Dilemma Games for Policy Making

In GREAT we try to establish a better connection between policy-making and citizens through game elements. One area that we have a major focus on is dilemma-based learning. In the grander scheme of policy-making most things are fundamentally not about picking the right solution but rather a long string of dilemmas, where you balance pros and cons. To become part of that process and understand it a dilemma-based approach is very interesting.

In the first exploration we made on this in relation to climate policy we looked at not simply asking citizens what they want but rather to see if we could find a model that allows them to be included in a more meaningful way. We used the platform DiBL.eu to create collaborative dilemma-based games, where citizens together take on the role of a policy-maker. You have to hear and involve different stakeholders to decide on just how green a new construction needs to be. As such you are not faced with simple yes or no answers in terms of whether climate is important but rather the reality of weighing pros and cons. That which policy-makers are doing on a daily basis.

The policy-making process can be frustrating and opaque for citizens if you view it simply as picking the right solution. By providing citizens with the agency to make the policy but also all the constraints and messiness of it we elevate citizen's involvement to something more but also risk making higher demands that can easily further alienate some citizens groups. As such we try to take a thin line between using a dilemma-game to enrich the policy-making and citizen link but also to make it accessible enough that citizens are able to participate.

Image caption: The flow shows a selection of dilemma game structure that is specific to a construction process but can hopefully be expanded to a template for most policy-making involvement, so it will be quick and easy to build.