attitudes, beliefs and methods that are conceptualized and promoted by The Social Corporation.

    In this way, we aim to solve the current disconnect between the political class and the communities. Instead of being forced to belong to a certain political community, follow a certain lifestyle and make certain decisions, we aim for voluntary association: local economies coexisting with the existing framework, their internal cooperation facilitated by technology and, in our case, our own framework being determined by the principles and priorities of the community and not by the power elite.
  • Micro Project Management System - SM Infrastructure
    "The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex, overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.”
    - Mark Twain

    Micro Project Management (MPM) makes large, seemingly insurmountable projects manageable by breaking them up into micro-tasks. An analysis of the requirements and objective of each individual micro-task can then be made, after which the network is addressed to execute the tasks. Project are then being brought to their final completion, one micro-step at a time.

    The reason why it is so difficult to complete large projects is precisely because they are so large. What do you need? Where and how do you start? The key to solve such problems is MPM.

    We can apply the concept to every aspect of The Social Corporation itself. How do we purport to change the world? Our answer is: one project at a time. How do we complete these projects? Our answer is: one task at a time. How do we intend to do this? By crowdsourcing as much as possible and drawing on our social infrastructure.

    Managing Projects Down to the Tiniest Detail

    The Social Corporation will provide the digital media infrastructure through which the most useful projects -- as determined by the community -- will be selected and subsequently broken down into ever smaller tasks.

    As the project becomes more manageable, users will determine the time, labor, money, and material requirements of every specific micro-task and their expected social outputs. This will allow our members to take on, fulfill requirements and complete tasks which are within their grasp, on their own initiative.

    The digital framework bridges the gap between the project blueprints and their eventual completion in the real world. It allows the community to track all progress as well as keep an eye on the needs and assets of the projects.

    The idea is for the system to function as a true democracy, but the actual implementation of MPM may (temporarily) involve central delegation of certain tasks to teams or individuals when user participation has not evolved to a satisfactory state yet.

    Advantages Of An MPM System

    The advantages of an MPM system involve the streamlining of production, the minimization of costs, the production of economic value and social profit and the full integration with the other aspects of the Social Corporation:
    • Projects are able to draw on volunteer or low cost labor and materials immediately. If the network does not provide enough factors of production to complete the whole project, it can be supplemented with cash afterwards.
    • Certain costs can be decreased for social enterprises we sponsor or own. Apart from the labor network and the resource management system these enterprises will be able to draw on, they can also benefit from the communication, organization and networking our infrastructure provides. Marketing and brand development costs can also be minimized through association with The Social Corporation.

    • Integration with the labor network and the resource management system will create synergies and allow projects to utilize all available resources through the MPM system.

    • The specific MPM software can also be used by other businesses and can be shared or sold to other social enterprises or non-profits because it is open source developed.

    Example of Using Micro Project Management: Park Renovation

    Renovating a park is a daunting task, but becomes more manageable the more it gets broken down into micro details. Thus, in the first stage of the project, the park renovation will be broken up into smaller and smaller tasks, until every individual task becomes easily overseeable by an individual or small team.

    This early stage of the project can be done either by a team of volunteers or by the project manager sending out a team of scouts to analyse the park. In either case, once the relevant information is known to the network, the project specifications will be clear and a subdivision into micro-tasks possible

    Every micro-task will then have specific requirements to achieve its completion, making the total requirements in terms of design, labor, materials needed, expertise and construction predictable. Similarly, this division will also shed light on the specific social output of the completed project, allowing for it to be compared to the other projects in the project pool by the network’s users.

    Once the material and labor requirements have been determined -- either by the community at large or by a temporary team of managers -- the network will draw on itself to solicit the needed resources, allowing for an efficient and effective completion of the project:

    • Lists of material requirements -- screws, bolts, wood, equipment, etc -- can be composed and submitted to the network, after which in-kind contributions can be solicited and managed through the system

    • Labor and Execution can be done in the same way through integration with the labor network. Volunteers and paid workers can then meet (virtually and/or in real life), coordinate their activities and gain access to the solicited materials, after which the project can be completed as per the teams’ own arrangements
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