earthDECKS produces journalism and media about our core mission: environmental sustainability, raising awareness of outstanding sustainability innovators. Our program focus on OCEAN PLASTIC connects the dots, showing how this complex systems problem needs a Plastic Innovation Network [PIN] so that the right hand can know what the left is doing, enabling those concerned about the plastic challenge to learn more and contribute more effectively.

Strategies for Game*Changing

ZannGillZann Gill is Founder of earthDECKS. While a graduate student (M. Arch. Architecture Harvard), Zann worked with Buckminster Fuller, whose concept for World Game preceded the public internet and mobile computing, inspiring earthDECKS as “the neXt game” to harness next generation social networks, the public Internet, and mobile apps toward global problem-solving. Her entry to the international smart city competition Kawasaki: Information City of the 21st Century tied with Matsushita (now Panasonic) for First Prize and won the Award of the Mayor of Kawasaki, placing higher than entries of other large Japanese corporations, including Shimizu and Taisei. She proposed an IIS (Intelligent Integrating System) to harness distributed nodes and devices to aggregate and make sense of data. This work initiated her recognition of the need for the discipline of collaborative intelligence (next generation crowd-sourcing and social networks for problem-solving). She later was a Research Scientist and Program Developer at RIACS (Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science), contracted to NASA (US National Aeronautics and Space Administration) where she entrepreneured her vision for a global sustainability collaboratory. She came to realize that this work needed a platform outside government. So she founded earthDECKS, which draws analogy to card games, but in this “deck of cards” each card is a knowledge resource in a distributed knowledge network. She holds several SaaS patents and has also won awards for her film scripts. earthDECKS collaborates with Moody Studio to turn stories into films as portals to knowledge.

Backend Knowledge Platform

NickWilsonNicholas Wilson worked on VR–AR and AI research at Samsung Research America as Team Lead for digital assistant concepts in virtual and augmented reality (using Unity). He was responsible for developing technical specifications, project priorities and timelines, which entailed implementing AI-related aspects of the backend (Api.Ai, saliency map web api, etc.) He assisted with talent acquisition at all phases of onboarding, initiated, planned and oversaw collaboration with foreign contractors and fostered cross-department collaborations. Prior to joining Samsung he was Senior Software Developer at Selectron Technologies, Inc., a leading interactive solutions provider, where he was responsible for agile software development of modern IVR systems, web api and Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) backend technologies, dynamically loaded (via Unity) windows service. He managed front end development using typescript, JQuery, Knockout, Kendo, Bootstrap,  integration with Voxeo Prophecy and CXP for handling call flow for 100% code coverage using unit and integration testing methods. He has a PhD in Cognitive Science from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute where he was the lead developer for the CLARION Library, implementing the CLARION Cognitive Architecture by Dr. Ron Sun. He is versed in cognitive architectures, cognitive modeling, unified theories of cognition, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. He has been chief technical and information officer for several startups, including Sureweigh and earthDECKS, the latter chosen because of his commitment to give back and to address the challenges of global sustainability.

Mapping & Visualization

AssenAssenov2Assen Assenov develops Mapping and Visuallzation to support collaboration. He holds degrees in Urban Design from Harvard GSD and Architecture from the University of Rome and brings background in urban design, facilities management and architecture, with experience in both the private and public sectors. He produced some of the first CAFM facilities database, for all Apple office buildings in Cupertino and the mapping database in support of NASA Ames for the conversion of Moffett Field Air Station, proposing also a campus solution for the International Space University.  Witnessing the initial steps of ‘joint venture’ among industry, academia and governments in the heart of Silicon Valley inspired his focus towards implementing methods and strategies for collaboration.  In the early days, he helped co-develop ESRI’s ArcView GIS application for the Macintosh platform and kept active interest in the GIS realm thru projects, community meetings and many conventions. GIS is more than just mapping, it is caring for our environment. More>

User Experience & Engagement

ClaudiaBrennerClaudia Brenner brings Business Strategy and Marketing (MBA) together with Information Visualization and Design, and User Experience, leveraging technology into digital solutions and supporting organizations, which she summarizes as Biz + Viz. She has a BS in Life Sciences (Pennsylvania State University, pre-med major) and MBA in Marketing and International Business from the Cox School of Business (Southern Methodist University).

She served for five years as Chair and Vice Chair for BayCHI (Bay Area Society for Computer Human Interaction). Her diverse career with Fortune 500, mid-size, and start-up companies includes work as a Senior Product Manager for Kaiser Permanente, Vice President of Marketing and Services for FutureLink, Senior Manager, Global e-Business for Applied Biosystems, Business Strategist for Scient Corporation, Product Manager for Oracle, sales and marketing for IBM, and Business Strategist and Information Architect for Atomic Strategic Design.

Currently, Claudia’s focus is on visualizing systems and using systems design to solve complex challenges for sustainability, e.g. water – emanating from her experience creating long-lasting digital solutions: mobile apps, global cross-enterprise portals, and online businesses for Fortune 1000, medium-sized, and start-up companies delivering integrated complex information systems globally, across and between enterprise(s), e.g. mergers, business process integration, portal platforms, mobile applications, innovation center, and mission control performance dashboards.


