To understand a policy, bring it to life in your hands - by simulating it with others
A fascinating collection - from the innovation foundation Nesta - of what they call "simulation games for policy". These are board games, apps and game software based on scenarios that are policy-relevant - say, waste disposal, or new jobs of the future - and that invite players in to "simulate" different outcomes.
The writers' hope is that this can happen in a pleasurable way - through the colourful and impactful design of the game, and through the spirit of friendly competition that infuses them.
Reading through their interviews with practitioners - see links below - it's fascinating to see how much effort, thought and experiment (months, even years) has to go into the design of these games. We also note that the intended audience is mostly "policy-makers", seeking to understand the momentous top-down decisions they're making. (See the IMPACT game below):
So... Can we make "simulation policy games" that assume a community itself is capable of making and devising policy? This is something we would like to explore in our "political labs". If you're interested in helping us develop such games, please contact us.
Here's Nesta's simulation games list