blackswan MMWOGLI Blog blackswan MMWOGLI Blog

blackswan mmowgli awards

Now that the game is over and we've had a little time to look through the results we wanted to recognize some of the players and ideas that stood out.  The blog post below is long, but we encourage you to scroll through it all.

Group 1: Leaderboard Awards

First on the list is to look at those players that played the game to win, and ended up with the most points in the leaderboard.

Round 1:

In Round 1 the top players were IS2, pepper1, and rcamp004.  Interestingly enough, these three were on top of the leaderboard in the same order for the Exploration (card play) and Innovation (action plans) points.  These three players were responsible for almost 22% of the total number of cards played in the first round!


Round 2:

Round 2 gave us some different names, with CorvusCorax on top of the Exploration points followed by paul61877 and Mobius.  The Innovation points were slightly different, with paul61877 at the top followed by Grabo and then Mobius.  Round 2 was weighted even more towards those top players in terms of card play, with the top 3 playing almost 54% of the total cards.




The overall scores are a mix of the two rounds.  For the Exploration points pepper1 edged IS2 and CorvusCorax rounds out the third spot.  For the Innovation points the top two stayed the same and Grabo was in third place.



Congratulations to our points leaders!


Round-based Idea Awards

Black Swan Task Force Award:

In addition to recognizing individual players we wanted to recognize some of the ideas that were generated, since the game was ultimately about ideas.  The Task Force Award was given to the Action Plans/Cards from Round 1 that the game sponsors found most interesting.  This is a subjective measure, but we still think these ideas were worth looking at.


For Suddenly we focused on Card 1779 written by JMan and the accompanying Action Plan 35.  The authors of the action plan were bella, Bman, Futurescape, IS2, Jacko, JFeatherstone, JMan, MostlyHarmless, and rcamp004.


For Gradually we were interested in Card 2144 written by Razorwing and its accompanying Action Plan 11.  The authors of the action plan were ajn124, cg_pjhr, Futurescape, IS2, JFeatherstone, Keemun, KETTLEBELL, Lycaedon, MostlyHarmless, pepper1, Pine in snow, Razorwing, rcamp004, Sheepdog, and shockwave.


We want to thank the people listed above and all of our players in Round 1!


Technology and Innovation Preparedness Awards:

We also wanted to recognize some of the ideas from Round 2.  The TIPs Award was given to the Action Plans/Cards from Round 2 that the game sponsors found most interesting.


For Antifragility we focused on Card 5985 written by The Seer and the accompanying Action Plan 54.  The authors on the action plan were Barkhan, dzviovich, Grabo, paul61877, pepper1, and The Seer.  This AP had a good conversation in the Talk it Over section and some images posted as well.


For anticipation we looked at card 5815 created by ajn124 and the accompanying Action Plan 57.  The authors on this plan were cg_pjhr, CorvusCorax, DitchDigger, FirstIvo, Mobius, paul61877, and The Seer.


Thank you to all of you for your creativity and collaboration in support of the TIP mission!


Additional Idea Awards


Science Fiction Award:

Every once in a while there is an idea that is creative and out there, but just believable enough that you wonder whether it could be true or not.  This “Suddenly” card (card 3963) played by chunkymonkey in Round 1 fits that description.  Whether or not this actually comes to pass, it’s the stuff that science fiction is made of, and if it happened it would be one heck of a black swan.  There is a corresponding action plan, Action Plan 40, that was authored by chunkymonkey, CorvusCorax, DadzinCharge, Grabo, IS2, Jacko, JFeatherstone, JMan, MostlyHarmless, pepper1, pickle, and rcamp004.


Security Impact Award:

Another area we looked at was the security impact of the ideas represented.  Again, these are just a few choices from many ideas that would have a huge impact on the world.  Still, these stood out.


Round 1: Card 1348/Action Plan 33 was chosen due to its far reaching effects.  First, there are direct impacts on the global economy as a whole. Additionally, sea lines of communication would be heavily restricted.  Also, should this Action Plan come to fruition there would be great effects the regional stability by bringing opposing nuclear forces indirect confrontation with one another. Across the entire spectrum of national power with respect to all parties there would be diplomatic, informational, military, and economic dimensions of national power that would be faced with numerous obstacles placed on each.  The card was authored by Long_Look and the action plan authors were ajn124, coch818, IS2, JFeatherstone, MostlyHarmless, nuc23, pepper1, rcamp004, and Zeo.


