SECTION 3 -
"I WANT TO PARTICIPATE"
DETAILED TIMELINE - WHAT TO EXPECT
1) Monday, February 28th, 2022: Keynote and Official Public Announcement of the "Metaverse for SDG's" Global Prize Competition
Official Public Announcement of the "Metaverse for SDG's" Global Prize Competition. The Exponential Destiny team and the ITU will announce the prize during a "Metaverse for SDGs" keynote at the United Nations ITU/GSS https://gss.itu.int/ summit in Geneva, Switzerland on Monday, February 28th followed by a Sponsor Lunch & Info Session. The theme of the GSS Summit is “International standards to enable the digital transformation and achieve the sustainable development goals (SDGs)”. The rest of the week, from March 1st to 5th the Exponential Destiny team will have demonstration booths during the United Nations ITU WTSA-20 summit https://www.itu.int/en/ITU-T/wtsa20/Pages/default.aspx. Post this announcement, the www.sdgmetaverseprize.org web-site will provide relevant details for individuals who would like to form teams to compete in the competition.
2) Monday, March 14th, 2022: Team Registration Opens
On Monday, March 14th 2022, teams that would like to participate in the competition will be able to officially register for one or more of the 17 SDGs of their choice - age group 14 to 18 and age group 19+. At this time, additional resources will be available for teams to access to support finding team members and organizing to participate in the competition.
3) Wednesday June 1st, 2022: Official Launch of the "Metaverse for SDGs Global Prize & VR Competition
3) Starting June 2022 : Series of Information Webinars and Q&A Sessions
Starting just after the official launch on June 1st, there will be a series of webinars open to all registered teams in which the Exponential Destiny team will provide insights, lessons learned, tips and ticks, and how to access resources to learn how to be effective and efficient creators in the Metaverse as a non-coding coding skillset. Q&A with all competing teams will also be conducted. (Number and date/times of Webinars will vary based on accommodating international time zones). Those who are registered will receive the communications for these periodic "All-Teams Community Calls".
4) March 2022 to March 2023: Teams competing - creating their experience for their SDG
During the 12 months following the official "Metaverse for SDGs" Global Prize Competition announcement on February 28th, teams will form and work on creating their experiences for their specific SDG they have chosen and registered. During this period there will be updated Q&A resources available, as well as "All-Teams Community Calls" and general information sessions, scheduled as deemed appropriate based on need and feedback. Teams will use the Metaverse platform of their choice to create their environments (there are several options for low-cost/free software platforms, and links and recommendations to these platforms will provided by Exponential Destiny, as well as links to publicly available "How-To" tutorial videos). Many of these platforms may be designed and created using desktop computers, mobile phones, and of course in Virtual Reality headsets.
During this time, for those teams that apply and qualify for low-income and economic-need who do not have the resources to purchase a Virtual Reality headset (e.g., Oculus Quest 2 at $350 USD), these teams may potentially be eligible for funds (subject to availability - see Sponsor Guidelines below) to purchase a VR headset. (See "Submission Form for VR Headset Financial Support")
Final note, during this 12 month period, teams may enter at any time, as long as they are registered for a particular SDG prior to March 1st 2023.
5) March 2023: Round 1 - Initial Judging and Evaluations
All competing teams will need to "freeze" their experiences by the end of February 2023, and starting in March 2023 a process will begin in order to down-select all of the competing teams entries, per SDG per age group, into a "Top 10 Finalist" group of competing teams.
"Round 1" will be an initial judging and evaluation round in order to reduce the number of "all competing" teams down to the "Top 10" finalist per SDG per age group.
At this point of the competition we will need to account for multiple potential scenarios. As described; for each of the 17 SDGs there are two age-group categories competing ("14-18" and "19+"). Essentially this is like running up-to 17 concurrent min competitions within the broader competition, and doing so twice: once for each of the two age groups. Thus, by August 1st we need to plan for any one of the following scenarios:
SCENARIO A: Low number or no teams competing for an SDG - Not all SDGs will have competing teams - There is potentially a situation where some SDGs (of the 17) have more than 10 teams registered and competing, while others have fewer than 10, potentially even none. We think that there will be enough interest across all of the SDGs to attract teams for each, however there is a possibility that some SDGs will not reach 10 teams competing. This is fine, and it just means that any teams competing for an SDG that has less than 10 teams will automatically move into the down-select of Round 1 "Top Ten Finalist". If an SDG has no teams competing, there simply will not be any further competition to perform for that particular SDG, and any prize money allocated for that SDG will either go back to the Sponsor or be put in the "Overall Best Experience of Show" prize purse award.
