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"My country is the world, and my religion is to do good." -Thomas Paine

A GOOD Experiment: First Progress Report

by Craig Ogg

August 12, 2014

A short time ago I introduced the Global Action Experiment, a project here at GOOD that is close to my heart. Simply put, we are building a vibrant community of “doers” that are making a difference in the world. Our progress so far has been good and we have learned a lot about actions that work and others that fail to gain traction. As a reminder, our hypothesis is: engaging in actions with a purpose related to countries other than your own, no matter how informed you are, will connect you more deeply with the issues they are facing. In other words, participating in global actions will make you a better global neighbor.

I asked for your suggestions on actions people can take in this regard, and you responded with some great ideas. We then turned them into "Do's", a feature of our community site that allows you to share your related stories about the good you are doing. We are now a few weeks in and I have learned a few things:

1. Mindfulness is a good starting point. Given the behavior we have seen elsewhere on the site, people are interested in being more mindful of their actions, and “Do’s” tapping into that sentiment received a strong response. We have translated this to a global focus: Eat a meal from a country in conflict and Play GeoGuessr, then learn something about where you land in the world.

2. How you phrase things matters. Give up a First World Problem failed to get any global-related responses, thus putting it outside of this experiment. (Yes, in retrospect it seems obvious that would happen). Positive priming and appropriate context are critical to stimulating desired actions.

3. The actions that will garner the greatest participation are difficult to predict and sometimes counter-intuitive. For example, I created two "Do’s" related to travel. One that I thought was easy (Travel like you give a damn) and the other that seemed somewhat scary (Host a traveler from another country). Surprisingly, the scary “Do” had greater participation.

4. Great calls to action give permission for people to share their own stories. The Step up to make the world safer for women "Do" inspired "doers" to share their past and present stories of how they play a role in ending violence against women. 

Please help us take the next step in this experiment and contribute any stories you have to one of the "Do's" linked above or start a new one.

Craig Ogg is the Head of Community,

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