Round 2: Card 5696/Action Plan 64 was chosen due to the potential number of DoD-related uses and black swans this could effect.  Military, commercial, and scientific activities taking place in orbit have become more and more critical to our operation as a nation.  Having a capacity to protect space assets as well as gain back space-based capability in the event of a black swan would be critical.  This concept has the means to provide that capability, which is a large security impact indeed.  The Card was authored by CorvusCorax, and the action plan authors were CorvusCorax, Grabo, Mobius, paul61877, and The Seer.

Recruitment Award:

Before Round 1 began, we asked Task Force members to recruit others who may be interested in participating in the blackswan mmowgli game.  Below is the list of recipients of the Recruitment award for their excellence in well...recruitment!

  • chunkymonkey
  • JFeatherstone
  • gm_garth
  • Blue Passion
  • le8mec


Every so often, there are a few cards played in a mmowgli game that we refer to as "meta-mmowgli." It's that moment of clarity where the clouds part and a player plays a mmogwli card within the mmowgli game.

The first meta-mmowgli goes to pepper 1 for Card 6494.


The second meta-mmowgli award goes to a converation between JFeatherstone and dqtratus in Card 1058 and Card 1083.


Extra mile award:

Earlier this week, we recieved an email from player Longshanks who created a video for Action Plan 30.  For this enthusiasiam and extra effort, we'd like to award player Longshanks with the Extra Mile Award. You can watch his/her video here:

Again, we want to take this time to thank each and every one of you for your participation in the game.  It was widely successful because of you.

What comes next...

There will be more MMOWGLI games in the future.  If you want to know what's coming follow us on Twitter (@mmowgli) or keep an eye on the portal at

Next Steps for blackswan MMWOGLI


blackswan MMOWGLI players,

We wanted to take a minute to write, out of character, to talk to you about what happens next for blackswan MMOWGLI.

First off, you have done a great job as a group of players generating almost 70 action plans and over 7000 idea cards across  two rounds.  The goal of this game was to explore what kinds of Black Swan events might happen in the future, and then to think about technology that the U.S. Department of Defense could invest in.

While the Technology and Innovation Preparedness group is not real, the group sponsoring this game does work within the DoD to invest in and develop new technology.  By thinking in terms of anticipation and antifragility they hope that these technology ideas will allow the DoD to be better positioned when the uncertain future takes a turn that we did not expect.

Back to what's next.  Gameplay is over but you can still get into the game to view cards and action plans.  This is part of the MMOWGLI team’s philosophy, since you are the ones that developed these ideas you should get to come back and view what you’ve done.   For those interested in downloading the data from the game, check out the reports page.

The other item that we wanted to discuss was that we want to recognize the effort that you have put into the game and the creativity that you have exhibited.  This recognition will happen on or before Friday, February 27th.  We’ll point out some of our top players, most active card chains, and also some of the ideas that our sponsor thought were especially creative and helpful.  We’ll reach out to you again via email and Twitter (@mmowgli) to let you know when to check the blog site.


Thanks and best wishes,

The blackswan MMOWGLI team


P.S. There are more MMOWGLI games coming in the future.  For information on future games follow @mmowgli on Twitter.

Day 3 wrapup

1830 EST, 2/4/2030

Black Swan Task Force,

Today has been a big day for the Task Force.  As of the time of this blog post we have almost 1100 cards played.   A quick look at the leaderboard shows many of the same names as last night, but there are a few players (JMan, Barkhan) that had a strong showing today to move up the ladder.  There are a number of you that weren't able to participate at the start of the week but have found time here and there as we've moved on.  We understand that this is additional tasking for most of you and we appreciate you spending your valuable time working on this important problem.

There have been two big pushes today.  The first was focused on opening up the aperature and allowing idea cards that don't relate to Round 1 Action Plans.  Some of you have jumped at that opportunity and we have had some very creative concepts proposed.

Some of those creative ideas have been promoted to Action Plans, our second big push for the day.

As you can see we have 14 new action plans, all of which have at least one author.  Those plans need your help; remember that you can request to be an author if you did not already receive an invitation.  Authors, use the Talk it Over tab in the action plan view to collaborate as you think through your text.  If multimedia will help you get your point across better you can use the Images and Video tabs to tell your story. 

Check out this blog post from Round 1 for tips on working on Action Plans and look at Action Plan 3 for advice on how to answer the 5 questions in 'The Plan' section.

We're entering the home stretch.  Get those last cards in and start working on Action Plans.  As always, we thank you for your creativity and collaboration.  Click here to get back into the game.

--General Allman


Let's open things up a little bit...

