Gamification, Participatory Democracy and Engaged Public(s)

Paper by Gianluca Sgueo: “The use of game-design elements – a phenomenon known as ‘gamification’ – features prominently within on-going processes of innovation of governance. According to the research and advisory firm Gartner, 2,000 of the top public organizations worldwide have at least one gamified application and/or process in place. Examples of gamification in public governance include “Run that town” (ideated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics to raise citizens’ awareness of the national census), the “Red Balloon Challenge” (initiated by the United States’ Defence Advanced Research Project Agency to test systems for improving cooperation among soldiers, experts and diplomatic officers overseas), and “Manor Labs” (a web platform that awarded “Innobucks”, a type of virtual commodity, to residents of the City of Manor, in Texas, for proposing ideas related with urban development).
The purpose of this paper is threefold: first, to determine who is actually participating in public policy processes via gamification; second, to weigh the impact that the public(s) engaged by gamification has on democratic governance; third, to assess the societal environment within which gamification might flourish or establish plausibly….(More)”.