In the future, will robots replace our elected officials?

I’ve seen very interesting cards suggesting the possibility that elected officials will one day become a thing of the past. But what will replace our leader focused governance structures?

Will it be drones?

Foresight Engine-14


Granted, the Drones have to be monitored by someone, but will they slowly replace face-to-face interactions? Will parliament or congress simply be filled with Drone representatives? Why do I feel the need to capitalize Drones? Are they already our overlords  Maybe the Drones simply represent our collectives voices as suggested in this card:

Foresight Engine-15


We no longer need to vote for people, just vote for policies and possibly even have the new projects implemented through microtasks so no one person, or elected official owns the whole thing. Now we are getting into this strange concept of P2P governance:

Foresight Engine-16 Foresight Engine-17

Everything really is possible in the future!


Posted in Interesting Debates | Leave a comment

Incentivizing Civic Engagement

There are a lot of great ideas being generated in this game, and most of these ideas are asking for citizens to actively participate. Eleos asks what is the incentive here?

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 10.03.35 PM


Prana.humbly, Samgta, and many others suggest financial incentives.

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 10.03.56 PMScreen Shot 2013-01-22 at 9.59.27 PM


However Justinpickard is skeptical of financial incentives for civic duties.

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 9.59.37 PM


One prominent theme in this game is empowering citizens with direct action.

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 10.13.26 PMScreen Shot 2013-01-22 at 10.13.06 PM

What is the balance of power between citizens and government?


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

Major Themes: The First 9.5 Hours

Players have not only been reaching Warp speeds for idea generation, but we’ve covered an incredible range of topics.

After 9.5 hours, here’s a small sample of some major themes that have captured our attention.

Boundaries between public and private

Screen shot 2013-01-22 at 2.59.14 PM


Issues of transparency and openness

Screen shot 2013-01-22 at 9.22.53 PM


Public assets and how best to (re)use and repurpose them

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 2.53.25 PM


Incentivizing citizen engagement

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 5.30.40 PM


Taxes and distribution of resources

Foresight Engine-10


Education and microtasks

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 5.14.04 PM


and much much more.

keep the ideas coming!!!




Posted in Emergent Future Themes | Leave a comment

Where to, Transparency?

The concept of transparency in government is almost assumed these days. But how is this playing out here, on Connected Citizens? For some it means getting access to raw data, from spreadsheets, real-time video feeds, or pricing, whether in education, health, or innovation/intellectual property. How well you visualize those data, and highlight this over that, will certainly involve artful persuasion.

For others, transparency means an ability to read between or around the facts: broadcasting who meets whom, tracking lobbying dollars, special interests and the like.

One metaphor for governance that I’ve seen used a lot is energy efficiency. The suggestions are that we might be better off tracking government spending and decisions in the same way that we track energy usage in homes and neighborhoods. You can trace the fingers of corruption through reported events and abuses.

Let’s imagine for a moment, however, that it’s 10 years down the line, and we are living in a world of greater transparency. What’s different now? What structures and practices have bubbled to the top? How will these actually change behavior? What new accountabilities and responsibilities have been created? How will more people in communities and around the world, actually participate in political, economic and social decisions that affect their lives? Game on, connected citizens!

Check out participant’s contributions on transparency

By Jon

By Suzy Sivics

By timjmansfield


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

Gov 2.0 Radio

I spoke with Allison Hornery today about IFTF, Connected Citizens, and collective forecasting.

Have a listen here.



Posted in Media Coverage | Leave a comment

The Pulse: 5 Hours In, 1800 cards, 37 countries

The first 5 hours of Connected Citizens has seen amazing levels of participation, both in numbers of ideas exchanged and in countries represented. So far, we have close to 1800 cards played by hundreds of players worldwide. This is truly a global conversation with 37 countries represented, with many parts of the world just waking up!

Let’s keep the momentum going throughout the night (or morning, afternoon, or evening), wherever you are!




Posted in In-Game Reports | Leave a comment

What is not private will be surveilled

Good discussions are ongoing about the boundaries of private and public space. Players have pointed out some of the dilemmas unfolding as a double move of more privitzation of public services occurs at the same time public space come under increasing surveillance.