1200 EST, 2/4/2030

Black Swan Task Force:

I have been monitoring the ideas submitted during Round II, and have been impressed with the innovative nature you have all displayed.  However, I challenge you to take innovation to a new level.  We want to see your technology ideas - no matter how unbelievable, futuristic, or far-fetched they may seem.  Think like a science fiction author, not just like a scientist or engineer.  For the remainder of Round II, I am lifting the constraint of submitting ideas associated only with the Action Plans from Round I.  The Task Force can now submit any technology idea/concept and/or investment area.  I ask that you still tie the technology to a specific Black Swan by using an "Explore" card under your top level Idea Card to describe the relevant Black Swan event.   

Additionally, for everyone that is not a technology expert, do not be discouraged from submitting your ideas.  I am sure that all of you have thought "wouldn't it be cool if." at least once in your life - those are the ideas we want.  Submit your ideas and let us worry about the feasibility of an idea and/or how to make it a reality.  

Take Action!Finally, similar to Round I, we will use Action Plans to expand on some of the idea chains.  Task Force members will start receiving invitations today to help author Action Plans.  Continue to monitor the Take Action section on the portal, Round 1 plans will still be locked, but Round 2 plans will be open.  If you see an Action Plan you want to be a part of and you didn't get an invitation (you weren't part of the card chain), request to be added.  

Together we can position the Department to be more Antifragile to the uncertain world we live in. Click here to get back into the game. 

-- General Allman

Day 2 wrap up

2200 EST, 2/3/2030

Black Swan Task Force,

We're drawing to the end of another day of MMOWGLI play.  Currently we stand at 750 cards played in Round 2.  59 of those are Anticipation technology ideas and 102 are Antifragility focused.  That puts us in a good position for the last part of the week.  You've been following my guidance on relating the technologies back to the Action Plans from Round 1, which has given us excellent traceability as your ideas inter-relate and expand. 

Looking at the leaderboard there are a few new faces at the top of the card play leaderboard in Round 2.  Our top three players so far this round, paul61877, The Seer, and Grabo, had significant contributions in Round 1 but have stepped it up in round 2.  CorvusCorax was in our top 5 last round and has kept up their contribution, and DitchDigger rounds out our top 5 despite not having played cards in the previous round.  We've contacted many of you who are having a hard time getting into this round due to juggling this tasking as well as jobs and school, and we appreciate your time and investment in our effort.

It's been a real pleasure to work with you and I'm sure the next 3 days will be good ones as well.  Keep an eye on the blog tomorrow as I'll have some new information for you on how we want to adjust card play for the last half of the week.  In the meantime, click here to get back into the game!

General Allman

Day 1 and What We're After


FROM: General G. Allman

SUBJECT: Day 1 Recap And On To Day 2


Coming to the close of Day 1, my support staff has informed me that 20 Task Force members have played approximately 300 new Idea Cards. While these contributions are valuable, it is just a fraction of the input we had at this point in Round 1.

My concern is that we have over constrained your thinking, causing you to focus on mature, fully formed technologies.  In reality, we’re looking for new ideas-ideas that require the audacity of others to say “what if…” to create new ideas that we never would have dreamed of on our own.  Ideas that dare to defy the law of physics.

*Watch Paul Van Riper video at the 7:03 minute mark

Most of you have flown onboard a commercial aircraft; yet very few of you have the training and skill required to pilot one or the engineering required to design one.  However, this would not prevent you from being able to describe the elements that make up that plane, or hypothesize new concepts that make it better.

Innovation is the spirit and ethos of mmowgli.   To us, a thousand half-formed ideas are better than just a handful of ideas that may be fully formed. Think of them as technology precursors.  Precursors, which can be added to, or re-combined or re-purposed by the rest of your fellow Task Force team members.

Most exercises of this nature are data centric, misguided by the pursuit of numbers. For our mission, the people are the data. Don’t be afraid to be bold and creative in your ideas. You never know who is waiting to build on them.

---General G. Allman

Welcome from General Allman

Black Swan Task Force,

Thank you for taking part in Round 2 of the blackswan MMOWGLI event.  I am General Allman, head of the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) Technology and Innovation Preparedness (TIPs) group.  It is my organization’s responsibility to recommend technology investments to the larger DoD, and I have been asked to look at that aspect of responding to the recent Black Swan event.  When I learned of your work in the previous MMOWGLI round I realized that tapping into your expertise would help my organization to accomplish so much more than we could on our own.  You give us a breadth of knowledge and creativity that we could not marshal on our own.

Some of you have asked why we are just focused on technology.  This is a good question, and one that I wanted to address. 

