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Engagement
with Government
through
Technology & Gamification

                       Lewis Shepherd

                  lew...
The phenomenon,
not the word

Commenter "Neil" on a blogpost about the
trend/buzzword “gamification”, Oct. 14 2010:



  "...
Gamification derives from a game-
designer approach, “game mechanics”



 • Rules-based
 • Attempt to architect optimal be...
In Enterprise settings…
• traditional approach extended to
  enterprise use: BlueShield, Coca-
  Cola, hundreds of others
...
In Government settings…
• Attempts to apply term & concepts
  to government have often followed
  that enterprise model –
...
“Nudging” from the top
• Top-down, authoritative, prescriptive
• Author Ian Bogost has written:
  – "Gamification is Bulls...
TJ letter about the kind of government
where "every man … feels that he is a
participator in the government of
affairs, no...
Taking the reins which
citizens already hold
What about understanding &
extending the democratic,
bottom-up paradigm?

Ins...
Citizen scoring of optimal behavior by
government entities/representatives
• In political campaigns: already active in imp...
“Gaming the System”
• Pandering politicians!
  – The more babies you kiss, the more votes you
    earn
  – The Larry Sabat...
What are the analogues for citizen-government
implementation of traditional Gamification
techniques?

  •     Incentives/R...
Executive government
• Federal level (i.e. President)
• Local (e.g. mayors of San Jose, San Francisco)
Legislative government
• National/local blend within a representative
  republic; tie to the constituent (voter=scorer)
Judicial government
•   Citations
•   5-4 vs 9-0 counts
•   appeal/overturns statistics (9th Circuit)
•   Laughs per term!...
Judicial government
• Traditional critique demands televised
  sessions
  – Public commentary on Affordable Care Act
    (...
One traditional critique of
Gamification
• "Difference is, life is hard, real world can't be
  gamified"
   – Success is e...
More promise in bottom-up citizen-
government gamification
• Complexity is inherent and a central part of
  the response
•...
What would explicit supportive actions to
encourage Bottom-Up Gamification be?
• Using gaming mechanics to make the citize...
Using technology for government
gamification from below
• Social network sites
  – Direct engagement with politicians on T...
Recognize distinction from actual
Gaming world between 3 types of games
• PvP, competitive player games (global leaderboar...
The Invisible Hand of Politics

• Adam Smith on "invisible hand" controlling
  macroeconomics
  – Milton Friedman, Nobel P...
We need many more game mechanics
for democratic control of government

• something that rivals "big-donor reward
  system,...
“Politics is a good thing.”
popularized by Prof. Larry Sabato, University of Virginia



                                 ...
Engagement
with Government
through
Technology & Gamification
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my presentation this morning at the Gov 2.0 LA conference (at Pepperdine Univ.), topic: "The Invisible Hand of Politics: Engagement with Government through Technology and Gamification." Kind of a rebel take on the normal slant...

