Even without protests in Cairo and Tea Party insouciance, there’s no doubt that most governments eventually lose “sync” with their people. Much like the software process that keeps the contacts, music and photos on our phones up to date with our computers, syncing government with the governed is challenging from a systems perspective. With so many moving parts, money, competing interests and lives at stake, it’s no wonder that sometimes the only way to fix things is to do a complete wipe and reinstall.
But could the solution to reforming government — generally making it more accountable, efficient and representative of its people — be found in technology? Can we move beyond procedural tweaks and yo-yo elections and address some of the fundamental underlying issues that plague our democracy?
I mean, if Apple, Google and Microsoft can’t even figure out a way to keep our address books current and not duplicated, what hope do we have to achieving the same in Washington? The answer may lie in using games — or more specifically, gamification — to understand why our government is so dysfunctional, and then work towards a fix.
Gamification is the use of game-thinking and game mechanics to solve problems and engage audiences, and is being used in fields as diverse as health care, education and advertising to create radical and profound behavior change. The first-ever Gamification Summit was recently held in San Francisco, and a question that was raised several times was, “Why can’t it work in Washington?” It can, and in some cases, already does.
Check out the rest of the article by Gabe Zichermann at The Huffington Post.
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