Use The Power of Collaborative, Serious Games to Engage Citizens and
Resolve Our Budget Crises
It’s no secret. We’re broke. Local governments, state governments, the U.S. Federal Government and many international governments are all facing budget shortfalls, spending cuts and reduced services. All of us — ordinary citizens, elected officials, civic and community leaders — know that we must make dramatic changes and tough choices to solve this crisis. But how do we engage our communities in identifying and prioritizing the best possible solutions? How do we create more engaged and informed citizens?
Our Answer? Fix Broke(n) Governments through Serious Games
Instead of polling residents individually, our specially designed Innovation Game®, the San Jose Budget Games, created an opportunity for ordinary citizens to negotiate with one another, listen to their neighbors and create budgets that reflected not only their own but others viewpoints. Civic leaders left the San Jose Budget Games with both a clear and actionable list of the proposals citizens could compromise on and also a record of why they had found common ground—and the game results have impacted the actual city budget.
Our experience with the city of San Jose has convinced us that games are a powerful tool for civic engagement: Thus we’re seeking funds to extend our existing in-person version of Budget Games into an online version. Instead of engaging hundreds of citizens, we want to powerfully connect tens of thousands or even millions of motivated citizens with their elected officials—and we need your help to get this done.
“This essay shows how a total of $14000 billion up front and at least another $2085 billion per year can be made available for creative investment in the USA by adopting a post-scarcity worldview. This money can help further fund a virtuous cycle of more creative and more cost saving efforts, as well as better education. It calls for the non-profit sector to help shape a new mythology of wealth and to take the lead in getting the average person as well as decision makers to make the shift in worldview to their own long term benefit. … Let us consider ways to free up money for the non-profit sector (or
reducing working hours) by cutting wasteful government and consumer
spending in these areas with (annual estimate of easy savings):
The book includes chapters by several colleagues of mine like Mike Best on “Mobile Phones in Conflict Stressed Environments”, Ken Banks on “Appropriate Mobile Technologies,” Oscar Salazar and Jorge Soto on “How to Crowdsource Election Monitoring in 30 Days,” Jacok Korenblum and Bieta Andemariam on “How Souktel Uses SMS Technology to Empower and Aid in Conflict-Affected Communities,” and Emily Jacobi on “Burma: A Modern Anomaly.”
My colleagues Jessica Heinzelman, Rachel Brown and myself also contributed one of the chapters, “Mobile Technology, Crowdsourcing and Peace Mapping: New Theory and Applications for Conflict Management.”