If you have crushed some candy or fired an angry bird at some smug pigs, you will be familiar with the concept of gaming.
As part of Kent Connects’ digital.together programme, a workshop was held at Dreamland in Margate to highlight how the techniques of gaming can be used to improve services offered to the public.
Playing Games and Improving Services was organised by Kent Connects which works with people in local authorities, health and emergency services to help them build stronger and more resilient digital offerings.
Whilst the event might sound fun and games, the thoughts behind it deal with some serious issues.
One of those speaking at the event was Dr Jane Reeves from the University of Kent’s Centre of Child Protection.
She spoke about the use of ‘gamification’ to tackle issues in health and social care – from sexual abuse to neglect to radicalisation.
One of the things she spoke about was ‘Rosie’, a training game which immerses social workers across the country into a real life situation, such as the neglect of a child, helping them evaluate child protection issues.
Kent Connects was set up in 2001 and enables partners to share IT services, offering better value for money and allowing services offered to customers to improve.
KCC’s Head of ICT Partnerships Carol Patrick said: “This was organised to be a fun and interactive day but we covered some serious issues that gaming techniques have helped with in training.
“Gamification is increasingly being used right across the private and public sector and brands are finding that games can communicate their messages and gain engagement from their customers.”
Dr Jim Ang also from the University of Kent discussed gaming techniques in the health industry with tools such as virtual reality making it easier than ever to stay healthy using tech.
Another speaker was Ramsgate’s Sam Dondi-Smith spoke about his company Interactive Me which creates digital memory profiles, allowing dementia patients to engage with their past through photos and videos.
Libraries Service Delivery Manager for Kent County Council Christel Pobgee helped develop a game to encourage children to read more books.
Children were asked to read and rate books on the Library Treasures app and the more books read unlocked more games for them to play.
Meanwhile KCC’s IT Service Desk staff Sean Malone and Matt Scott developed a game to increase team productivity when working on requests from staff which rewards players with points, vouchers and even flexi-time for the best players.
Kate Kneale and Dan Thompson from GEEK and HKD helped organise the day with Kent Connects and devised challenges for the attendees, tasking them with creating their own games based on real-world problems.
Using Games in the Digital Revolution – Dr Jim (CS) Ang – Senior Lecturer in Multimedia /Digital Systems (The University of Kent)
Importance of the Gamification Narrative – Heidi Colthup – Lecturer, Creative and Professional Writing (Canterbury Christ Church University)
Creating Memory Profiles – Sam Dondi-Smith (Interactive Me)
Literacy and Learning – Christel Pobgee (KCC Libraries)
Why games are a powerful tool for brands – Jenny Kitchen (Yoyo Design)
Gamification in the Public Sector – Paula Davies (Kent County Council)
How gamification and behavioural economics are transforming workplace health – Paul Nuki – Co-founder and CEO of StepJockey
Psychology of Gaming – Dr Jane Reeves, Director of Studies MA Child Protection (University of Kent)