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'Futuregame': Creating a game for identifying innovation needs in rural areas

: Müller, Larissa; Sendrowski, Philip; Sturm, Peter

Elbæk, Lars ; University of Southern Denmark -SDU-:
13th European Conference on Games Based Learning, ECGBL 2019. Proceedings : 3-4 October 2019, Odense, Denmark
Reading: ACPI, 2019
ISBN: 978-1-912764-38-9
ISBN: 978-1-912764-37-2
European Conference on Games Based Learning (ECGBL) <13, 2019, Odense>
Fraunhofer INT ()
future studies; needs assessment; rural areas; Social Gaming; technology foresight

For technology foresight it is important to find ways to enable persons to talk about their needs and wishes for the future, and to properly assess them. However, for non-tech savvy people it is especially hard to talk about technological needs. This can lead to experts creating technologies detached from actual needs, wishes and fears, for example in strategic planning concerning rural areas. It is important to involve the population early in the process of developing new technologies and the identification of technologies for their specific contexts The project “Horizonte erweitern” (Broadening horizons)” deals with technology/innovation transfer and strengthening of rural areas as drivers of innovation. To integrate citizens of rural areas in the process, it is not sufficient to simply confront them with facts and possible technologies. Quite contrary, what is needed is a new form of participatory innovation. Only by using precise needs assessments it can be guaranteed that future developments are in line with what people actually want for themselves and their region, and don’t impose change on them. When asking citizens about their future needs, it is necessary to simplify information without distorting the facts. Ideas need to be represented in a realistic way, so that citizens can relate to them in their everyday life. Citizens need to be enabled to express their ideas, wishes and concerns about the future. They need to be supported in translating these into new visions for their future and the future of their region. To this end, the “Futuregame”, a social game, was created. It was used for workshops in three different rural areas throughout Germany. Within the Futuregame, citizens were given the possibility to discuss their ideas for their rural areas in a playful, cooperative way and translate them into rudimentary strategies. The game allowed researchers to methodically assess and analyze technological needs in order to identify the most promising technological solutions for rural areas. This paper will discuss the process of technology foresight within the project, the development of the social gaming-format “Futuregame” as an important part of the foresight process and the results for the rural areas.