Picture a government that measures civic value on a numbered scale, with civic performances tallied on leader boards, like a football match. Imagine if civic value was viewed as a game played by everyday citizens, sometimes in competition, other times working in harmony towards a common goal. And imagine that winners were celebrated (and losers blamed) collectively. All over the world, governments, public bodies and international organisations are using technology in ways to transform the exercise of public power into a game. Gamified public power is much closer to reality than it may first appear - and as Eugeny Morozov ironically points out, it looks nothing like ‘your average Tetris’.
The book aims at discussing the promises and the challenges behind the use of gamification in public governance, both at the national and supranational levels.
In the first part, the book reviews the landscape of gamification, takes a brief look at its history, provides definitions and examples of its application within the private and public sectors. At the private level, examples include business companies, civic organisations, media outlets and universities. In the public sector, the examples include both successful and unsuccessful efforts by public regulators at the national and supranational levels to ‘gamify’ their policies.
The second part shifts the focus from the descriptive to the problematic analysis of gamification in governance. Readers are also introduced to a number of issues and challenges linked with the use of game-design elements into policy-making. Risks include the nurturing of an elite concept of participatory democracy, the rise of implementation and monitoring costs, the rise of a distorted perception of public powers from the public, and linguistic and privacy issues.
Building on previous parts, the third section addresses the efforts that civic engineers, scholars and policy-makers propose to make of gamification a tool for improving democracy.
Here the book's profile: Games, Powers & Democracies