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SXSW 2012: Fixing Broke(n) Government Through Serious Games

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SXSW 2012: Fixing Broke(n) Government Through Serious Games

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This presentation describes how we produced a serious of games that enabled the citizens of San José, CA to directly prioritize key budget issues in a way that allowed their elected officials to act on the results.

This presentation describes how we produced a serious of games that enabled the citizens of San José, CA to directly prioritize key budget issues in a way that allowed their elected officials to act on the results.

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SXSW 2012: Fixing Broke(n) Government Through Serious Games

  1. Fixing Broke(n) Governments Through Serious Games Luke Hohmann Founder and CEO The Innovation Games® Company Twitter: #innovgames
  2. What I promised In My Session Description • What is the latest in serious games and what kinds of public problems are they solving? • Why are games a particularly good tool for budgeting? What leverage do they offer over other alternative budgeting approaches like deliberative democracy, participatory budgeting, or majority voting through polls? • How can serious budget games be scaled up? What are the challenges we face in expanding play to thousands or millions? • How do we interpret the results of budget games and how can elected officials act on these results? • How do we measure the impact of budget games? What are their long term effects on civic engagement and the financial sustainability of communities?
  3. Can these citizens…
  4. Fix this crisis? And restore these dreams?
  5. Through Games?
  6. Games Solve Problems Through Play Jane McGonigal “Games have four elements…” Arbitrary Constraints Voluntary Participation Interaction Rules 6
  7. Serious Games are Designed To Solve “Serious” Problems • Advergames: Get you to buy stuff. • Edutainment: Get you to learn stuff and have fun. • Newsgames: Journalistic games motivated by current events. • Simulations: Learn / explore. • Exergaming: Get to you to be healthy. • Innovation Games®: Serious games for strategy, market research, portfolio mgmt. And even more…
  8. What Are Innovation Games® Innovation Games® are purpose-driven games that solve a wide range of product strategy and management problems across the market lifecycle. They are played: •with customers & internal stakeholders •In small groups of 5 to 8 people •online or in-person •in single or multi-game formats Some of our many games..
  9. Market Insights Prioritize Prioritize Features Project Determine Portfolios Strategic Account Manage Priorities NPD Strategic Roadmaps Strategic Planning Identify Product Enhancements Determine Product Prioritize Epics Interactions Used and Endorsed By: 9
  10. What was the “real” problem? Find w Prioriti ays to… zation - Raise Determ taxes ine vote - Cut p prioriti r rogram es on k - Increa s issues a ey se nd act efficien on them cy .
  11. Prioritization Games 20/20 Vision Prioritize desired benefits, values, goals. Prune the Product Tree Develop great roadmaps. Buy a Feature Use a virtual market to prioritize features, projects, items.
  12. • 12 to 20 items described in terms of benefits and costs • 5 to 8 players given limited budget and buy what they want 1. … Buy a Feature 2. 3. … … 4. … The reasons Produces these A list of items behind the ranking. Results ranked by your players. Feedback that shapes and improves the items.
  13. Creating Budget Games From Buy a Feature To get money to fund a Proposal… Citizens must reach unanimous agreement on reduction proposals or new taxes. Click on the images to link to PDFs of these documents. 13
  14. 2011: Proposals Funded Proposals Funded: By Table Table Table TableTable Table TableTable Table Table Table Table Table # % (total 12 tables) A B C D E F G H I J K L Anti-graffiti 9 75% 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Branch Libraries 7 58% 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Children's Health Initiative 7 58% 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Christmas in the Park 2 17% 1 1 Citywide Traffic Safety Services 5 42% 1 1 1 1 1 Crossing Guards 1 8% 1 General Code Enforcement 10 83% 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 HNVF Community Based Orgs 2 17% 1 1 Holiday Parade 1 8% 1 Hub Community Centers 7 58% 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 MLK Library 3 25% 1 1 1 Park Rangers 5 42% 1 1 1 1 1 Park Restrooms 6 50% 1 1 1 1 1 1 Pavement Maintenance 10 83% 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Safe Schools Campus Initiative (SSCI) 8 67% 1 1 1 1 1 San José citizens 1 1 1 San Jose Best CBO Streetlights 8 7 67% 58% 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 chose1 Pavement 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 Strong Neighborhoods Initiative 8 67% 1 1 1 1 Maintence OVER 1 1 1 1 Total : 12 5 9 5 10 6 8 10 9 9 15 8 Libraries. Yes, that’s radical. 14
