What is the problem?
It would be a gaming version of ‘Fix my Street’ where you can report faults and gain points. It would be mobile based with three functions - a report strand, an update strand and a community/social gaming strand.
“We want to develop a mobile app which combines reporting of issues your physical community (broken lights / potholes / unkempt land etc etc) with a gaming approach. We thought this had strong elements of co-production as well as being channel authentic – and so we created “Call of Duty” – which will be flying of the shelves at Christmas….. “
“Why? We could have just designed a mobile app for street scene reporting – a kind of phone based ‘fixmystreet’ – and I know that other councils are thinking about just that (for example Lewisham iphone app ) and its a really good thing to do. But we thought that adding a gaming element added in two additional benefits:
- It would be more fun – when did the idea of doing something useful become unfun anyway?
- It could be used to link people in the area together – using the gaming community to build local community
The game itself should be fairly simple – you get points for:
- reporting an issue (5 points)
- rating an issue (1 point)
- doing something about an issue (10 points)(points clearly indicative at this stage – currency to be established!)
We assumed that the app would know where/when you were reporting something (probably with a photo) and that you would just be asked to firstly suggest an outcome – do you want it fixed by the council or do you think the community should deal with it for example – and then prioritise the issue by being shown a list of current issues and being asked to place it in the right place in the queue. We felt that this moved the user passed just complaining and gave them some sense of the whole picture. Other users could then ‘rate’ that prioritisation. You would be able to track the status of your issues, as well as getting updates on things that have been dealt with in your area (you might see some before and after pictures for example)…..btw – there is clearly a whole back office integration piece to be done here but we decided not to worry about that…..again – it was a Saturday
The gaming element would contribute a leader board where you could see who else has been active and where you relate to them – you could also have viral options so that you could share issues with your community to get support for your prioritisation. At this point I started getting drawn into a whole top trumps thing where you got rated for the types of things you report, how you fix them etc etc….
The final element was some way of linking game currency – points – to some kind of real world rewards – for example cheap entrance to a swimming pool. We felt that this would provide additional motivation and acknowledge the fact that you are ‘working’ for your community. We also wanted to make it possible to donate your game currency to local charities etc so that they could benefit.
This is not an unachievable idea – as long as you can remain committed to the idea that it does actually have to be fun and to engage with some actual game designers rather than the poor folks who will have to make it work with the back office systems. Its strengths are, I believe, in the fact that it tries to use the channel in a ‘native’ way without actually compromising on the social goals of the project. The first step to doing this would be to do some focus group work around establishing motivations and looking at what the game currency would need to look like.”
What is needed to make this idea successful?
“What can be achieved when you actually think appropriately for a channel and when you don’t get constrained with what is currently possible? What happens when you accept the fact that you probably won’t get anything built for at least a year – so why not look that far ahead in terms of the technology? And what happens when you think that actually it should be fun to do stuff for and with your community – and look at building something to do that?Gaming is a growth area for online – as is augmented reality – and both of these come together in this idea. So – are you intrigued or was this just a way to pass a rainy saturday?”
What can be done to make the idea successful?
Work with the informal social economy such as mobs and mutual support services to embed the prototypes into the community