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The Serious Games Initiative is focused on uses for games in exploring management and leadership challenges facing the public sector. Part of its overall charter is to help forge productive links between the electronic game industry and projects involving the use of games in education, training, health, and public policy.


The Serious Games Initiative was founded at the Woodrow Wilson Center for International Scholars in Washington, D.C.

Our Goals

The goal of the initiative is to help usher in a new series of policy education, exploration, and management tools utilizing state of the art computer game designs, technologies, and development skills.

As part of that goal the Serious Games Initiative also plays a greater role in helping to organize and accelerate the adoption of computer games for a variety of challenges facing the world today.

Our Interests

We are most interested in working to address four interrelated questions:

The Emergence of a Serious Games Industry

Since 2002 it has published several papers and articles and hosted a major workshop in February 2003 that resulted in design treatments for several serious games for parks, hospitals, and high schools. These treatments are now being shown to a number of organizations that may result in their development.

The initiative has also begun hosting a series of meetings aimed at helping the area of "serious games" emerge into an organized industry of developers and development studios skilled at using cutting-edge entertainment technologies to solve problems in areas as diverse as education, health-care, national defense, homeland securtiy, analytics, corporate management and more.

Over the last several years such projects have begun to emerge as an important outgrowth of the gaming industry. The number of non-entertainment games under development is rapidly increasing. The appreciation for the ideas, skills, technologies, and techniques used in commercial entertainment games is at an all time high. Many commercial games are already in use for purposes other than entertainment. Titles such as SimCity, Civilization, Hidden Agenda, and others have been used as learning tools in schools and universities across the globe.

As a result, a new field of computer and video games, applied to non-entertainment purposes, has the capability to become a new hotbed of activity. This field is growing steadily, and represents a significant new opportunity for game developers, as well as interactive development tool and technology providers. As the entertainment market matures these new fields offer further economic opportunities for an industry that employs tens of thousands of high-tech workers in the U.S. and worldwide.

Gaming Our Way...

Our work helping this greater industry evolve promises to make it easier to build and support the use of games for the specific policy education and forsight activities we imagine games can provide to current and future generations of government and corporate leaders.

If we are successful we hope to create not only better tools for policymakers, but the chance to "game our way" to a better world as well.


David Rejeski

David Rejeski is the Director, Foresight and Governance Project at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, D.C.

Rejeski was appointed the first Flum Scholar at the Wilson Center in July 2000. He heads The Serious Games Initiative which is housed at the Wilson Center. Prior to his work at Wilson Rejeski worked at the Environmental Protection Agency's Office of Policy (EPA), and in 1994 was assigned to the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and the Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ).

Rejeski's focus at the Wilson center concerns long-term challenges facing the United States as well as finding ways to make policymakers and government leaders think more insightfully about long term decision making. He feels that games are one tool that may help immensely in building long-term thinking skills among not only government officials but the general public at-large.


Ben Sawyer

Ben Sawyer is president of Digitalmill, Inc. a Portland, ME based consulting he helped found in 1997. Digitalmill has worked on a number of game projects and served as producer for the Virtual U project, a serious game-simulation about university management that was an Independent Games Festival finalist in 2001.

Sawyer is also the author and producer of several books on games and game development and now serves as the at-large editor on game industry book titles for Paraglyph Press. In addition Sawyer's firm produces market research on the games industry for private clients and DFC Intelligence - a well known research firm focused on the games industry.

Sawyer was the volunteer producer of the first Serious Games Summit held at the 2004 Game Developers Conference.