SCENARIO B: An extraordinary number of teams competing for an SDG - "Be Careful What You Wish For" - As described, the objective of this competition is to experiment with new models for building awareness for the SDGs while encouraging the development of skillsets for designing in the Metaverse. We hope to achieve this objective in as many communities and schools as possible globally. There is a potential situation that the interest and demand for this competition attracts a significant number of teams to participate and compete. For example, across the 17 SDGs per the two age categories, there could be hundreds of teams, or perhaps even thousands of teams (again, as described above, there is the opposite scenario in which there are no teams, or very few, for a particular SDG - we just don't know yet what to expect). If we do have a scenario in which a particular SDG has dozens, or hundreds (or more) teams registered and competing, we will need to consider a fair and balanced approach to evaluate that significant amount of VR experiences, while also considering different Judging approaches that are efficient (i.e., using "crowd-sourcing/crowd-voting" techniques vs. a panel of pre-determined judges).
Therefore, based on the two potential scenarios above- "Low number or no teams competing for an SDG" vs. "An extraordinary number of teams competing for an SDG" (and anything in-between) - for a particular SDG, depending on the number of teams entered and competing, one of the following Evaluation and Judging processes and methods will be utilized:
If no teams register for a particular SDG (per age-group category) by August 1st 2020, then simply that SDG will not be represented with an experience in the "Best Overall Experience" finals in October. Although we feel it is unlikely that an SDG will not garner enough interest for one or more teams to compete, it is possible (for one or both age-groups).
If more than 10 competing teams for a particular SDG register (per age-group category) by August 1st 2020, we need to implement a "Round 1 - Initial Judging and Evaluations" in order to get the number of teams down-selected into the "top 10" for the particular SDG (per the two age-group categories). For example, for SDG #5, let's say there are 45 team entries for the 14-18 age category, and 25 team entries for the 19+ age category. That is a total of 70 (45 + 25) Virtual Reality experiences that our Judges need to evaluate. In extraordinary scenarios like this (more than 10 or even much larger), we will need to leverage "crowd-sourcing" models for judging and evaluation, in order to get the larger number down to a more manageable "Top 10" number of experiences that move to the next Round. (In order to evaluate a team's submitted experience, it will require one or more "Judges" to enter and experience the space in a Virtual Reality headset, as well as on a desktop. Therefore, our approach for performing this down-select filtering process when dealing with a high number of team submissions is as follows:
Judges will be recruited from the Exponential Destiny community to "divide and conquer" to evaluate the experiences of each competing team. The Exponential Destiny community will be individuals that are part of the core team of the non-profit and/or part of the community that has participated in VR initiatives for this type of purpose and education. This group is primarily students and teachers who have used VR and are familiar with the "Art of the Possible" in these environments, and thus will be impartial judges to assist in identifying the "Top 10" from a larger group of competing team experiences.
In addition, we may also use "Judges" from the community of the Sponsor(s) of the SDG, if the SDG has a sponsor. For example, A company may sponsor an SDG as part of this prize competition, thus funding the prize purse and other costs (e.g., team travel to the October Final Awards Summit). The Sponsor is only selected as a sponsor if they have demonstrated an affinity to the SDG they are sponsoring, demonstrating it is part of their organization's core values. Therefore, the Sponsor may very well have "experts" (e.g., employees) on the SDG topic, and thus including them as a Judging source is an effective way to filter the "good" from the "great" team experiences. Sponsors as Judges may not make sense in every scenario, but it is an option for how we manage a large number of team submissions.
