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It’s 2050 and your granddaughter, Ohno, is suffering. Your climate action today will change her world and transform her life for the better.



SaveOhno attacks the core difficulty with climate change – that its complexity and breadth can make personal efforts seem futile. Even motivated individuals find it exhausting to act when faced with the size and scope of the problem (Parks, 2014).  And newcomers to the issue often don’t even know where to start.  In short, climate change is a ‘super wicked’ problem (Reidy, 2013):

·       complex,

·       dynamic

·       socially charged,

·       no one group's responsibility, and

·       results appear decades after taking action.

SaveOhno redefines this ‘wicked’ problem by making  action on climate simple, personal, impactful, and immediately rewarding.  It does this by translating your climate action today into its impact on your fictional granddaughter, Ohno, who lives in the future.

It is 2050 and Ohno lives in the world that you have left for her.  It is ravaged by poverty, wars, disease, and disasters caused by climate change. The good news is that you can transform Ohno’s world and build her a bright, clean, safe and fulfilling life by taking action in the real world today.

SaveOhno first delivers relevant environmental petitions from in a rapid-fire, gamified format. You gain points for  supporting or skipping a petition, and redeem them for 1) rewards from environmental brands, and 2) improvements in Ohno’s world and life. Once you feel more active in the climate movement, SaveOhno lets you earn more perks and improvements with real-world climate actions. The ‘next step’, real-world actions are provided by approved climate organizations who can access an army of dedicated and motivated individuals through the platform.

SaveOhno attacks the wickedness of climate change by making the complex simple, the global personal, effort fun, and future rewards immediate. Climate action is opened up to the world-wide majority who are concerned, but passive and frustrated. The wicked problem becomes understandable. It becomes do-able. Even fun.

What actions do you propose?

Logic and persuasion have clearly failed to make the argument for action on climate change with many millions of people. The super-wicked nature of the problem, plus the concerted opposition of powerful vested interests has critically slowed progress. Changing opinions through education has been found insufficient. SaveOhno addresses the intractability of the problem for the average individual by going in a totally new direction. We don’t believe that anyone else is addressing this problem in this way, and that it is a powerful opportunity.

The majority of Americans (and every other country on earth) understand the three crucial facts:

-            Climate change is happening

-            We are causing it

-            It is a problem

Majorities of populations worldwide already know that action is required, and that they should be doing something (Davenport & Connelly 2015). But this knowledge isn’t changing their behavior.

Instead of trying to convert their concern into an activist-level fervor, or convert their basic awareness into climate expertise, SaveOhno morphs their concern and awareness directly into meaningful action and results. Their immediate payback is real rewards, in-game rewards, and the transformation of Ohno’s life. This alone is a powerful motivation (Weaver 2013).

In addition, we believe that:


In SaveOhno’s beta program, we learned that asking users to support our partners’ initiatives was a very big ‘ask’ to start with. No one was ready to attend a protest, join an organizations' volunteer team, or reduce their personal carbon footprint. But, users were receptive to signing petitions, and many enjoyed the concept of signing a petition today and seeing Ohno’s life improve immediately. In addition, users were far more likely to engage at a deeper level after being offered those opportunities after signing a petition first. With this information in mind, we have a clear opportunity to shift opinion by shifting behavior. People who aren’t deeply involved in the climate movement come to SaveOhno to take easy, simple action in a fun and rewarding way, their opinions begin to shift (in this case, it begins to amplify), and then behavior change follows through at a much deeper level of engagement. This could result in a gigantic group of people who are reducing energy usage, reducing fossil fuel consumption, offsetting carbon, and (since our target market is primarily college students), even pursuing a career in the green industry – just like SaveOhno’s founder, who signed a petition one day and found himself launching an environmental-tech startup just a few months later.

SaveOhno makes behavior change around climate simple and easy. By packaging actions into small bites and reducing the number of options (Schwartz 2006) we increase the number and breadth of actions taken. Having taken these new actions, a user now identifies as an active part of the climate solution, rather than as a passive part of the climate problem. With that behavior-shift they begin to more explicitly take a side, and their actions and opinions begin to align even more strongly as pro-action and anti-fossil fuel. With this increased level of awareness and motivation they are more likely to engage in further actions. - which the game presents to them.

