Social change is a long and complex process. Can we speed it up?
According to Georgina Stevens from Guardian Professional Network, “gamify” might be the right answer.
In her article Gaming is driving social change but we need more players, Stevens takes a note that:
Every day 11 million people plough virtual fields and 30 million people catapult angry birds at smug pigs; in all we spend three billion hours each week playing games.
So, gaming became something socially accepted . And that is one of the reasons for many companies and organizations to try their hands at ‘gamifying’ their staff.
Wide audience is also starting to discuss games in a context of health issues, national problems and policy making process.
And there are plenty of organisations which dedicate their time to support the development of “games with purpose”, “social impact games” or “serious” games, such as not for profit Games for Change.
What is more, we can already observe positive effects of such initiatives. For example:
According to Jane McGonigal, one of the team behind World Without Oil, a collaborative game simulation of an oil shortage, they found that when they followed up with some of their 2000 players, there had been some significant behaviour changes, including people starting their own vegetable patches, converting their cars to biodiesel, and some even moving to smaller houses to cut their commute and energy bills.
At the end of the article Stevens adds:
(…) most excitingly, games could be used by companies to help harness the creativity of staff to develop innovative solutions to current and future sustainability issues, and come up with new sustainable products and services.