Unlocking Health

2015 - 2016

laptop screen with Unlocking Health game

The game immerses players in a fictional world called Zariba, where they act as World Bank RBF consultants, designing and implementing an RBF program. They face real-world challenges and adapt their strategies to meet healthcare service goals. The game has two phases and lasts 45 minutes, with the option to replay. In Phase 1, players explore, gather information, and create an RBF program proposal. In Phase 2, they monitor and adapt the program in real time.

About the Project

Problem Space

The game takes players through the cycle of designing, implementing, monitoring, iterating, and evaluating an RBF program from start to finish. Through immersion in a narrative-driven and character-rich fictional environment (Zariba) that is anchored by the real world challenges, players take on the role of World Bank RBF consultants.

Proposed Intervention

As they design and implement a new RBF program proposal in a region, players test their ability to strategize and adapt to a situation that is evolving over time as they attempt to meet health care service goals. The game unfolds over two distinct phases of play, taking a total of 45 minutes, with the option of being replayed In phase 1, players are tasked with exploring the region, talking to NPCs, gathering information, and putting together an RBF program proposal with 6 prioritized tactics. Players are then scored on the results of a simulated pilot year and given the opportunity to implement their own program and monitor it over the course of an additional 3 years, or to select another players's; proposed program to implement. During phase 2 of the game, players monitor the RBF plan, tackling questions and problems that arise during the year, while adapting the program to the shifting context in real time. By the end of the third year, players are assessed based on their ability to meet their health service target goals. Each new instance allows players to experiment with new choices and cope with different events that unfold over time in the fictional world.

Social Impact

The game was played by hundreds of health policy experts around the world. The specific impact was never measured because of turnover at the World Bank.