The actions SaveOhno needs to take are ‘meta’: they are the actions required to enable and stimulate the climate actions of others. Here is what SaveOhno needs to do to succeed, followed by an illustration of how users’ actions can make a dramatic difference to climate change.

For SaveOhno to succeed we need to

1)     Build the second version of our site, i.e. move past beta

2)     Market the platform to users

3)     Recruit further climate action creators

4)     Recruit more environmental retail brands

5)     Raise funds

6)     Recruit staff

7)     Manage the development and game play

8)     Understand real-world impact and payback and modulate rewards

9)     Roll-out with support and language modifications world-wide


1)    Build the second version of our site, i.e. move past beta already exists in beta.  Much development work is complete and key aspects of gameplay, user management, organization, and user rewards are complete. For wider development and roll-out additional time and resources are required:

-        Social media/ interactivity specialist

-        Salesperson (recruiting organizations, retail brands, and petition creators)

-        Experienced game developer

-        Promotional budget

-        $15,000 for the next six months for the above, at least $5000 in time for October 2015 launch needs to communicate with’s API to serve petitions to users and provide the ability to sign them. The ‘rapidfire’ interface will also need to be developed, as well as the tangible rewards system. These features will all be created by SaveOhno’s founder (Dylan Husted), and all other elements of have already been developed. A complete rebrand of SaveOhno and redesign of the website have already been completed by artists, graphic designers and Dylan Husted, and it is now a matter of bringing the new site to life in time for the October launch.

3) Market the platform to others

In October 2015, will be launching at Babson College and Wellesley College (open to anyone, but all marketing efforts will be done at these two schools). A competition between on-campus organizations will take place, with the winner getting free embroidered Patagonia gear for all of its members. The group with the most SaveOhno points wins, but SaveOhno points are not rewarded for simply signing petitions. They are rewarded for clicking either ‘sign’ or ‘skip’, so as to not de-value the signatures themselves. In addition, there are safeguards to prevent mass-clicking without reading the actual petitions being shown.


4) Recruit further climate action creators

We have already recruited seven key organizations who are offering actions for users to take today. The concept of SaveOhno can be explained and demonstrated in 20-30 minutes but as there is some commitment required from recruiting organizations to add their initial actions to the site this will require dedicated effort.

5) Raise funds

To fund the developments $10,000 will be required over the next six months, starting from the fall, when the current development backlog is complete.  This will be raised from motivated individuals and not-for-profits. An additional $5,000 will be necessary for promotional purposes.

6) Recruit staff

Over 10 people have volunteered specific skills for SaveOhno, ranging from marketing to graphic design in the past 10 months. A consistent team of 2 work on SaveOhno full time, 3 work part time, and 5 work as needed. Due to the nature of SaveOhno’s mission, most staff will be volunteers, however a freelance developer may need to be hired for about $10,000.

7) Manage development and game play

SaveOhno currently has 11 levels of game advancement with 5 ways to advance through each level.  Gameplay involves delayed gratification to increase engagement (Greenwald 2015) in the same way that online games like Clash of Clans and Gods of War require varying levels of time investment for payback in game rewards.  Further sophistication will be required as users progress, and as special requirements are identified from new recruiters and evolving events in the real world.  Unexpected user behavior will also require management.

8) Understand real-world impact and payback and modulate rewards

The actions taken will be converted into real-world results to increase the motivation of players, and the attractiveness of the platform to recruiters.  Existing actions on the site have been quantified (reference section below) and the impact scales with usage, with 10,000 users at a certain level having 10,000 times the impact of one user at that level, as a minimum.

9) Roll-out with support and language modifications world-wide

Development will require additional support both technical and non-technical, and as the platform grows time-zone and language coverage will be necessary.  This is anticipated to be an issue only after the start of 2019.

Who will take these actions?

SaveOhno is a small operation with only two people full-time, 1 person part time, and a network of volunteers working as needed. One of the initial steps is to recruit additional staff to support the growth of the platform.

Climate actions will be taken by the many users as described above.  Actions will be offered by key actors in government, business, other organizations, and individuals.

Where will these actions be taken?

