Gianluca Sgueo with Gamification for Civic Engagement | Episode 099

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Gian­luca Sgueo is Global Media Seminar Professor at New York University – Florence, and Research Associate at the Center of Social Studies of the University of Coimbra (Portugal). He is also Department Director at the Institute of Competitiveness, a think tank located in Rome and Brussels. His professional background includes several experiences in the public sector. From 2011 to 2013 he was the Head of Communications of the Italian Government; since 2014 he is Policy Analyst at the Parliamentary Research of the European Parliament. He has published extensively on participatory democracy, lobbying and globalization. His last book title is ‘Games, Powers & Democracies’, Bocconi University Press 2018.

An average Monday for Gianluca starts very early at 4:00 a.m. in Rome, where he takes a train to Florence and there he teaches a course on media activism and democracy. Then back by train to fly to Brussels where he works as a parliament policy analyst. At the Vesalius College in Belgium, Gianluca teaches a class on gamification. He then returns to Rome on Friday to spend the weekend with his family but sometimes makes a stop in Paris at Sciences Po to teach another class.

A favorite fail for Gianluca was when he was running a gamified experience, it involved simulating pressure groups. These groups try to be influential in their lobbying using gamification. Although people enjoyed this they still came out with traditional ideas and therefore Gianluca considers it a fail. He is completely redesigning the gamified experience this year in order to try and combat this.

An example of a time where Gianluca succeeded is when he was teaching a class in a media group in Italy where they have a master on lobbying and communication. The students must think about a strategy to influence the EU, this involves drawing a power map which is identifying stakeholders based on who would be your ally and who would be your opponent.

Gianluca works with 60% theory and 40% case studies as this is the balance he found to be effective in the students understanding. He has also found running a very short practical session at the end is extremely effective.

Remember that Gianluca Sgueo is going to be at Gamification Europe 2019 in Berlin, so if you want to join us there, get your discounted tickets on and support Professor Game through this affiliate link!

He believes any gamification process would benefit from having a broad overview of what has been done in the same field by others. The case studies that Gianluca has studied and written about he found that the most successful was when the designers had studied very carefully the worst and best practices.

Gianluca thinks that Dan Ariely should be on the podcast. He feels Dan is a very inspirational scholar, he wrote the book Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces That Shape Our Decisions and is a great speaker. This then leads on to the recommendations for books for Gianluca, the first one is as mentioned Predictably Irrational by Ariely but he also recommends Nudge by Richard Thaler. He also recommends New Power by Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms, a book about how power is shifting in this world, becoming more distributed and transparent.

A superpower that he would like to have more than already having, is to engage citizens and allowing them to have fun as citizens. A favorite game for Gianluca that he still plays since he was a teenager is Dungeons and Dragons. He still plays with the original rules and so doesn’t attend the events where it is more complicated. He really enjoys being the dungeon master as it is more the role of a game designer.

Gianluca’s talk at Gamification Europe is around the social credit score that is happening in China. This is about the government looking at giving a score to citizens depending on their behavior. This involves everything they do, such as watching Netflix or Social Media. This is an example of game design in government. Another one comes from California where they are looking at engaging citizens through an app to decide (swiping left or right) what projects to apply or not.

We can find Gianluca on his website, Twitter @GianlucaSgueo and the rest of the main sites of social media.


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