Authors: Bruno Setola and Levien Nordeman
Gamification is one of the four specialisations of Social Practices at the WdKA. With Gamification we seek to empower (underprivileged) audiences to understand, challenge and change the rules that govern their lives and society through play. We encourage our stakeholders to adopt a playful attitude in order to get back in touch with what intrinsically motivates them in life.
The sky is the limit
The minor project 'The Sky is the Limit' is an example of our approach. Students were asked to create a tool that helps youth from Cape Town, South Africa recognise the risks of being involved in criminal activities. After conducting research on cultural differences and psychology, the students created mini-games that offered new experiences to the youth as well as the NGOs that are stakeholders in this problem. It is precisely the 'experience' and, most importantly, the reflection on this experience that is at the heart of our approach. This enables a change in mindset, awareness and stakeholder behaviour.
It is through the creation of this space – whether it's called a game, an experience or an experiment – that the designer reframes reality; by redefining the rules and dynamics through a change in meta-communications, the designer creates a play space to experiment with new rules and their implications. 'Game mechanics' and 'game thinking' are still design tools we love to use. Our broad expertise in all aspects of games and play, social psychology and applied philosophy are integrated in the curriculum. We use these tools to achieve something that transcends them: a playful mindset.