  15. Producing a Game… Not Always Fun… • Planning our 1st game took 3 months • City staff were very enthusiastic, but it took time and coaching to convert “Reduce police costs by xx% to save $1.2M” to “Eliminate the Police Helicopter Program to save $1.2M” • Play testing was essential • Developing branded money was fun • City provided space
  16. Who Played? San José residents, Neighborhood Associations Leaders and the Youth Commission, carefully balanced across the tables. Subject Matter Experts answered questions. Who Facilitated? More than 35 trained facilitators contributed >$125K in pro-bono services.
  17. Key Results? • The City made many budget choices in alignment with our games – Reductions in Fire Department staffing – Reductions in Police Department staffing – Delays in libraries and elimination of services – Funding of key proposals • Citizens loved the process
  18. Pushing The Boundaries in 2012 We tested new taxes (“new revenues”) We tested Each table could add “buy one or none” ONE new funding proposals proposl.
  19. 2012 Results Summary: Cost-Savings and Revenue Generation Reductions/Cost Savings Proposal Amount A B C D E F G H I J K # of Tables % of Tables A. 1/4 cent sales tax $ 36,000,000 1 1 1 1 1 1 6 55% B. Shift TOT Arts Funding to General Fund $ 2,100,000 1 1 9% C. Shift TOT Convention Center Marketing Funding to General Fund $ 2,100,000 1 1 2 18% D. Business Tax Adjustment $ 10,000,000 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 7 64% E. Disposal Facility Tax $ 5,000,000 1 1 1 1 1 5 45% F. Eliminate Compensation and Disability Retirement System G. Workers Overtime for Fair Labor Standards Act $ 1,200,000 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 8 73% Reform $ 2,000,000 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 7 64% I. Reduce Staffing in Engine Companies from 4 to 3 $ 16,600,000 1 1 1 3 27% J. Children's Health Initiative $ 1,000,000 0 0% K. Close Park Restrooms $ 500,000 1 1 9% L. Eliminate Park Ranger Program $ 500,000 0 0% Parcel Tax AA. $100 Parcel Tax $ 32,000,000 1 1 1 1 1 5 45% BB. $200 Parcel Tax $ 64,000,000 1 1 2 18% How many revenue-generating proposals did this table choose? 0 2 2 2 1 1 4 34 3 3 Revenue generating proposals are shown in this color.
  20. 2012 Results Summary: Funding Proposals Summary Funding Proposal Price Purchase Count? Results are sorted based on purchase 14. Gang Prevention Efforts 10. General Code Enforcement 8 tables funded pavement maintenance. 7 $2,900,000 $500,000 11 10 9. Restore Park Ranger Program $2,200,000 9 frequency 19. Neighborhood & School Traffic Safety 1. Hub Community Center through a parcel tax, 1 through the sales tax. $600,000 $900,000 9 8 2. Satellite & Neighborhood Community Centers $600,000 8 6. Open Bascom & Seven Trees Libraries $1,600,000 8 8 tables funded 7. Open Calabazas & Educational Park Branch Libraries $1,600,000 8 police field patrol. 5. MLK Library Services Restoration $500,000 7 11. Traffic Safety Improvements $1,500,000 7 3. Branch Library Hours 4-4.5 $1,700,000 6 8. Open Bascom Community Center $600,000 6 17. Pavement Maintenance: Maintain FAIR Neighborhood Streets $32,000,000 6 4. Branch Library Hours 4-5.5 $4,700,000 4 10 tables funded 12. Police Field Patrol: 40 positions $7,500,000 4 increasing branch 13. Police Field Patrol: 80 positions $15,000,000 4 library hours. 15. Temporary Fire Company Closures (Brown-outs) $5,400,000 4 16. Open South San José Police Substation $2,400,000 4 18. Pavement Maintenance: Improve from FAIR to GOOD Neighborhood Streets $64,000,000 2 Citizen Proposed Projects W1. Medical Marijuana Improvement Program $2,500,000 1 W2. Bike Lanes/Table Proposal $900,000 1 W3. Elementary Public School in Meadowfair $2,000,000 1 W4. Boards and Commissions $250,000 1 W5. Spartan Keys Alleyways Repair $750,000 1