We recognize that changes in policy, processes, legislation, governmental organization, and other factors could have an equal or often greater effect on the U.S.’s anticipation or antifragility in response to future Black Swan events.  Ultimately the primary answer is that looking at the technology part of the equation is the responsibility of my organization and therefore my focus.  More than that, though, in the past the emphasis of technology has been primarily on meeting known gaps and (to some degree) fighting ‘the last war’.  We are hoping that by thinking about technology differently we can do our part to position the DoD to be antifragile to the next Black Swan event, regardless of what it might be.  I look forward to continuing that discussion on Twitter, you can find us at @mmowgli.

To learn more about how we’re incorporating the Action Plans from Round 1, please read the earlier blog post on Round 2 mechanics.  As we’ve said before, thank you for your amazing work, and we hope you’ll click here to log back into the game and continue innovating!

-----General Allman

Mechanics for Round 2 card play

Black Swan Task Force,

As Secretary Jensen has stated, we are going to use the results from Round 1 to directly impact the work that we do in Round 2.  This blog post will give you the details on how we would like that to work.

The heart of Round 2 is about taking the Black Swan precursor events that are in the Round 1 Action Plans and determining technologies that will help us to Anticipate or to be Antifragile to those Action Plan items.  In order to make this clear, when you play an Anticipate or Antifragile card we would like you to link back to the relevant Action Plan.  You can do this a number of ways.  The shortest (to save characters) is to write "AP" leave a space, and then write the Action Plan number.  You can see an example below from General Allman.  You can also write out "Action Plan" or just write "Plan".  When you click on the card that you've just created you will notice that the reference to the plan will show up as a link, which you can click to connect to that plan.

Some of the technologies that are described might be useful to multiple plans.  If you think that a technology will help with another Action Plan, simply play an Expand, Counter, Adapt, or Explore card on that original idea card and say something like, "This technology would also work with AP 6."

Some of you will have technologies that you think are useful for Antifragility or Anticipation but you don't think they fit with a specific Action Plan.  In that case just play the card and mention "No AP".  Other players might suggest Action Plans that would be relevant, or you might expand the discussion of the technology to talk about what Black Swan elements it could effect.  While we want players to look at the work we did in the last Round, we welcome all good ideas.

As in the last Round, once the initial idea card is played the Task Force can comment on that card, building the idea into one that is mature enough to move over to a Round 2 Action Plan.  We'll talk more about that later.

Thank you for your help, and click here to get back into the game!

Round 2 Memo from Secretary Jensen




SUBJECT: Blackswan Task Force Round 2 Welcome


On January 20, 2030 we experienced a major black swan event that shook our foundational beliefs and which caused reverberations around the world. 

In Round 1 of blackswan mmowgli, we asked you to help us think through this event by telling us what precursors may have led to it, either gradually, or suddenly, or in combination.

Collectively, you created over 5200 Idea Cards and more than 50 Action Plans

Given the significance and value of your work, the DoD Technology Innovation Preparedness (TIPs) group has asked that we extend your mission.  Round 2 expands off of your work in Round 1. Each of the Action Plans you generated in Round 1 represents a potential Black Swan. We need your help coming up with ideas for future technologies that will better prepare us should one of these potential Black Swans occur. We will do this within two distinct, but complementary frameworks:  

  • Anticipation: What future technology might allow us to better arm ourselves with insight and foresight about a given Round 1 black swan?
  • Antifragility: What future technology might position us to be Antifragile to a given Round 1 black swan?

While the TIPs group is technology centric, we are intentionally assembling a Task Force drawn from all walks of life. You do not need to be a technology expert to contribute.  You may be the one person who provides the glimmer of a new idea, which others carry to fruition. Or you may be the one person whose experience solving analogous challenges from elsewhere in your life becomes the basis for new thinking in DoD. Simply by playing what you know, and building collaboratively off of what others know, you become an extension of our own imagination.

During your time away, General Allman has asked me to pass along the following resources to help you get ready.

New recruits-At the start of your mission you will need to create a game id by visiting the blackswan mmowgli welcome page and selecting “I’m New to MMOWGLI.”

Round 1 Task Force members- There is no need to re-register for Round 2 of our mission.  You may simply reuse you game id and password from Round 1.  Log in via the "I'm Registered" button.

Again, we’re asking for your help to recruit Task Force members for this mission, so please forward this memo to others who you feel will contribute.  There will be no advanced signup.  Registration and mission begin 2 February at 0800 EST/0500 PST.

