SR-Use Game Theory-Improve International Collaboration
November 21, 2014
    Project Name

Using Game Theory to Improve International Collaboration

    Brief Description of this Project Who will be Helped and/or What Problem will be solved…

Using game theory, to help solve the inefficiencies of international development as well as improve the engineering curriculum to account for better human centered design through better international collaboration and intercultural communication.

    Project Description Details

I seek the research funding to conduct international experiments that will test a recently developed and fascinating pedagogy for increasing interpersonal competencies of students, including cross-cultural thinking and communication from different regions of the world.

To carry out these experiments, I will be employing The Pisces Game, an established game module developed by Dr. Thomas P. Seager and Dr. Susan Spierre Clark at Arizona State University. The main goal of the game is to provide participants an opportunity to communicate, strategize, and negotiate with other players to ultimately achieve group success.

The structure and organization of the game consists of a set of “fishing villages” that share a common lake for survival. Students are organized in these fishing villages; they fish from the shared lake and make decisions related to fish conservation, consumption, capital investment, trading or other transfers via Twitter or other online platforms such as discussion boards.

The Pisces Game simulates the Tragedy of the Commons, where individuals acting independently and rationally deplete a common resource despite their understanding that it is not in the group’s long-term best interest to do so. This situation describes the over exploitation of “common pool resources” such as fisheries, national parks, as well as global warming. Using this already functioning real-time game theory application, I will connect with university students across the globe.

What makes my proposal especially interesting is that I will be implementing The Pisces Game in order to simulate intergenerational equity issues in sustainability. The game simulates real-time decision-making, as well as the impact of one generation’s decisions on the next generation.

Before I head off to each of these countries, Arizona State University students will have already played the game. The results from this first iteration of gameplay will then become the starting point for the classes abroad. Each class will have the same initial allocations of fish, and I will be analyzing the decisions made in these different countries. Students abroad will also be aware that the world they create through game play will eventually be played by another class of students at ASU.

In the end, the student participants are expected to obtain a greater understanding of the human dimensions of sustainability problems, such as diverse values and worldviews, social media skills related to leadership, teamwork, negotiation, and empathy as well as insights into their own or others’ moral character. This project will help students broaden their perspectives about other cultures and will help them better understand the influences of their own decision-making on others.

The hypothesis of my research is that increased opportunities for cross-cultural communication and shared experiences between students will result in a more collaborative and effective game-play experience.

    State and/or County Goal this Project Supports

Improving education and creating more tight-knit communities.

By the end of the research period, Dr. Susan Clark and I will submit the findings to journal with a co-authoring article. On top of this, when I come back to Arizona State University I want to help reshape the engineering curriculum to emphasize better interpersonal competence and more human centered design principles.

Better communication and empathy between differing communities will help bring the city of Phoenix together. The 500 square mile metropolitan area will get a whole lost closer with the right approach and communication.

    Please descibe the Social or Environmental Problem that this Project will help to solve. Why is this important? What good result will be accomplished with the Help of the Community?

My name, Vid, means “vision” or “sight” in my native Serbo-Croatian language. My parents named me this not because of my eyesight but for a different type of vision: a vision where one does not look ahead but to others around them for inspiration.

My sense of empathy and appreciation for different cultures in this world stems from personal experiences. I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, where my parents were refugees from civil war in Yugoslavia. As displaced immigrants during the end of apartheid, our lives were no easier than the lives the “coloreds” living in the area. We often did not have food on the table and we did not count on our belongings to be there the next morning because of frequent robberies.

For this reason, my family had little desire to expand our material wealth, but instead used whatever money we could put together to travel. Some of my fondest childhood memories are of these family journeys around sub-Saharan Africa, which is when I began to develop my sense of empathy as I cultivated my own perspectives from the surrounding African culture. Eventually, the lack of progress and opportunities forced my family to move and start over in the United States of America. Nonetheless, I never stopped traveling.

