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American Cancer Society in the Metaverse

Why does the American Cancer Society have three representatives at the Metaverse Roadmap conference? That’s what Randy Moss, the manager of “future and information-based strategies” at ACS gets on stage to explain to us this morning.

ACS has a four-year old futuring and innovation center, designed to help find and make changes neccesary to achieve ACS’s 2015 goal – eliminating cancer as a major health issue in America.

The program Randy is promoting is the Springboard project – it’s an attempt to gather innovative ideas and programs from ACS staff and volunteers. The best ideas for new services, information delivery, improved patient care are rewarded with $25,000 grants. It’s a rapid prototyping strategy which recieves about 75 ideas a year and funds roughly a tenth of them.

One volunteer – a Second Life resident – proposed an interesting idea – a 24-hour walkathon in Second Life which raised over $5,000. Randy points out that there’s a trend that people are residing in communities that are non-physical and non-local. “I reside in World of Warcraft, and I go to the QuickiMart because I have to eat…” If these folks live in WoW, but get real-world diseases, perhaps outreach efforts need to exist in these virtual worlds…