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 Jos, CA to directly prioritize key budget issues in a way that allowed their elected officials to act on the results.

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  • Fixing Broke(n) Governments Through Serious Games Luke Hohmann Founder and CEO The Innovation Games Company Twitter: #innovgames
  • 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?
  • Can these citizens
  • Fix this crisis? And restore these dreams?
  • Through Games?
  • Games Solve Problems Through PlayJane McGonigal Games have four elements Arbitrary Constraints Voluntary Participation Interaction Rules 6
  • 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
  • What Are Innovation GamesInnovation Games are purpose-drivengames that solve a wide range of productstrategy and management problemsacross the market lifecycle.They are played:with customers & internal stakeholdersIn small groups of 5 to 8 peopleonline or in-personin single or multi-game formats Some of our many games..
  • Market Insights Prioritize Prioritize Features Project Determine Portfolios Strategic Account Manage Priorities NPD Strategic Roadmaps Strategic Planning Identify Product Enhancements Determine Product Prioritize Epics InteractionsUsed andEndorsed By: 9
  • 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 actefficien on them cy .
  • Prioritization Games20/20 VisionPrioritize desiredbenefits, values, goals. Prune the Product Tree Develop great roadmaps. Buy a Feature Use a virtual market to prioritize features, projects, items.
  • 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 reasonsProduces these A list of items behind the ranking. Results ranked by your players. Feedback that shapes and improves the items.
  • 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
  • 2011: Proposals FundedProposals 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 LAnti-graffiti 9 75% 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1Branch Libraries 7 58% 1 1 1 1 1 1 1Childrens Health Initiative 7 58% 1 1 1 1 1 1 1Christmas in the Park 2 17% 1 1Citywide Traffic Safety Services 5 42% 1 1 1 1 1Crossing Guards 1 8% 1General Code Enforcement 10 83% 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1HNVF Community Based Orgs 2 17% 1 1Holiday Parade 1 8% 1Hub Community Centers 7 58% 1 1 1 1 1 1 1MLK Library 3 25% 1 1 1Park Rangers 5 42% 1 1 1 1 1Park Restrooms 6 50% 1 1 1 1 1 1Pavement Maintenance 10 83% 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1Safe Schools Campus Initiative(SSCI) 8 67% 1 1 1 1 1 San Jos citizens 1 1 1San Jose Best CBOStreetlights 8 7 67% 58% 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 chose1 Pavement 1 1 1 1 1 1 1Strong 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, thats radical. 14
  • 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
  • Who Played? San Jos residents, Neighborhood Associations Leaders and the Youth Commission, carefully balanced across the tables. Subject Matter Experts answered questions.Who Facilitated?More than 35 trainedfacilitators contributed>$125K in pro-bonoservices.
  • 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
  • Pushing The Boundaries in 2012 We tested new taxes (new revenues) We testedEach table could add buy one or noneONE new funding proposalsproposl.
  • 2012 Results Summary: Cost-Savings and Revenue GenerationReductions/Cost Savings Proposal Amount A B C D E F G H I J K # of Tables % of TablesA. 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 SystemG. 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. Childrens 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 TaxAA. $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 3Revenue generating proposals are shown in this color.
  • 2012 Results Summary: Funding Proposals SummaryFunding Proposal Price Purchase Count? Results are sorted based on purchase14. Gang Prevention Efforts10. General Code Enforcement 8 tables funded pavement maintenance. 7 $2,900,000 $500,000 11 109. Restore Park Ranger Program $2,200,000 9 frequency19. Neighborhood & School Traffic Safety1. Hub Community Center through a parcel tax, 1 through the sales tax. $600,000 $900,000 9 82. Satellite & Neighborhood Community Centers $600,000 86. Open Bascom & Seven Trees Libraries $1,600,000 8 8 tables funded7. Open Calabazas & Educational Park Branch Libraries $1,600,000 8 police field patrol.5. MLK Library Services Restoration $500,000 711. Traffic Safety Improvements $1,500,000 73...