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Achievements: Unlocked

In achievement: unlocked on January 9, 2020 at 9:14 pm

My #1 goal in life is to see a game designer nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. I’ve forecast that this will happen by the year 2023. Of course, it’s not enough to just forecast the future — I’m also actively working to make it a reality.

My best effort so far? SuperBetter, a game that has helped more than a million players so far tackle real-life health challenges like depression, anxiety, chronic pain and traumatic brain injury. (See the successful results of University of Pennsylvania’s randomized controlled trial of SuperBetter for depression, and learn more about our NIH-funded clinical trial of SuperBetter for rehabilitation, which showed that players of SuperBetter recovered from symptoms of concussion faster!) SuperBetter is used by professional athletes, children’s hospitals, substance recovery clinics and campus health centers worldwide. Since 2018, the SuperBetter app has been evaluated independently in multiple peer-reviewed scientific articles as the most effective app currently in the app store for treating depression and anxiety, and chronic pain,  and for having the best evidence-based design for health behavior change.

More recently, I launched the Ethical OS with the Institute for the Future. It’s a set of gameful tools to anticipate the unintended consequences of new technologies, so we can avoid social harms and protect humanity’s long-term wellbeing. Featured in Wired and on NPR, the Ethical OS has been downloaded more than 25,000 times and is currently in use by mayors, universities, start-up incubators, and leading Silicon Valley companies in a global, collaborative effort to make a better future – and not get blindsided by the tech we create.

In the meanwhile, on the way to that epic win, there are plenty of other achievements to be earned. Here are a few I’ve unlocked so far:

New York Times Bestselling Author of Reality is Broken and SuperBetter

Young Global Leader & Davos Speaker World Economic Forum 

“Top 100 Creative People in Business” Fast Company

“10 Most Powerful Women to Watch” Forbes

“20 Most Inspiring Women in the World” Oprah Winfrey for O Magazine

“10 Breakthrough Ideas in Science” New York Times 

“10 Best Keynote Speakers in the World” Fora TV

“20 Entrepreneurial Women to Watch” Entrepreneur Magazine

Top Ten Innovators to Watch” Business Week

“The Most Important 50 Game Developers” Game Developer Magazine

“The Ambassador Award” Women in Gaming for service to the Game Industry

“20 Most Important Women in Videogaming” Gamasutra

“Top 35 innovators changing the world through technology” MIT Technology Review

“Top 20 Breakthrough Ideas of the Year” Harvard Business Review

“Entertainment Breakthrough of the Year” World Technology Forum in association with CNN, Time and Fortune Magazine

#1 Social Impact Game of the Year Games for Change 

Most Important Futures Work of the Year Association of Professional Futurists

#1 Bright Idea of the Year BrandWeek

Activism Award from SXSW Interactive

Innovation Award from the International Game Developers Association

The Gaming Award from the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences

Year in Review honors from The New York Times

And two unusual honors that I’m particularly proud of…

#1 Spot on the Annual List of Top Ten Sexy Geeks from Violet Blue (this is the geek equivalent of making People magazine’s most beautiful people issue, or Barbara Walter’s most intriguing people of the year!)

Ranked #16 All-Time Most Engaging TED talk.. and that’s one ahead of Bill Gates, who’s ranked at #17 🙂

And a couple more real-life achievements I couldn’t be more excited about…

Finisher, California International Marathon, 2014

New mom of twin girls, February 2, 2015

(Want my full bio?…)

(Check out the Secrets page for my most recent projects and research!)

Fun fact about me: I’m the subject of a children’s book! It’s from the STEM Trailblazer Series, to inspire young people with life stories of innovators in science + tech. This makes me super super happy.

stem trailblazer cover

TAKE A CLASS WITH ME ONLINE! Brand new for 2020

Do you want to think about the future with more creativity and optimism? Do you want to see what’s coming faster, so you can be better prepared for disruptions and more in control of your future? Do you want to get better at changing what’s possible today – in your company, your industry, your community, and in your own life? Take “Ready, Set, Future: Introduction to Futures Thinking” with me, Jane McGonigal, your professor on Coursera.

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This course will introduce you to the practice of futures thinking, as developed and applied for the past 50 years by the Institute for the Future, a Silicon-Valley-based research and learning group founded in 1968. In this course, you’ll build your understanding of what futures thinking is and what you can do with it. You’ll master essential foresight techniques. You’ll meet some professional futurists. And you’ll choose one or more future topics you want to investigate with your new foresight skills. This course is for anyone who wants to spot opportunities for innovation and invention faster. You can gain the skills and confidence to help YOU become someone who makes the future, instead of letting the future happen to you. (Watch the video trailer and start learning now!)