Experimenting with game-based learning for a playful understanding of systemic transitions for implementing Transformative Innovation Policy


Games are a known source of entertainment, especially for children. But games can also be effective learning tools for adults, especially in interdisciplinary education and policy spaces. In this paper, we argue that game-based learning can help the socio-cognitive and emotional understanding of the complexities of sociotechnical system change, as proposed in the sustainability transitions theory. Mobilising the x-curve framework for sociotechnical transitions, we have developed a fully functional game which helps to build transformative innovation capacity among policy practitioners through second-order learning during and after a game-play session. The game helps in unpacking the art of anticipation and negotiations between (roleplaying) actors, understanding the key role of context and requires reacting to landscape shocks to ‘build’ certain niche dimensions and ‘destroy’ regime dimensions by using and exchanging limited resources. Despite having ‘ hidden agendas ‘, the players also learn about the importance of transdisciplinary collaboration to win the game. We argue that such approaches of game-based learning can help advance knowledge on transition dynamics and network building among transition actors, which is fundamental for enacting transformations. We hope that through this paper, our experience of developing and testing the game inspires others to develop similar tools for action-oriented transitions research that reimagines the relationships between actors, innovations, and contributions towards systemic change.

Publication Year: 2022