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Shepherd gov20 la 2012

  1. 1. Engagement with Government through Technology & Gamification Lewis Shepherd lewiss@microsoft.com @lewisshepherd
  2. 2. The phenomenon, not the word Commenter "Neil" on a blogpost about the trend/buzzword “gamification”, Oct. 14 2010: "I really hate the word itself. The suffix is twice as long as the root! A lexical disaster."
  3. 3. Gamification derives from a game- designer approach, “game mechanics” • Rules-based • Attempt to architect optimal behavior & activity, through scoring • Multiple layers of feedback-loops and positive/negative reinforcement; Maslow!
  4. 4. In Enterprise settings… • traditional approach extended to enterprise use: BlueShield, Coca- Cola, hundreds of others • just as used in software games, extended to software companies: – Microsoft, SAP, IBM
  5. 5. In Government settings… • Attempts to apply term & concepts to government have often followed that enterprise model – – “behavioral economics”
  6. 6. “Nudging” from the top • Top-down, authoritative, prescriptive • Author Ian Bogost has written: – "Gamification is Bullshit" – It’s "exploitationware" designed to manipulate and lie, in age-old ways. – Extrapolated to government, runs counter to Tim O’Reilly’s original expression of Government 2.0 as a Platform
  7. 7. TJ letter about the kind of government where "every man … feels that he is a participator in the government of affairs, not merely at an election one day in the year, but every day."
  8. 8. Taking the reins which citizens already hold What about understanding & extending the democratic, bottom-up paradigm? Instead of government incenting citizens, citizens incent government… and those who want to govern.
  9. 9. Citizen scoring of optimal behavior by government entities/representatives • In political campaigns: already active in implicit ways – Debate participation: 2012, 27 Republican primary debates – Tracking polls – No different from counting your Facebook "Likes" – the same exultation  • How many of us admit to posting something (photo, book reference) primarily to shape your external reputation or image?
  10. 10. “Gaming the System” • Pandering politicians! – The more babies you kiss, the more votes you earn – The Larry Sabato rule of "How to work a room"
  11. 11. What are the analogues for citizen-government implementation of traditional Gamification techniques? • Incentives/Rewards • Competition • Progress Feedback • Goal hierarchies
  12. 12. Executive government • Federal level (i.e. President) • Local (e.g. mayors of San Jose, San Francisco)
  13. 13. Legislative government • National/local blend within a representative republic; tie to the constituent (voter=scorer)
  14. 14. Judicial government • Citations • 5-4 vs 9-0 counts • appeal/overturns statistics (9th Circuit) • Laughs per term! • Oddity of lifetime appointment; results?
  15. 15. Judicial government • Traditional critique demands televised sessions – Public commentary on Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) – Electrified national debate • But little feedback loop on government via TV – Argentine model instead – Positive/negative reinforcement on court actions
  16. 16. One traditional critique of Gamification • "Difference is, life is hard, real world can't be gamified" – Success is easily structured/designed for the gamer, and achieved by the gamer – Real world success is heavily random and hard • In traditional government use of Gamification (topdown), same thing – only used in tangential areas (the public urinal) because of complexity, difficulty
  17. 17. More promise in bottom-up citizen- government gamification • Complexity is inherent and a central part of the response • "Finger on the pulse of the nation"
  18. 18. What would explicit supportive actions to encourage Bottom-Up Gamification be? • Using gaming mechanics to make the citizen- control-of-government a more compelling experience • Explicit rewards – Until now, largely financial; • Lincoln Bedroom sales; • Ambassadorial appointments; • Solyndra
  19. 19. Using technology for government gamification from below • Social network sites – Direct engagement with politicians on Twitter – Politicians/Agencies keeping track of Twitter follower numbers, Facebook likes
  20. 20. Recognize distinction from actual Gaming world between 3 types of games • PvP, competitive player games (global leaderboards, etc.) – This is where much enterprise "gamification" has focused; ranking, badges etc • Single-player games (challenge scales to evolving/learned skill of the user) – This is where small-ball government "gamification" has focused (social steering) • Cooperative multiplayer games (MMOGs) – Gamification mechanics require deep understanding of the social interactions within the system Among these 3, I'm talking about “Cooperative multiplayer democracy”
  21. 21. The Invisible Hand of Politics • Adam Smith on "invisible hand" controlling macroeconomics – Milton Friedman, Nobel Prize winner in economics, called Smith's Invisible Hand "the possibility of cooperation without coercion" • Macropolitics controls Government; the hot breath of the people – The Founding Fathers were game designers, particularly at the Constitutional Convention – Constitutional Amendments are merely game versions. We're now up to “version XXVII.0”
  22. 22. We need many more game mechanics for democratic control of government • something that rivals "big-donor reward system,” for the hot breath of the people – Already the system responds – usually – to incentives like • GDP growth • Unemployment rate • Murder/Crime rates
  23. 23. “Politics is a good thing.” popularized by Prof. Larry Sabato, University of Virginia Followup: lewiss@microsoft.com @lewisshepherd
  24. 24. Engagement with Government through Technology & Gamification

my presentation this morning at the Gov 2.0 LA conference (at Pepperdine Univ.), topic: "The Invisible Hand of Politics: Engagement with Government through Technology and Gamification." Kind of a rebel take on the normal slant...

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