An incentive platform for encouraging public
engagement for the good
Encouraging public participation in
providing civic services is a challenge
There are problems of awareness - how do people ﬁnd out about
It’s difﬁcult for particular services to address these problems on
their own - they need scale.
For users there are problems of recognition for their
For many users it is not fun or social.
We can learn from social media
Amazing civic resources - like Wikipedia
& Ushahidi - have been built through user
People do give up their free time to do
stuff for two kinds of reasons (Clay
Personal - they want to feel
autonomous & competent.
Social - they want to feel part of a
group & they have a need to share.
We can learn from games
We can make services more social and more fun.
Games have developed sophisticated ways to encourage
engagement by players - by offering rewards that tick age
old evolutionary boxes,
like learning, recognition, serendipity & status.
Now non game applications like Foursquare also use
these incentive systems to encourage participation.
Can this be extended to encourage public action for good?
We certainly think so...
The idea - Actionista
We’re proposing a cross-service
platform, that comprises of two parts:
1. Game-like Badges
2. Social functionality.
To encourage repeat engagement in
civic services by the largest possible
group of people.
Badges for engagement
How badges work: Service speciﬁc badges
There are service speciﬁc
and cross services incentives. deﬁnes
A bike journey
Service speciﬁc rewards
Services have their own
Services - like Transport for
London - can register actions (a
bike journey) and badges
= Service Speciﬁc Badge
triggered by these actions - like
the “50 Boris Bike Journeys” Actionista
Badges for engagement
Cross service badges
Cross service incentives
At the same time cross service, Action
more generic ‘social outcomes’ are A TfL Actionista
deﬁned centrally on Actionista.
‘Recycling’ for instance is then
represented by the “Goody Green
These can be triggered by a
combination of actions done on Actions
To increase their desirablility - Cross service
Some badges are very hard to get Badge
and require special or collective
Actionista is a social layer
Social: Actionista includes user
proﬁles with a ‘Badge Bank’ for each
Users are authenticated either via
Twitter or Facebook making the
Actionista system part of the social
Users can publish their Actionista
Badges to these platforms, and get
widgets and embed codes which
they can use to show off their
Badges on Platforms like Facebook
Will it be used?
Social enterprises, local government and charities all need
help to engage users in being active citizens.
Users don’t have to sign up every time they join a service.
Users get the recognition they crave for their contributions.
It is more social. And it is fun.
Services can get a fuller picture
of who their users are. The
system will have a cross service
analytics back-end that all
services can tap into.
What do we need to make it
There is one unanswered question -
Who runs Actionista on a policy level - who decides
service-wide badges and which kinds of services qualify?
Other than that, all we need is money to build it.