Algorithms for Life


How do young heroes-in-the-making prepare for an uncertain and fast changing future?  What skills will be the key to success, satisfaction and fulfillment in the 21st Century?

Hedge Fund Guru Ray Dalio believes radical transparency and algorithmic decision making hold the key to the future.    Polymath Stephen Wolfram made a similar point when visiting Acton Academy last spring.

Whatever the answer, standardized tests and rote memorization likely won’t make the list.

Here are the ingredients we go through when creating every Quest at Acton:

  1. Name an important real world challenge you’ll encounter on your Hero’s Journey.
  2. What are the most important questions to explore?
  3. Describe a process or recipe to increase your chances for success.  Can it be improved?
  4. What are the most difficult decisions you’ll face?  Is there a framework to help make better decisions under pressure?
  5. Find a world class example so success is more concrete and measurable.
  6. Set milestones and deadlines.
  7.  Form a team with the right vision, mission and skills.  Add incentives for individuals, squads and the tribe.
  8.  Schedule a public exhibition or sell your creation to a customer, so in the end, you’ll get honest feedback so you can improve over time.

Now look closely at the eight steps above.  What do you see?  It’s an algorithm for creating algorithms to increase happiness, satisfaction and fulfillment in the world.

Creating algorithms to live by for a Hero’s Journey.   That’s what we do.



In the early years in the elementary studio, Guides provide more of the game elements.  Our goal, however, is to quickly inspire and equip Eagles to be Gamemakers themselves, so we’re no longer needed.


If you look at the meta-process above, what Eagles are learning to do is create algorithms for life.  Maybe not as crisp and clean as Dalio or Wolfram, but perhaps even more applicable to real life.





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