Player Mathieu points out the “chilling effects” that surveillance could have on a robust commons.

Screen shot 2013-01-22 at 2.58.48 PM

cssmith offers a solution: barriers (legal, cultural, financial?) to how much public space can be sold or licensed to private interests.

Screen shot 2013-01-22 at 2.59.14 PM


Naturally, this public/private boundary gets even more blurry when talking about electronic information. Many players have been playing in this blurry space, with a couple of provocations that stood out to me regarding information and our criminal justice system.

Screen shot 2013-01-22 at 3.06.13 PM Screen shot 2013-01-22 at 3.02.49 PM

Its a strange world when public space is being managed like a prison, while prisons are being privatized.

When the lubrication of private efficiency is combined with the “drying” effects of surveillance, will it create a vicious cycle that desiccates any remaining public spaces of their social benefit? What do you think?


Posted in Emergent Future Themes | Leave a comment

Libraries as Hubs for Civic Innovation


 “Democracies need libraries. An informed public constitutes the very foundation of a democracy; after all, democracies are about discourse—discourse among the people. If a free society is to survive, it must ensure the preservation of its records and provide free and open access to this information to all its citizens. It must ensure that citizens have the resources to develop the information literacy skills necessary to participate in the democratic process. It must allow unfettered dialogue and guarantee freedom of expression.”

-American Library Association

Penguin calls out the important role Libraries play in society, but how will this role change in the future?

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 2.11.31 PM


Libraries could pool their resources to make a globally accessibly library, like that of ancient Alexandria, but for the 21st century.

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 1.58.43 PM


Copystar suggests that there is an opportunity for context-sensitive, location-based services that libraries could offer.

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 1.58.21 PM


We could integrate civic engagement into daily life. Bennilch points out that the library is one good place to start.

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 2.52.27 PM


Civic engagement could be carried out through quick light-weight interactions, or it could be more involved:

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 2.50.37 PMScreen Shot 2013-01-22 at 2.50.46 PM


This future is already starting to emerge in some libraries around the world:

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 2.53.25 PM

Posted in Emergent Future Themes | Leave a comment

Even Bigger Ideas About the Future of Citizenship

As good as some of the ideas about reinventing government services that have been played are, the truly innovative thinking in our little virtual futures salon is happening around the future of citizenship. And what’s fascinating is that as much as the government innovation cards seem to circumscribe a future of digitally-cosseted citizens wrapped in layer upon layer of all-seeing and all-knowing predictive analytics, the cards being played from the citizen point of view are all about active engagement in the mechanics of governance, service delivery, policymaking, and planning. Nothing makes us happier here at IFTF than divergent futures. If the future is obvious, we’re out of business! Some of my favorites follow.

A variety of mechanisms are proposed to get them connected:

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 5.30.13 PM

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 5.30.52 PM

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 5.29.57 PM

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 5.31.01 PM



There’s a newrole for citizen-scientists and citizen-analysts, too.

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 5.31.12 PM


There are numerous ideas for how to incentivize citizens to roll up their sleeves and get to work in the public interest.

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 5.30.29 PM

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 5.30.40 PM


Including, what is to me, the best idea of the entire game so far, the biggest carrot I could possibly imagine for spurring substantive immediate action on climate change… imagine reducing property taxes for the most energy-efficient city blocks?

Screen Shot 2013-01-22 at 5.34.10 PM

Posted in Emergent Future Themes | Leave a comment

To Tax or Not to Tax

Hello Connected Citizens! We have been busy innovating and debating the value of taxation. A wide array of ideas have already been shared.

From innovative tax models and uses:

Foresight Engine-6

Foresight Engine-11 Foresight Engine-10

To how to improve our tax systems:

Foresight Engine-4


Foresight Engine-3


And ultimately analyzing how taxes hurt us as individual community members:


Foresight Engine-7 Foresight Engine-8


What is your take on taxes? What radically different perspectives are we missing?

How can we create increased citizen engagement through fundamental shifts in our tax structure? What countries can we look to as good examples?

And perhaps most importantly, can we ever build a system that will please both people in favor of, and against taxation?


Posted in Interesting Debates | Leave a comment