On October 7–8, and November 9–10, 2010, Institute for the Future (IFTF), in cooperation with the Myelin Repair Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, hosted a Foresight Engine thought experiment called Breakthroughs to Cures. Designed as an open, non-partisan environment where models for innovation in medical research can be freely explored and developed, the purpose was to generate “outlier” ideas and strategies that could lead to more effective and efficient ways to fund and conduct medical research with the goal of speeding up the development of patient treatments and cures.
Played as a “card game” where each card resembles a node in an Issue-based information systems (IBIS) conversation as seen in, for example, Compendium which I illustrated from my own MRF game moves here, or at Debategraph, the game provided wide opportunity for journalistic discovery and reporting. The report says this:
In sum, what game play pointed to was a variety of opportunities—particularly in terms of technological infrastructure and in terms of the types of relationships that could be built to bring new ideas to basic science research and to make better use of current resources. Many of these ideas point toward long-term opportunities to facilitate connection and accelerate, and in this sense, provide the outlines for actions to take over time to accelerate medical research.
I believe that an important contribution provided by the MRF game report as produced by IFTF members is its illustration of how a crowd-sourced research project could produce results that journalists could then synthesize into a report worthy of any sensemaking project which leads to decision making.
Where could the MRF games go from here? I believe the answer to that question lies in the hands of those who created, conducted, and funded that project. What value can those of us who research and practice the art and science of sensemaking through hypermedia discourse gain from the MRF game? The answer to that lies precisely in what we do with not only the report linked above, but also what we do as we study the game boards ourselves seeking to better understand the craft exhibited.