     ---Secretary Jensen




Mission Extended Until 27 January

Blackswan Task Force members,

            It appears as though we experienced some technical difficulties with the MMOWGLI platform over the weekend. In order to make up for this lost time, we are extending our mission until 2400 EST/ 2100 PST Tuesday, 27 January.

            As I mentioned on Friday, we have ended Phase 1 of our mission; therefore, no more Idea Cards can be generated. Over the past week, hundreds of Task Force members have come together, collectively, to explore a wide range of precursors to a major black swan event.  In those 96 hours, over 5200 Idea Cards were put forth.  Now, we are asking you to focus your efforts on finishing Action Plans and voting.

            Currently, we have 50  active Action Plans that need your knowledge and experience.  Remember, the Department of Defense component of our group has asked that you integrate answers to the following questions within your Action Plan:

  1. Who are the key people, roles, organizations, or even countries involved?
  2. What is the central ideal of the Action Plan?
  3. What materials are necessities to this Action Plan?
  4. What sequence of steps/events/precursors could have led to this outcome?
  5. Why is this idea of interest to the Department of Defense?

         If you dont feel you can contribute content, you can always vote on Action Plans.  To vote, simply scroll through the Action Plans and select the number of thumbs you think the Action Plan deserves.  

            Again, we appreciate your efforts and participation thus far.  We look forward to seeing your final Action Plans.

                  ---Secretary Jensen

Wrapping things up

1000 EST, 1/23/2030

Black Swan Task Force,

     Thank you for your tremendous efforts thus far.  Within our 96-hour mission, we have collectively accumulated close to 5000 individual Idea Cards.  As our mission clock expires, we will ramp up our efforts in Phase 2-development of the Action Plans.  In my previous message, I mentioned the Department of Defense taking a strong interest in our efforts.  As a result, they have requested access to the final Action Plan documents for further review and consideration.  It is my understanding that special recognition will be given to the best Action Plans at the end of our mission.

    Given the significance and high value of these Action Plans, I am announcing that we are extending our mission through the weekend to those who would like to continue to develop and refine their Action Plans.  In addition to developing your Action Plans, our Department of Defense counterparts have requested that you focus on these critical questions:

  1. Who are the key people, roles, organizations, or even countries involved?
  2. What is the central ideal of the Action Plan?
  3. What materials are necessities to this Action Plan?
  4. What sequence of steps/events/precursors could have led to this outcome?
  5. Why is this idea of interest to the Department of Defense?

       These questions can be integrated into “The Plan” section of your Action Plan, discussed in the “Talk it Over” feature and/or answered in the “Comments” section of your Action Plan.  Remember, you may also include videos and images to embellish your Action Plan and bring it to life. Our Task Force is multinational and as they say, “a picture is worth a thousand words.”


  • At 1300 EST/1000 PST, we will cease top-level idea card play.  This means no more Gradually or Suddenly cards can be created. Cards underneath top-level Gradually/Suddenly cards can continue to be created (Explore, Expand, Adapt, Counter).
  • At 1700 EST/1400 PST, all card play will cease.  No new cards at any level can be created.
  • Our mission will terminate at 2300EST/2000PST on Sunday, 25 January.

      Again, thank you for your contributions and continued efforts. We are closer now to understanding what happened.



      Secretary Jensen


P.S. If you haven’t already, read the blog post below about next steps, we’re going to need your help again on February 2nd!

Preparing for the End Game: What’s Next?

2000 EST, 1/22/2030

Black Swan Task Force,

Your efforts have garnered attention at the highest levels of our government, and my colleagues are thrilled with your ingenuity, your enthusiasm, and your collaborative response.

While our nation is still in a state of recovery, the President has asked if we can keep this Task Force together for a while longer.

I counseled him that we needed at least a week to process this information and that you had your real lives to get back to, but he insisted.

So, we compromised. We will reconvene this Task Force on Monday, February 2nd. To the extent that you can stay engaged, we ask for your continued participation. If you cannot, we sincerely thank you and ask if you can find someone else to take your place, someone of equal passion, conviction and creativity.

During this next phase, our focus will shift to preparing for the next Black Swan.  To that end we want you to think within two distinct frameworks:

  • Anticipation: although predicting a Black Swan may be impossible, what can we do to better arm ourselves with insight and foresight?
  • Resilience and Anti-Fragility: if another Black Swan comes our way, how can we position ourselves to not only be resilient but actually be Anti-Fragile.

During your time away, here are a couple of resources to help you get ready.

In the meantime, please keep up the great work.  During the week off keep an eye on @mmowgli and on this blog for further information.


