Climate change & the Internet: Service Design in a Climate Emergency?

We’ll need more than hope and courage if we want to rise to the scale of the challenge facing us — we’ll need to invest in specific skills, and learn to use an expanded vocabulary that includes concepts related to climate, carbon, and equity.

If we listen to the science, and follow the trends of carbon reductions being written into law, like we saw with the UK, Denmark and New York this year, we have significant changes ahead of us in how we deliver services, as we won’t have the resources available to us that we used to.

We increasingly see service design as a tool for governments, companies and the third sector to help people meet needs they might have, and rethink how we structure organisations to support them.

In fact, some, like Matt Edgar, have gone further: Most of government is mostly service design most of the time. Great strides have been made in making services more legible to end users, but also delivering the required outcomes more effectively, often costing less to do so.

But in 2021, and a world where our climate imposes far-reaching changes to how we live, we’ll also likely have far-reaching changes to how services are delivered to people, with new consequences we’re not used to dealing with.

How do we avoid the unintended consequences in a world of binding legal carbon reduction targets?

This conversation was kicked off by @mrchrisadams in this workshop during our last learning community event.

It’s a daunting challenge. Intellectually, practically, socially… even emotionally. Many are sticking our heads in the sand, but even those who are interested - how to even begin? This is not something anyone can make sense of alone.

On November 29, we continue. This time - by playing a card game together!

It’s easy and fun. You can play with people from all over the world online. Or with friends over a drink in the pub (you can order a printed deck).

How to register to play the game

Do you want to host a game near you?

What a host does:

  • Download the game cards and instructions
  • Invite colleagues at work, or friends to play the game
  • Keep track of the score and the discussions had during the game
  • Shares a thoughtful summary of what was discovered and learned (can be a text, drawing or even short video shot on your mobile phone) .

Benefits of hosting a game:

  • Discover and play with new ideas, imagining what sort of worlds and lives they might lead to.
  • Connect with people who have the expertise needed to ensure the ideas are realistic, and posses the skills and networks needed to make them happen.
  • Imagine your life within these potential futures, and help others to do the same.

Would you be a hi-tech monk operating vast 3D printers in a city-wide monastery? Or an artist, crowdfunding for ambitious public works projects in a giant anarchist collective? Or perhaps you just want to live in the woods, farming your own food, generating your own electricity.* Witness lets you ask what that might be like, but also, how it might happen.

Who is a good host:

  • Open-minded, curious and a good listener.
  • Sociable and good at engaging people to try new things.
  • Interested in society, technology and/or economics.

Additional perks

As a host you also get a limited edition of the cards as a thank you.

How to register as a host

  • Go to the the Eventbrite page
  • Order a Limited Edition Card Kit.
  • Use this promo code when you checkout: GameHost

The event is coordinated by the Edgeryders organisation.It is part of the Next Generation Internet (NGI) initiative, launched by the European Commission in the autumn of 2016 and has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 825652 from 2019-2021.

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Hi, this is so cool to find out about - thanks for tagging me!

I think we can find a place to host an in person event in Berlin, but only for a small number of people (i.e. 12 people). Where would I look to see what the cards look like, and is how many packs you would need for say… 12 ppl?

I’ve spoken to the folk at this well loved community space in Kreuzberg, and they seem open to it, but I’m waiting for confirmation with a fellow organise before I say I definitely can do this.

Other links:

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super - so the best way is to fill in the eventbrite using this promo code and we’ll send you a printed card pack and booklet: GameHost

here’s eventbrite link:

OK, these I have.

How many people would you say per printed card pack, typically?

I’m guessing 2-3 for physical cards (3-4 ppl playing per pack, plus two facilitators to keep time, document with pics, etc).

Here’s the gameplay booklet that might be useful to have. I would say that you would have 9 people per pack. Plus 2 factilitators A5-PrintReady_Booklet_Gameplay.pdf (10.2 MB)

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I’ve found a co-facilator to run an in-person version this with me. Katrin Fritsch is a different Kat from Kathryn Hing who run ran the last event, but we’re able to run an event from 7pm on 29th for up to 12 people, at co-up, the well known and loved community co-working space.

Given I’m basically full time as a co-director of the Green Web Foundation, and that’s also the entity that manages the production of Branch (which hopefully will feature a piece about witness).

I’d like to write a short blog post inviting folks in the city to come.

Would it make sense to add Berlin as a location for the original eventbrite, or would it be better at our end to create a new listing ourselves?

I’ll do whichever makes sense once I have a pointer from you :+1:

(It will also be nice to put the poster in the new office we set up with the green web foundation last this year too :D)

Super :slight_smile: Can you PM me the postal address?

OK, have done - for my deets and the venue.