This past summer, I spent two months in Croatia interning for the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). I was very unhappy with the methodologies by which the United Nations operated, and I recognized that a majority of the work was directed towards public relations and marketing rather than real human capacity building in the regions most in need of improvement.

I was agitated by this incompetency and lack of progress in the sustainable development field, and I felt disconnected from the rural electrification work I was doing. I noticed the workers did not communicate with locals in ways that allowed them to understand the village culture or perspectives.

It was not the workers themselves causing this disconnect, I realized, but the way engineers are trained and the design and implementation procedure in place at the United Nations Development Program. Engineers are well intentioned in creating solutions, but they do not always understand the importance of the local culture well enough to observe further the real problems of the villagers rather than the premeditated solutions dictated by the United Nations Development Program.

As an engineering major at ASU, I recognized why the engineers were not accounting for this human element in their design process; they simply were not taught to do so. I think that incorporating this human-centered design element is critical in creating successful projects that can make an impact through collaboration rather than forcefulness.

My prior experiences traveling, growing up in an immigrant family, and creating memories of my childhood helped me develop this empathetic lens through which I view my surroundings. The reason I am motivated to conduct this research is because I want to apply my experiences with other cultures and further explore intercultural interaction from a more interpersonal engineering perspective.

This project will help solve the problem of international communication and empathy in the world. International development is so inefficient in its practices due to lack of effective communication and capacity building in recognizing the true problems in the developing communities.

Communities will learn to come together better through more effective communication and break the boundaries that seem to stagnate progress. Instead of people working for communities, people will work with communities. With more effective communication and international development, the world come can come together and resolve these major problems ahead as one.

    Supplies or Material Resources Needed

I need plane tickets to these countries and funding for places to stay and food. I calculate the costs will be around $10,000

    Skills & Expertise Needed. Mentor help Requested

Have all the skills needed to conduct the research. Possibly translators.

    People Resources Needed–Team Members, Interns, Volunteers, Staff


    Information & Advice Needed

Funding ideas

    Referrals, Introductions, Connections, Sponsorships, Host Company, Umbrella Nonprofit Needed

Intercultural communication experts, teachers abroad in universities around the world

    Specific Questions? Requesting Crowd Sourced Feedback.

What do you think of the research?

Is it too complicated?

Will it make an impact?

    What You can do to Help on this Project. How our Community can Help Us.

I need some funding for travel. Tickets, places to stay, and food to get the right research!

    Finished Project:

A better understand of communication. Improved engineering curriculum. More efficient international development.

Regardless of the scientific results, the opportunity to take part in The Pisces Game abroad will offer students a memorable, cross-cultural learning experience as well as provide me with a valuable professional development opportunity.

    Who Primarily Benefits from your Project?


    City or Cities that Benefit from our Project/


      County or Counties that Benefit from our Project

    Maricopa County

      State or States that Benefit from our Project


      Who Benefits? What group of Individuals is most helped by your project?

    People in general

      What other group(s) or individual(s) will benefit from this project?

    International organizations, international schools and students

      Target Date for Completion of the Project

    November 2015

      Important Deadlines Coming Up

    February 1st- Need to solidify funding
    May 10th- First flight
    August 10th- return home
    November 15th- Finished research paper and defense

      Our Next Steps

    I am currently trying to get funding
    Learning the Pisces Game as an expert
    Continue dialogue with my mentor
    Plan travels

      Personal Note from this Individual, Team or Group

    Ultimately, I want a career in the field of international development. This research project will not only help me understand the fundamentals of communication between different cultures, but will also enable me to gain a greater sense of optimal communication strategies between diverse cultures, especially as an engineer with no prior knowledge of intercultural communication. Additionally, traveling around the world will expand my international network creating long lasting connections with the people I meet along the journey while representing the good in humanity.

      Website, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.

      Type of Organization

    School or University Group or Club

      $$$$$ Donations Requested $$$$$


      Name of Organization Sponsoring your Project

    Arizona State University

      What type of Project is this?

    Scientific Research


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