Secretary Jensen

Wrapup for blackswan MMOWGLI day 2

1900 EST, 1/21/2030

Black Swan Task Force,

Once again it's been an excellent day.  As of 1900 EST today there are now 281 players registered and you've played 3800 cards.  That's prodigious work for 2 days of effort.  The top 10 for the exploration points (card play) leaderboard is below, and you can see that the names haven't changed very much.  Long_Look has dropped a few spots out of the top 10, and nuc23 has moved up.  The player rcamp004 has stayed on top of the leaderboard, but JFeatherstone has kept it close and IS2 is in striking distance.  These are some prolific players and we welcome their contributions, but remember that even a few cards played can generate a new idea that we've not thought about before, or influence an idea in a way that no-one else has considered.  I encourage all of you to keep playing cards.

Even better, we now have 28 action plans!  The list of action plans includes concepts focused on religion, cyber issues, national identity and sovereignty, the Arctic, biological warfare, and energy.  The leaderboard can be sorted by Innovation (Action plan) points as well, and you can see that there are a few new names to pop to the top, notably a few more players from international locations: le8mec from Tallinn and paul61877 from Sanaa.  IS2 is at the top of this list with JFeatherstone and rcamp004 trailing fairly closely.  Our Department of Defense Colleagues are pleased with your efforts and hope that you will continue to promote and refine ideas as action plans.

As I said before, all of your contributions are valuable, we appreciate your time, creativity, and focus.  Tomorrow we'll talk about some of the themes that have appeared in the game and talk about what might happen after Friday rolls around and we have to shut things down.  A hint: I think we're going to need your help again in early February.

Keep playing, keep collaborating, and keep thinking in the amazingly creative ways that you have so far.


Secretary Jensen

Take a look at the Reports Page

1200 EST, 1/22/2030

Black Swan Task Force,

We have a lot of cards played and sometimes it's hard to navigate around and see what's going on.  The Reports page is an easy way to get a big picture view of what's been played, below are some details that should help you to use this resource like a pro.

To access the blackswan MMOWGLI Reports Page, simply add "/reports" to the end of the blackswan MMOWGLI url.  You can also click on the link at the bottom of the game page

Once you are on the Reports Page, you can select either Idea Cards or Action Plans to view.  Additionally, you can export the game text to html or xml which might be helpful for papers or reports!

So, what is the Reports Page? The blackswan MMOWGLI Reports Page is your quick overview of all Idea Cards and Action Plans played so far in the game.  While you can certainly flip through individual Idea Cards, card chains, or view the entire spectrum of cards played in the Idea Dashboard, the Reports page allows players to view Idea Cards in an organized template. 

Here, you'll notice that Idea Cards are grouped together by the type of card (Gradually or Suddenly) as well as colorcoded and indented.  This view allows you to sometimes see an entire chain in context. 

Another Idea Card view is the Sunburst Visualizer.  This is a more graphical interface that shows how cards inter-relate.  At the top level you can see all of the cards in the game represented as sections of the circle.  The inner part of the circle represents the Gradually and Suddenly cards, while the spikes radiating outward show the cards played on those initial ideas.  You can click on any one card and it will re-format the sunburst with that card as the base.

Action Plans are also available in the Reports Page.

Now that you know what the Reports Page is and how to use it, we hope you can make an even greater contribution.

The shift to Action Plans

Black Swan Task Force,

Take Action!As I said in an earlier post, the U.S. Department of Defense has shown an interest in the potential Black Swan elements that we’ve been creating.  In their role of providing for the Nation’s defense, they want to know more about the impact that your ideas might have on their operations and their future plans including technology investments.  I think that we can help them, and I’m asking for your cooperation. 

The MMOWGLI platform has the ability to start a second phase of our event, running in conjunction with our current idea card play.  In this second phase we can take the card chains, the conversations that build from a Gradually or Suddenly card, and promote those chains into Action Plans.  An action plan is a means to focus that card chain and to resolve some of the differences in ideas that happen in the chain.  Action plans ask the following questions:

  • Who is involved? (Who are the key people, roles, organizations, or even countries involved?)
  • What is it? (In this case, describe the central idea in 3-4 sentences.)
  • What will it take? (What materials are necessary parts of this concept?)
  • How will it work? (This is a chance to put together a sequence of steps that could lead to the precursor, note that it won’t be the only possible sequence, just a reasonable set of steps.)
  • How will it change the situation? (This is your chance to state why the overall idea should interest the Department of Defense.)