  21. Analysis / Interpretation of Results Also informed by the review of Facilitator and Observer Comments • Gang prevention and other forms of “non-police” intervention to increase the safety and “livability” of the city were top priorities. • Participants demonstrated a strong desire to increase revenues (raise taxes) to improve pavement conditions. • Tables that enacted the sales tax spent significantly less money on funding proposals than was available, with an average of $12,000,000 of unspent funds. We interpret this as a clear signal that participants favor a prudent and measured approach to budgeting and spending even when a proportionally large sum of money is available. • Participants generated five unique funding proposals that are detailed later in this report. • Participants expressed a strong desire for additional game-based sessions focused on “growing” the City. 21
  22. Why Are Budget Games Better Than Budget Puzzles? Dimension Budget Puzzles Budget Games Producers Goals? Educate the public. Make budget cuts. Players Goals? Explore and learn. Buy what you want. How do you “win”? Balance the budget. N/A – You don’t “win”. Nature of play? Solitary. Collaborative. Impact of choices? None. “Being silly is OK”. Significant. “Being silly is NOT OK”. In-person or online Online. In-person. (Future: online). Biases? A tie. All techniques have inherent bias. See web site for details.
  23. We Have Many Opportunities to Improve • Improve preparation – Distribute proposals in advance – Solicit citizen-proposals in advance • Use more technology – During the event to scale – Provide real-time results • Create more opportunities to continue the conversations 23
  24. Possible Follow-up Innovation Games® Buy A Feature Online Prune the Product Tree Prune the Product Tree Product Box 24
  25. Prune the Product Tree • Draw a tree. • Add current ideas from your roadmap as leaves and apples. • 5 to 8 stakeholders shape the “growth” of your offering. • Captures very rich information about perceptions of the future, timing of new concepts, balance, and relationships among ideas. Understand the evolution of your offering.
  26. Community Growth Games (In Planning) Prune the Community Buy a Feature Online Product Tree leaders and Will be used to “fund” Online city officials the projects. To identify will shape Citizens will publicly community ideas into commit their time to service projects. projects. projects. “Funded” projects will receive seed money from the city.
  27. Engaging Millions of Americans • Our platforms work well for business. They need enhancements to work for goverments. • Enrollment and Authentication: Are you a registered voter in the right jurisdiction? • Anonymity: Can you participate in a game in a way that preserves you free speech? (very hard) • Coordinating Massive Numbers of Players: We need improved designs for players, SMEs, facilitators. • Minimizing bias: We need a “wikipedia” for the content within the games to minimize bias.
  28. What About Gamification?
  29. What About Participatory Budgeting? Participatory budgeting is a process of democratic deliberation and decision-making, and a type of participatory democracy, in which ordinary people decide how to allocate part of a municipal or public budget. Participatory budgeting allows citizens to identify, discuss, and prioritize public spending projects, and gives them the power to make real decisions about how money is spent. Thanks, Wikipedia
  30. Can One Company Do This? YES NO • Global network of trained • We’re a bootstrapped facilitators continue to grow startup. We can’t fund all • Proven results in many non- the changes we need on our profit endeavors own and (so far) funding • City leaders are gaining organizations have rejected our proposals trust in us and “games” To improve our chances for success we will be creating a non-profit in 2012 to focus on increasing civic engagement through games.
  31. San Jose, CA Budget Games
  32. Thank You For more information or to get involved: The Innovation Games® Company 480 San Antonio Rd. Ste 202 Mountain View, CA 94040 Luke Hohmann lhohmann@innovationgames.com Social media? lukehohmann #innovgames Innovation Through Understanding®
  33. Why Innovation Games®? • Game playing gives “permission” to be fully creative • Innovation Games® utilize multiple forms of intelligence (verbal, visual, strategic) thereby providing greater volumes of information • Collaborative behavior & shared goals are fun • Some games provide wonderful player artwork that help spur the larger organization to action • Collaborative play != consensus

Editor's Notes

  • If our many corporate customers can solve problems through game play, why not citizens?
  • www.The Innovation Games(R) Company.com Copyright (c) 2003-2007 by Luke Hohmann
  • We’ll add gamification to motivate repeat play
  • www.enthiosys.com Copyright (c) 2003-2006 by Luke Hohmann

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