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Session Information

TitleGreat Neighborhoods: Giving power to every voice and transforming communities through civic gaming
Presenter(s)Steven Dodds, Every Voice Engaged Foundation

Carrie Heeter, Michigan State University

Andy Simon, Questar Assessment, Inc.
TimeThursday, October 18, 1:30p-2:30p
DescriptionEvery Voice Engaged Foundation, the non-profit "spin-off" of Innovation Games, leverages the Innovation Games game mechanics and infrastructure to deliver problem-solving events for cities, communities, and non-profit organizations.

Civic gaming using this platform is designed and used in Great Neighborhoods to 1.) Solicit and capture great ideas from neighbors on community action projects that will result in more beautiful, clean, safe, and engaged neighborhoods; 2.) Awaken neighborhood capacity to commit resources and volunteer time and take action; and 3.) Facilitate neighborhood prioritization of ideas, recruitment of volunteers and project funding proposals.

Every Voice Engaged Foundation Executive Director Steven Dodds, Michigan State University Professor and Budget Games volunteer Carrie Heeter, and Simon Associates Management Consultants Partner and a Every Voice Engaged Producer Andy Simon, will discuss the foundation's Great Neighborhoods project with the city of San Jose, meeting local neighborhood organizations' strong desire to address their needs by engaging their neighbors.

Every Voice Engaged has worked closely with San Jose's Coyote Creek Neighborhood Association (CCNA) to prepare for and conduct online and in person civic gaming events. Volunteer staffers developed monitoring and reporting plans for project results. Using this pilot program as a basis, the City of San Jose Great Neighborhoods program is being launched at the Neighborhood Development Training Conference the end of September with over 50 neighborhoods. Each participating neighborhood received a city seed grant for one project at the end of the day's event. After the event, Every Voice Engaged will work with these neighborhoods to create, define and decide on any number of projects selected based on the volunteer hours committed to complete projects. In addition, the program will train San Jose State University students and a number of other residents to become facilitators and continue engaging the power of every voice in San Jose neighborhoods. These same facilitators will help support the city's third annual Budget Games, produced by Every Voice Engaged, in January. These represent important additions to the city's overall citizen engagement program.

The insights uncovered during the games and activities lead to sustainable and supported solutions--especially important in a world where everyone is being asked to do more with less.

The games work particularly well for resource prioritization and allocation decisions involving diverse groups of stakeholders. Instead of asking for opinions and positions, the collaborative activities go beyond the superficial and get straight to the heart of what matters.

We make it fun, drawing on the same elements of game mechanics and gamification that attract and keep people coming back to games of all types.

Each game results in defined deliverables that include action plans and other items that pave the way for future collaboration.

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