Welcome Boing Boing Readers

Many of you are arriving by way of Boing Boing, where our colleague David Pescovitz has posted a nice write-up on Connected Citizens. With just about an hour-and-a-half to go you’d better get going adding your micro-forecasts, provocations and insights about the future of government and connected citizens. (Though there are rumors circulating at Foresight Engine HQ that a super-secret extra bonus round will be added).

To get started:

  1. Watch a brief 4-minute video showcasing possible futures for government and citizenship in 2022
  2. Create your player account (you can also do this from the video page)
  3. Explore reactions to the video  from others and the ensuing conversations that have evolved over the last 22 hours (but not until you create your player!)

Our doors are open! We are waiting to hear from you!

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 1.38.18 PM

Posted in In-Game Reports, Media Coverage | Leave a comment

Final Push: 3 Hours Left!

For the past 21 hours, social inventors from around the world have been reprogramming government services.  Now it’s time for the final push.  With only 3 hours left, we need your best ideas.

Screen shot 2013-01-23 at 9.09.57 AMHow can we mobilize citizens to fill the cracks in a rapidly shrinking public sector?

As we rush into the future of connected citizens, what are we leaving behind?

Just joining us?  More on how to play can be found here.


Game guides will be watching closely during these last 3 hours of gameplay. They will give out awards to highlight players who are stepping up to win a mission by solving particular problems or making extraordinary contributions. Here are some of the awards that are at play:

Social Inventor: Most creative citizen-led idea for using civic technology.
Penny Pincher: Most creative idea for stretching government and citizen resources.
Bucky Fuller: Most comprehensive idea for redesigning government.
Johnny Appleseed: Most portable idea that can be quickly duplicated in many jurisdictions around the world.
Mayor: Most visionary government-led idea for using civic technology.


Posted in To Be Filed | Leave a comment

Latest Update: 4400+ cards Played By 385+ Players

Even as our research team starts gearing up to analyze the pile of micro-forecasts and provocations that have been posted – some 4418 as of 8:00 am PST, new issues and debates are still burning.

Sparked by a concern about what children might lose in immersive online education, a debate is running about the very nature of and definition of childhood itself.

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 11.18.18 AM

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 11.16.05 AM

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 11.18.24 AM

Keep the cards coming!



Posted in In-Game Reports, Interesting Debates | Leave a comment

One Last Push Into the Future of Connected Citizenship: 6 Hours Left to Play!

It’s been a frenzied 18 hours of massively collaborative forecasting. We’re well over 2,000 cards played, with hundreds of participants weighing in from more than three dozen countries. (Update: As of 7:30am PST 23 January, we have had participants from 52 countries). The micro-forecasts, insights, and issues raised have run the gamut from calls for new kinds of government services, and new tools for incentivizing citizens to participate more in civic affairs and even self-provision certain services, to novel ideas for transforming the innards of government through civil service reform.

A few recent Super-Interesting cards to whet your appetite (click on the image to immediately respond).

I can’t believe this idea has never come up – embedding general practitioners in the population as health stewards.

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 9.06.35 AM

Meanwhile, get the government into the business of providing crowdsourcing IT infrastructure (actual computational horsepower, way beyond just what they do now in terms of sharing data).

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 9.08.05 AM

For good measure, deploy targeted services and portals for high-risk or high-need groups like teens. Always hard to keep up with the Finns when it comes to e-government:

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 9.23.48 AM

Please join us over the next six hours for our last push forward!




Posted in In-Game Reports | Leave a comment

Rise of the Non-Traditional Web Worker

Micro-tasking, crowdsourcing and distributed work over the Web will enable traditionally excluded groups, such as the elderly, the poor, the rural, and the stay-at-home parent to stay active and engaged in the economy.

Dawn suggested how online networking will allow unused or under-utilised workers to participate in economic activities.

elderly 2

KataK suggests engaging senior citizens as tutors, workers and contributors.  This would benefit both the senior citizens and students.



How would this contribute to improving services?

First, engaging the elderly would encourage more social and mental activity, which has been found to enhance mental and physical health.  This will lower public health costs and the burden on the government.

Second, empowering stay-at-home mothers and rural population would enhance employment, provide more gainful activities, and contribute to overall social and economic welfare.

Third, retired experts from around the world in many fields could stay active and engaged; thereby enhancing the level of services and training available for hire.