By answering these questions, especially looking at the last one, you can not only coalesce the ideas from the card chain, but also help our colleagues in their understanding of your work.  Additionally, we recognize that the Black Swan event that has occurred has had international repercussions, so it is likely that the details we put together will be relevant to other countries and organizations.

One last piece of information, this is not the end of card play.  At some point we might lock that down, but right now we have the numbers and enthusiasm to both create new ideas as well as refine them into action plans.  For details on the mechanics of creating an action plan, see the blog post below.  Thank you once again for your enthusiasm and contribution…now get back into the game!


Secretary Jensen.

Phase 2: From Idea Cards to Action Plans

Task Force Members, thank you for your continued contributions.  We're about to start a new phase of the event focused on action plans.  This post will help you with key questions like what are they?  How do you create one? Why are they important?

Action Plans are the who, what, why, when and where of a single card chain.  An Action Plan is your opportunity as a player to tell us more about your idea.  In an Action Plan, you are not restricted to 140 characters or less.  In addition, you can even add images and video to enrich your plan. 

Action Plans are important because they are another way to generate points!  Innovation Points begin to rack up when you create Action Plans and/or contribute to them.  There are many ways to collaborate on an Action Plan without being an author.  For example, players can contribute their knowledge by adding to the Comments section of an Action Plan.  Players can also vote on the quality of the Action Plan.  If you like what you see, you can also leave a comment stating that you want to be an author, and a game master or author of the action plan can add you.

Also, Action Plans with a red number need expertise! You can also see these on the "Need Authors" tab of the action plan dashboard.

Now that you know what an Action Plan is how do you create one?  Simply select the Trouble Report link at the bottom of the game page.  Within the first paragraph, you'll see a link on how to create an Action Plan.  Fill out this form and your request will be answered shortly.  Additionally, game masters will be looking at card chains they think are interesting and will be promoting some plans in that way.  If you're invited to an action plan you should receive an email or in-game mail.

In the end, collaboration on Action Plans is what MMOWGLI is all about.  Generating "knowledge accidents" and making them a concrete plan.  Thanks for your continued contributions.  If you have questions,look at the first and second action plans, they were created as examples to help players to better understand the idea.  Also, you can leave questions as comments on this blog post or in the comments of those plans.

Congratulations on an amazing first day!

Take Action!Black Swan Task Force,

This has been an amazingly productive day.  As of 2000 EST we have had just a few cards shy of 2200 cards played.  There are 209 "Gradually" and 219 "Suddenly" ideas, and some great conversations related to those ideas.  You can see the counts from the reports page below (the link to the reports page is at the bottom of the game window, more on that tomorrow).  For the most part the conversations have been positive, but I'd like to remind you that even if you don't agree with someone's ideas we ask that you stay constructive in your criticism.  It's encouraging that there are over twice as many Expand cards as there are Counter cards.

We've had almost 230 players register, and about half of those have played cards.  We'd like for more of you that have been lurking in the background to participate.  Out of those 230 players, there are a few that have gone above and beyond.  You can see the points total for the top ten from the leaderboard below.  We have not parsed through the location information for our players, but I know that it's an international group.  Our top player is evidently playing from London!

The ideas created have been as varied as the people on the team.  Some of the themes that we've seen so far (though certainly not all) are cyber issues, changes in national sovereignty, shifts in geopolitical power, terrorism, religion, finances, biomedical advances and challenges, and disruptions and changes in world markets. All of these are potential elements of our Black Swan and many of them are ideas that we would not have come up with on our own.

Your tasking for day 2 of the black swan is to continue to play new ideas, but to especially focus on trying to flesh out the details of what's been already played.  If you're not sure if there's a card that matches your idea use the search and try out a few key words.  If you find something, join in the conversation.  Our colleagues at the Department of Defense have been watching our progress with interest.  We've sent over a report of our ideas so far, so expect to see some feedback from them some time tomorrow.

If you're new to the blackswan MMOWGLI, we invite you to click on this link to create a new account and get into the game.  For everyone else, thank you for your contributions and keep up the good work!


Secretary Jensen

Navigation tips

MMOWGLI Navigation Tips

Hello blackswan MMOWGLI players!  So far we've had an excellent response to the opening of the game. As you contribute your ideas, we'd like to offer you some navigation tips to help you find your way around the game.  As always, if you have any questions, concerns or comments, please don't hesitate to fill out a Trouble Report.

