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There is growing interest in the use of information and communication technologies for community engagement and for crowd-sourcing solutions to difficult problems through challenges and prizes. Governmental and nongovernmental organizations are being encouraged to design, deploy, manage and support appropriate online platforms to address both goals and improve economic competitiveness. These governance challenge platforms can create novel pathways for citizen participation, increase openness of governance activities, and increase both the effectiveness and legitimacy of the governing organization. Arizona State University has developed a new University-wide challenge platform to enhance community engagement and to solicit ideas from its 50,000-member University community to solve eight broad challenges, but little is known about the design, use and effects of such platforms. The research team engaged the platform design team to incorporate the affordances required to improve the overall user experience and to test applicable theories of team composition, governance structures, legitimacy, and team capacity and commitment. Once these features were developed, they were used in a series of field studies designed to identify theoretical extensions and potential boundary conditions in online community engagement. The studies initially mapped community participation, traced how participation spreads through the community, and tested the effects of real-time feedback on the community’s participation patterns. The second phase explored the impact of voting mechanisms on community dynamics, on perceptions of governance accountability, and on more sophisticated forms of community involvement. Finally, relationships between team formation, structure, diversity and effectiveness were investigated focusing on the quality of the solutions generated.
Kelley, T.M., and E. Johnston (2012). "Discovering the appropriate role of serious games in the design of open government platforms." Public Administration Quarterly, vol.34 issue 4, p. 323.