It’s been ages since I used the PM feature on edgeryders, so I’m replying here in case I sent them somewhere totally different…

I’ve added one ticket category for the Berlin event so people can book it directly from the eventbrite which is also where its possible to order a pack of cards (use the discount code I gave you for a free pack and or posters):

Screenshot 2021-11-12 at 13.39.06

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Hi Nadia!

As discussed in the DMs, we’ve now set up an eventbrite for the local Berlin event at the link below - it seemed much easier for wrangling guests, and managing signups as we get closer to the date of the event.

We’ve added a pretty prominent link back to the original “online and Brussels” version. Would you mind adding a similar little bit of copy for folks who might be following a link we sent in the CAT newsletter the last two weeks? :sweat_smile:

If there is another flyer illustration, and links to the NGI and edge ryder logo, I’m happy to swap in a different illustration instead so that the events are thematically similar without using the same image.

yeah sure Ill make you one, hang on

Hey @nadia

I’m going to write a blog post about Witness, on the Green Web Foundation blog, about why we think games like this to explore narratives are important.

If would be really good to to be able to point to some examples of cards or any photos in the post, and in promo work - can you point me to a couple of good threads with pics?

I already have found these here, but I’m sure I saw some photos of actual cards at some point too…

Ok will prep today

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Screenshot 2021-11-19 at 16.43.45

Screenshot 2021-11-19 at 16.53.59


Hi @nadia it looks like the cards in transit with UPS won’t arrive today, as the sending status seems to be listing them in Belgium still and hasn’t changed since they were first sent on 24th Nov.

Plan B

I think I’m going to need to print off sets today here instead and cut local versions. There is a print shop 5-10 mins from my apartment that prints in colour, so I think I can get some ok enough looking fallback options, and we will have a projector/beamer in the space to help folks.

I’ve attached some photos of the space we have access too, that we can rearrange, and there is a projector within easy reach for the room,.

It wasn’t clear to me from the PDFs, so I have a few questions related to them

Adapting this to an in person format

We have a projector, This makes me think I can get away with one set for the two groups. I’ll likely use the projector to read out the event cards so people can understand what is happening each round.

Questions about printing player cards myself:

Should the players be able to see the other side with the points listings for cards, before they choose their set of 5 policy cards in a distrikt?

That would make sense, but I couldn’t tell from the PDFs shared.

We have 17 people signed up, so I’m going to print two full sets of cards, for each of the three districts - so, if everyone turns up (I’m not expecting this but best to plan just in case), we’ll have 8-9 ppl in each game, and three per distrikt.

Printing event cards:

I assume I print both sets of thirty event cards (batch 1A and batch 2), shufftle them together than play one per round for ten rounds, or for as long as we have distrikts in the game.

Support and narrative and scene setting

I’m assuming you’ll share an audio recording.

Otherwise, 'll be making a deck today with pictures from the site for the different distrikts, and a bit of background.

I’ll also be in the virtual game session at 14:00 CET to see ow the game should feel as as player.

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Hi Chris!
Before responding to your questions below, I have uploaded a soundtrack that acts as an immersive opener for the event. It is split into two parts:

Now for your questions:

  • If everything breaks there is a fully online version that you could project:

    • Game hosting interface (use only after 4.00 PM brussels time today) I can walk you through it after 4pm: Witness - The Game
    • Cards library (cards can be filtered based on distrikt, and on the indicators they affect): Witness - The Game
  • Please send me reciepts for the printing. We will reimburse you.

About the player cards

  • Should the players be able to see the other side with the points listings for cards, before they choose their set of 5 policy cards in a distrikt? Ideally not, we want them to discuss generally what new options different systems open for dealing with crises.

    • That said, I would just print two-sided cards with description on front, and points/gameplay on back
  • I’m going to print two full sets of cards, for each of the three districts Please send me the reciept for this so we reimburse you.

  • Printing event cards Yes you print all the events cards and play till either one of the distrikts dies, you have done the 10 rounds, or you run out of time.

  • Support and narrative setting Yes there are audio recordings

    • To open the event, and to do a brief overview description of the distrikts so people know what to choose: SoundCloud - Hear the world’s sounds
    • On opening the gameplay These are more detailed introductions of the economic and technological systems of each distrikt Witness_Distrikts_Descriptions.pdf (79.0 KB)
    • Narrativised versions We will be recording the sessions during today’s online event. We can transcribe the narrativised intros using, clean up a bit and you guys can use them as scripts.


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This totally works, thanks so much @nadia!

when will be the next gathering to game?

Hello, lylycarillo! I hope all is good.

There is an ongoing testing of one of the derivatives of the game hosted by @matteo_uguzzoni .

Join here if you can!

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