Idea Dashboard:  This button allows players to view every card that has been played in the game to date.  By scrolling over the text in the cards, you will notice a tooltip that displays the entire text of the card.  This way you don't have to individually click through every, single card to get caught up.  Next, you'll notice there are a number of filters in place.  If you're only interested in Counter cards or Super-Active card chains, you can display just that set of cards in the game.  The Idea Dashboard is extremely helpful if you've come into the game a little late and need to get caught up!

View Card Chain:  The Idea Dashboard gives you a macro overview of all the cards played in the game, the View Card Chain button gives you the micro.  If you're participating in an Idea chain that becomes lengthy, this button allows players to view all the cards that have been played in this thread.  Cards are color coded and indented to quickly give a visual indication of each card type and relationship to the Parent card.  If you want to move the card chan and resize it simply move the mouse to the top of the pop-up and you'll see a small tab with "drag here" that will appear.  Use that to move the window around and then you can grab the lower left corner of the pop-up to resize.


Marking Favorites:  In MMOWGLI, you may find yourself having favorite cards or ideas.  There's a way to mark those cards in the game so you can quickly identify them.  In the upper right-hand corner of each card is a white star.  Simply click on the star to mark that card as a favorite.  The color will change from white to yellow.  Now, whenever you select your player profile, you'll see a list of all the cards you've marked as favorites.

Thanks for your contributions! Now, get back into the game!

What are we trying to do with blackswan MMOWGLI, and what is a Black Swan?

#blackswan mmowgli players: Congratulations on a most excellent start to our Black Swan Task Force! The volume and quality of your collaborative output so far is breathtaking. Part of our inspiration for working with you in this way combines ideas from a number of influential thinkers:   

First, esteemed author and flaneur, Nassim Nicholas Taleb, who originated and popularized the notion of a Black Swan, which he describes as an event having three properties:

  • First, it is a statistical outlier. As such, it literally lies outside our realm of regular expectations, and nothing leading up to that event would convince you of its possibility.
  • Second, it has an extreme impact once it occurs. Think of the world as being “a different place” before and after a Black Swan event.
  • Finally, in spite of its outlier status, we concoct explanations for its occurrence after the fact, making it seem explainable and predictable.


The Age of the UnthinkableSecond, author Joshua Cooper Ramo, with his book The Age of the Unthinkable, got us thinking about “the sandpile effect”, and how the sandpile metaphor could be useful for thinking about potential Black Swan events. In a sandpile, while the buildup of individual grains of sand may ultimately be non-linearly or even catastrophically unstable, it is extremely difficult to predict which particular grain will constitute “the last straw”.

The Great Gatsby Finally, add in that old standby of High School English class, The Great Gatsby who answered the question “how did you go bankrupt?” with “gradually, and then suddenly” and you understand the backstory behind #blackswan mmowgli.

So, with this event, we are putting you in the middle of a conundrum: While Taleb would counsel us that predicting the next Black Swan is impossible, we wondered if we couldn’t  at least better equip ourselves for an inherently uncertain future by thinking about it together today? We think the answer might be YES, but we need your help to take the next step.  

At this point we are asking you, individually and building off of each other’s ideas, to think through what some of those individual elements of the future sandpile might be, both gradual and sudden, that might ultimately intersect to become a Black Swan event.

Now that you know more, please keep contributing!

Secretary Jensen

600 cards and counting!

Congratulations Black Swan Task Force!  You've been amazingly creative and productive, playing over 600 cards since we started using the MMOWGLI platform.  Not only have you determined a large number of Gradual and Sudden precursors, but you've also been having some great conversations, building upon each-other's ideas.

Keep up the good work, and keep an eye on the blog for more communication throughout the day.

Click here to get back in the game!


— 20 Items per Page
Showing 1 - 20 of 22 results.

Help     How to Play video     How to Win the Action video



Some game posts are reflected on Twitter
  to support improved player awareness.

Recent Bloggers Recent Bloggers

Rebecca Law
Posts: 8
Stars: 1
Date: 3/9/16
Paul Armstrong
Posts: 17
Stars: 1
Date: 1/29/16
Judy Daniels
Posts: 4
Stars: 0
Date: 11/16/15
Eric Williams
Posts: 1
Stars: 0
Date: 10/21/15
Robert Hermann
Posts: 1
Stars: 1
Date: 9/1/15
Molly Burd
Posts: 5
Stars: 0
Date: 5/22/15
Machelle Ferry
Posts: 1
Stars: 0
Date: 5/9/15
Don Brutzman
Posts: 3
Stars: 0
Date: 5/9/15
Michelle Rea
Posts: 3
Stars: 0
Date: 5/5/15
Michael Gillette
Posts: 1
Stars: 0
Date: 5/4/15