There is also the possible scenario that we need to plan for in which the number of teams that register and submit experiences exceeds our physical abilities/capacity. For example, what if 1,000 teams register globally for a particular SDG (per age group)? Perhaps unlikely, but nonetheless we need to think through a fair process and communicate it to all teams in advance in case that situation occurs. For these more extreme scenarios, we will rely on the following options that will be considered at the time in order to fairly manage this high number of team submissions:
By September 5th, 2022 the Round 1 - Initial Judging and Evaluations (as described above) will be completed. As a result, there will be up to, but no more than, 10 competing teams selected for each of the 17 SDGs for each of the two age-categories (14-18 and 19+). This math equates to UP TO, BUT NOT EXCEEDING a grand total of 170 (17 SDGs x 10 teams max) x 2 (per the two age-group categories), equalling a max of 340 experiences that enter into Round 2 - Judging and Evaluation: Top Finalist Per SDG (described below).
April 2023: Round 2 - Judging and Evaluation: Top Finalist Per SDG
In April 2023, the second round of Judging and Evaluation will begin in which the "Top 10 Finalist" per SDG per age group will be force-ranked by the Judges, with the #1 top finalist teams (per SDG per age group) being identified and announced. Thus, each of the 17 SDGs will have a "#1 Top Finalist" selected for both the 14-18 age-group of competing teams, and also for the 19+ age-group. Thus a total of 34 finalist teams (17 SDGs x 2 age groups) will be announced from the maximum total of 340 experiences in Round 1. These 34 Finalist teams (1 per SDG x 2 age groups) will be asked to participate and attend (virtually and/or in-person) the United Nations ITU-WSIS summit in Geneva, Switzerland in May of 2023 (tentative).
In order to force-rank the Finalist from Round 1 (up to 10 in each SDG) to determine the #1 top highest ranking team experience for each SDG per the two age group categories, the Judging and Evaluation methods listed above (one or more) will be utilized. Ultimately, by the end of April 2023 there will be up to 34 individuals/teams invited to demonstrate their experiences to the UN ITU community, either in-person and/or virtually, at the ITU-WSIS Summit (per below)
7) May 2023: Round 3 - Final Judging and Evaluation: "Overall Best Experience of Show"
The top 17 teams (1 per SDG) for each of the two age groups (14-18 and 19+) will be invited to participate and attend (virtually and/or potentially in-person - see details below) the May 2023 United Nations ITU-WSIS summit in Geneva, Switzerland.
Note: The determination of whether teams come in person or perform their demonstration remotely (virtually) will be determined based on various factors: First will be based on safety related to travel and Covid measures/health guidelines at the time. Second will depend on available funding to cover all expenses (travel, hotel, meals) for at least 1 representative team member from the Finalist team (per SDG per age-group). See Sponsorship Funding section.
If in person (vs. only Virtual), all of the travel expenses for the team leads will be covered by the competition. Each team delegate will have a physical and/or virtual demonstration booth area in which to share their creations with UN conference/summit delegates and attendees for all or a portion of the summit in May-June 2023.
Our most basic plan for this final evaluation and judging is to have all 34 finalist Teams share their experiences virtually, and have a core smaller team at the actual summit in Bucharest to help UN summit attendees access a headset to view the experiences of the teams during all or a portion of the three weeks of the summit. We realize most competing team members from the actual teams will not be able to afford a three week window of time to dedicate to giving these demonstrations (in-person or virtually), thus our basic plan leverages a core smaller team (from Exponential Destiny) who administer the VR hardware and proper links and instructions for remote users to access each team's experiences (up to 17 SDGs for the two age-groups).
Depending on sponsor funding and covid-restrictions, our goal is to also evaluate whether we have the resources to cover travel expenses to bring at least 1 representative from each of the 34 finalist teams to the UN ITU-WSIS summit for at least the final several days in order to be present for part of the in-person booth demonstrations, and most importantly attend the final award ceremony announcements.
This plan will need to remain flexible as Sponsor funding amounts will be changing throughout this timeframe that will influence budgets for Team travel. In addition, the specific timing of the UN ITU-WSIS is subject to change based on factors such as Covid and other scheduling conflicts not related to this competition.