SaveOhno is starting in the Boston area, where there is a high population of educated and motivated students.  Climate awareness is high both from the perspective of the problem and of the opportunity (Vendituoli 2013), (Weaver2013).  Massachusetts is a leader in renewable energy, through incentives, uptake, participation in RGGI, and other initiatives.

SaveOhno does benefit from a network effect but is not unduly limited by it.  The more users there are, then the more attractive the platform is to other users and partners.  However, even today the small number of users can already benefit sufficiently from the partners already recruited to advance Ohno through all levels of the game.  Any individual can today find the guidance, motivation and incentive to enjoy an impactful journey with Ohno towards climate stability.

Once Massachusetts has been established and lessons have been learned, the platform will be rolled out to other similar locations in the Northeast, then across the US and across the world.

How will these actions have a high impact in addressing climate change?

While the impacts of online petitions are hard to quantify, further actions users take with our partners are more concrete.

For example, the simplest set of nine actions from Sustainable Wellesley that is on SaveOhno today has an impact per player of:

·       Personal savings of $300 per year

·       Reduction of 5,000 lb CO2E in emissions

·       Education on home energy use and climate change


For every 10,000 players reaching this level, SaveOhno is collectively

-        Saving $3M

-        Reducing emissions by 25,000 tons CO2E

-        Educating, motivating, and linking another 10,000 people


To provide another example, purchasing carbon offsets through SaveOhno’s partner, BLUEdot register, result in renewable energy initiatives that save the following amount of carbon:

Car use offset: 3.8 metric tons ea

Air travel offset: 1.7 metric tons ea

Total lifestyle offset: 20 metric tons ea


10,000 lifestyle offsets purchased saves 200,000 metric tons of carbon.

What are other key benefits?

SaveOhno not only stimulates and rewards action it enables the rapid sharing of information – it can educate millions.  In-game rewards can be offered for answering questions correctly, for watching a video, or reading an article. In addition, this group can be incentivized to act at short notice. SaveOhno users can be awarded points for a boycott, for a buycott, for a phone call, for watching a video, for buying a book, for presence at a demonstration, for many actions simple or complex.  SaveOhno not only simplifies, directs and motivates action on known climate needs, it creates an educated network that is able to turn on a dime in response to the emergent nature of climate crisis.

What are the proposal’s costs?

Over the next six months:

Acquisition cost per user is estimated at $1.00, so for a core user base of 10,000 users we estimate $10,000

+ other costs as above – people and servers

Time line

SaveOhno is ready to go.  The site is live and users and partners are engaged.  The timescale for implementation is very short with 10,000 users by the end of 2015, 100,000 by the end of 2016, and 3 million by the end of 2017.

The additional effort required is familiar to anyone that has rolled out a software platform:

- user management

- technical growth

- funding

- employing skilled staff

- company management 


Our short term timeline is as follows:

1. Launch post-beta site in October 2015

2. Create and launch on-campus promotional competition (referenced above), one week after site launch

3. Monitor user engagement statistics and improve platform (new site ready by January 2016)

4. Roll out to more schools and gain more partners in spring 2016

Related proposals

MEGA Game: The Game with Impact

Harnessing social media to unify social change

National level campaign aimed at building a network of young energy ambassadors

Crowdscoring Place: Engaging Crowds to Assess Local Risk & Readiness


John C. Camillus Strategy as a Wicked Problem Harvard Business Review (May 2008) Retrieved from 

Coral Davenport & Marjorie Connelly, Most Republicans Say They Back Climate Action, Poll Finds.  New York Times, (Jan 30 2015)  Retrieved from :

Ted Greenwald, Compulsive Behavior Sells MIT Technology Review (May/June 2015)

Jane McGonigal Gaming Can Make A Better World TED (Feb 2010) Retrieved from

Michelle Parks Why is it So Hard to Tackle Climate Change? Decision Strategies International (Dec 8 2014) Retrieved from

Chris Reidy Climate change is a super wicked problem, Planetcentric (May 29 2013) Retrieved from

Barry Schwartz, “More Isn’t Always Better” Harvard Business Review (June 2006) Retrieved from

Monica Vendituoli, Students fight climate change, cite personal reasons USA TODAY (Oct 3 2013) retrieved from

Jane Weaver, College Students Are Avid Gamers, (July 16 2013), Retrieved from