Finally, the government itself could use these distributed workers to enhance speed and efficiency, while lowers costs, for many government services.

What do you think?  How else might this change government services and economic development?

Posted in Emergent Future Themes, Interesting Debates | Leave a comment

Rewarding social engagement

There has been a fascinating conversation about the motives and interests of both citizens and civil servants.

Wissam suggested creating “long tail” incentives for civil servants to do good, long term work (as opposed to short term optimisation).


User Rainertrust thought this might skew people’s motivations. however.

incentives 3

Dryson suggested that money wasn’t the main issue; finding meaning was.

incentives 2

User Wahine_Ma suggests that beyond a certain point, financial incentives for citizens and civil servants might warp motivations.

incentives 1

SamGTA then suggested that people are “good” in public primarily for altruistic motives to make a difference.  Thus rewarding them with recognition or “points” might be the most useful way to encourage civic behaviour.

Incentives 4


The notion of time-banks and other forms of non-monetary recognition and exchange was also suggested by Cssmith.




Incentives 5

How might this work?  Capt_Stargazer suggested one way; the creation of a “Citizen Governors Corp” to formally recognize this motive in citizens and civil servants.

Incentives 6


What other reasons might people (citizens and others) engage in civic activity?  And how could they be recognized and encouraged to do so?

Posted in Emergent Future Themes | Leave a comment

What Role, F2F?

Today most government services are delivered in face to face (F2F) and in person.

Virtualization and automation promise to greatly speed up and enhance these services.

If all your services come from an app on your phone (or in your head) role will there be for face-to-face interaction in government services in the future?

What role will physical service centers play?  Will they even be necessary?

User Capt_Stargazer suggests there will be little need for physical interaction in government services in the future.

physical 1


This user Cristinaamp suggests that such tools might be also be useful for facilitating more interaction.

physical 2

What other roles and impacts might physical contact have in the government – citizen relationship?


Posted in Interesting Debates | Leave a comment

What will citizens expect in the future?

IT has increased consumer expectations of the speed and capabilities of their environment.  From “Smart Fridges” to “Mass Customization”, a new generation of citizens may expect instant, personal and highly involved service.

Is this realistic?  Is it even desirable?  User Deon Swiggs suggests that people might begin to expect rewards for things which they should be doing anyway (treating other neighbors well, following the law, etc.)



What expectations might people have in the future?  Will they expect government to take care of everything for them?  Or will they expect to take more responsibility themselves?

Posted in Emergent Future Themes, Interesting Debates | Leave a comment

Gaming Governance

It goes to figure that when you’re playing a game to reimagine governance, the topic of using game elements in government is going to come up. What surprised me is the range of different ways game mechanics can be applied to governance.

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 10.00.58 PM

Currently, interacting with government services involves voting once a year, writing letters (and rarely getting any response), or demonstrating in the street. Game-style interfaces give instant feedback on whether your actions are effective, and they provide ways to network and coordinate with peers and you get reputation or ranking systems. Imagine if government had that!

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 9.57.59 PM

If a reputation system was put in place, it could provide incentive for people to become more involved.

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 7.24.03 PM

There is also a theoretical side to gaming governance. Gaming platforms allow individuals or entire communities to experience different systems or models of governance. This lets people take action on serious issues without serious risk of failure. If a solution to a problem is found, then everyone might have the opportunity to experience the solution virtually.

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 12.45.34 AM

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 12.45.43 AM

While the technology might not be fully realized yet, we have a sufficient level to start experimenting with game mechanics in governance.

Screen Shot 2013-01-23 at 12.45.50 AM


Posted in Emergent Future Themes | Leave a comment

Privatisation versus Public Goods

Many players are suggesting that government give up responsibility for public services to other actors.

Suggestions for who these should be range from individual citizens, to citizen groups and coalitions, from private corporations to automatic services.  There are significant risks and benefits to privatisation.

Benefits often cited include:

  • Lower cost to the public
  • Faster and more efficient services
  • More up-to-date services

Risks include:

  • Exploitation of public goods for private gain
  • Short-term profit motives leading to long term risks
  • Lack of concern for regulation and human need

What other risks and benefits might result from privatising government services and functions?  How far could this go, and what would the impact be?

Posted in Emergent Future Themes, Interesting Debates | Leave a comment