Growing Strategic Networks

George_OrbelianGeorge Orbelian serves on the Board of the Buckminster Fuller Institute (BFI) and is assembling Collaborative IQ [CIQ] Networks of  people with diverse expertise committed to regenerating our health and the health of our planet’s oceans and ecosystems. George Orbelian is advising earthDECKS on the identification, promotion and clustering of networks of champions, organizations, and companies whose individual leadership agendas can support each other, manifesting  collaborative intelligence for our planet . More>

Distributed Systems

CharlesPetrie-162Charles Petrie was a Senior Research Scientist in the Stanford University Computer Science Department and more recently has been a Guest Professor and Senior Research Scientist at the University of St. Gallen, Switzerland and at Karlsruhe University, Germany. He will start work at the Free University of Berlin in the Spring of 2018 on a European Union project on disaster prediction and management. He was the Founding Executive Director of the Stanford Networking Research Center, a Founding Member of Technical Staff of the MCC AI Lab, Founding Editor-in-Chief of IEEE Internet Computing, and the Founding Chair of the Semantic Web Services Challenge.  He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from The University of Texas at Austin.  His computer science research topics are concurrent engineering, enterprise management, crowdsourcing, collective intelligence and collaborative work, with a focus on Innovation via Design Thinking. These research interests include agent-based distributed process coordination, with emphasis on concurrent planning and design, and using agents with shared models for change propagation.

Federating Knowledge

JackPark-244x162Jack Park, Software Developer, worked at SRI International and edited the book XMLTopicMaps. He worked with Doug Engelbert and developed the Knowledge Garden to evolve and extend Doug Engelbart’s concept of a Dynamic Knowledge Repository, enabling communities of practice, which Engelbart called Networked Improvement Communities, to share knowledge via tagging, annotating, linking, and exchange. Knowledge gardening employs artificial intelligence concepts for knowledge organization and knowledge representation. Jack is developing an open source Watson-like agent system on his TopicQuests Foundation platform and working with the company KYNDI on their collaborative knowledge platform.

Augmented, Immersive & Virtual Reality, Animation and Film

A knowledge base of the scope that earthDECKS envisages requires a more innovative approach to knowledge management that can harness advanced viewing and interaction technology, i.e. VR and AR.

JulianGomezJulian Gómez, immersive VR technology expert, has pioneered new applications of immersive VR and 3D computer graphics. He was one of the first to recognize the potential of 3D computer graphics to serve as a platform for information management and knowledge integration. He has focused on how 3D graphics can support information systems architecture, ranging from web based solutions, CAD/PLM/KM to standards development, compliance and APIs. With experience in both academia and industry, and a focus on cross-disciplinary research and development, Julian Gomez has worked at NASA JPL’s Computer Graphics Laboratory, co-founded several start-ups, worked at NASA Ames Research Center at RIACS (Research Institute for Advanced Computer Science), Macromedia, APPLE, LEGO, and Sun.


Many organizations are working on complex sustainability problems. Each has its own knowledge base. Often they overlap but do not match. earthDECKS is developing the information architecture for coordinated solutions that leverage existing technology and knowledge.

Existing semantic and graph database technologies are currently used to build comprehensive knowledge bases to enable solution development. earthDECKS requires a knowledge base structure that incorporates existing knowledge with mechanisms to incorporate new knowledge, and capacity to use VR/AR to manage and analyze the contents of that knowledge base. This approach blends well with film-making, using a common technology base for content creation and the documentary subject. It bypasses errors created by translating from one medium to another.

Alex Korolko was a Moody Studio filmmaker prior to starting a full-time job at Google. He’s now an advisor and a Game*Changer who has made films on a range of topics. He earned degrees in electrical engineering and aeronautical engineering in the Ukraine before shifting to filmmaking and new media, where he harnesses his diverse skills, from animation to cinematography, from concept development to music composition and virtual/ augmented reality. He has diverse experience as a videographer, animator, editor, cameraman, and director on TV, video productions and live broadcast.

Agile Development

DennisBrittonDennis Britton has advised on discovering and augmenting new smart nodes in the earthDECKS innovation network. He brings extensive experience to guide innovation, increase effectiveness of technology development projects, lead lean canvas strategic visioning, product design alignment, feature prioritization, feature deconstruction and prototype construction. He’s seen human brilliance gone awry in many software development projects, large and small, which inspired him to develop turnaround  and disruptive innovation strategies for software development teams. He combines diverse experience with large companies  in the past (APPLE, Cisco, GE, HP, VISA) and currently (Paypal) with leadership in entrepreneurial and agile communities, and his passion for sustainability, start-ups and disruptive innovation.

Sustainable Strategies

RayMartin Ray Martin has advised on earthDECKS Strategy Development. He has extensive experience in the semiconductor and energy industries. As CEO of Alternative Lighting Technologies he pioneered new breakthroughs in LED lighting power electronics. At Asyst Technologies, he introduced new products that helped revenue grow from $22 million to $492 million in 5 years. As Asyst Technologies further grew to a $600 million public company, he ran the intellectual property program, guiding engineers in filing patent applications. Ray worked for Intel for 15 years, primarily in Intel’s development facility where the processes were developed to manufacture Intel’s advanced microprocessors. Ray Martin has a BS degree in Industrial Engineering from Georgia Institute of Technology and an MS degree in Engineering Management from Santa Clara University. Ray serves on the board of directors of Quantum Materials Corporation, a supplier of quantum dots for applications such as energy efficient television displays, LED lighting, and solar photovoltaic cells and was Chair of the Board of Sustainable Silicon Valley. He is committed to whole systems design and sustainability.

Below are key articles on this site. For other topics, search using the categories list to the right or the search function at the top. Our current focus is on

Plastic & Our Oceans: A Complex Systems Problem

We also address other related sustainability topics, such as

Climate Change

Health and the Environment

Ecosystems for Complex Problem-Solving

Collaborative Intelligence

Games and Media for Learning

Mapping and Visualization

Smart Cities