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Gamification may be the next trend in municipal government

Two municipal CIOs tell an SAP best run cities event that gamification could be coming soon to a government near you

NEW YORK CITY– A recent panel organized by technology vendor SAP AG (NYSE: SAP) to discuss best practices in open government and open data identified gamification as a possible coming trend in municipal government and citizen engagement.

When asked to identify possible coming trends relating to open government, or trends they’d like to see, City of Edmonton CIO Chris Moore identified gamification as a potential future tool to help cities engage their citizens in municipal government.

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“Gamification is close,” said Moore. “If we could figure out how to think of our cities as games – not making fun, but thinking of it as an improv – it would open a whole new level of conversation.”

The City of Boston has already begun to experiment with gamification techniques, said Boston CIO Bill Oates.

“When you think about engagement, you’re thinking about how do I make this more interesting,” said Oates.

He said Boston has participated in a beta of a platform called Community Planet, a product developed by a professor at Emerson College. It focused around trying to engage people that come to community meetings, where the challenge is a few people well-educated in the topics often dominate the exchange, conversing at a level above those without their depth in the topic. Often people end up talking at people, rather than to people in these meeting, leading to a less than desirable outcome.

“(Community Planet) uses gamification to try to educate people a little bit on what the issues really are and rewards people for learning things and contributing,” said Oates. “And they can use what they’ve learned to vote on solutions.”

Moore sat down with IT World Canada to discuss the City of Edmonton’s open data journey. Click below for an edited transcript.

Click to read: How Edmonton embraces open data