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Keynote Prof. Jan H.G. Klabbers, KMPC -  "Framing Change: Reflection-in-Action"

Lewontin (1968) noted that if order must be created for events to exemplify evolution (change), this suggests that evolution (change) is neither a fact nor a theory, but simply a way to organize knowledge.  What occurs is that an observer watches events happening, and imposes on these happenings some preconceptions about order, and this preconception then allows the observer to watch the changing circumstances, compare them, and see whether there is a progression toward orderliness in those portions being observed. If there is, evolution (change) has occurred. Lewontin referred to an objective reality independent of the observer, the observer merely discovering change.  The related community of observers describes change and causality in terms of mapping a set of events in another one: a preconception about order. It is a notion of change belonging to the realm of the so-called analytical sciences.

Clifford Geertz (1973) observed that man is an animal suspended in webs of significance he himself has spun. This notion puts the observer back into reality: the observer being a participant in the creation of webs of meaning.  Weick refers in this regard to enactment as the only process where an organism directly engages an ‘external’ environment. For example, organizational members play an active role in creating the environments, which then impose on them.  This view on organizing and thus on change links organization and its environments in a circular, self-referential loop.  In this view, human organizations – in general, social systems - produce and continuously reproduce order.  Change results from self-organization.  People frame issues to which they subsequently respond.  According to Schön (1982) problem framing is a process in which, interactively we name the elements and attributes to which we will pay attention, and frame (enact) the contexts in which we will pay regard to them.  One could easily understand problem framing, as a form of playing games to enhance changing existing situations into preferred ones.  With this action approach to change we enter the realm of the so-called design sciences, with change being invented or designed.

During my presentation I will elaborate these questions from the perspective of game science and methodology, and their influence on game practice.


Keynote Prof. Paola Rizzi, University of Sassari - "Playing the city and city in play. On urban gaming simulation"

It is a difficult task to introduce the term “game” in the field of urban language. And the reason is not even the old, already overcome, prejudice of viewing games either as “game theory” or “fun activities of all kinds which only imply the pleasure of gaminess” and therefore either are too scientific or not scientific enough. The terminological problem is of an entirely different nature. Words with deeper meaning and with broader sense, such as, sustainability, participation, hearing, or communication, became victims of linguistic abuse. It happened as well to the term “game”. Any reference to “game and the city” has become excessively misinterpreted.

I am trying to define “game” and its connections with the city in terms of simulation and interaction. I am not going to talk here about children games, being played in the street, which some people view as elements of quality of urban areas, nor am I going to talk about game theory, which comes along with many political decisions. What I am going to talk about are games as virtual environments, used for simulating transformation of real or imaginary urban systems. Those games serve as means for enhancing information exchange, communication and participation among the parties involved.

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Keynote Prof. Willy Christian Kriz, University of Applied Sciences Vorarlberg - "Gaming for Transformation"

The lecture part of the session will refer to the discussion started by Jan Klabbers in his keynote “Framing Change:  Reflection-in-action”. It will build upon the concepts of analytical and design science approaches of gaming simulation.  As Jan Klabbers (2006) and in his keynote has pointed out, design aims at transformation of existing (dysfunctional) situations into preferred ones. He distinguishes two levels of design: design-in-the-small” and “design-in-the-large.” Design-in-the-small produces simulation games (gaming artifacts) as intervention method and/or interactive learning environment to enhance education and training. Used with this aim games contribute at the same time to the “design-in-the-large” (change) process of social systems.

In the session different forms of games and their potential for organizational development and change management will be discussed. Simulation games are experiential (“safe” and error tolerant) and problem based learning environments based on qualitative and quantitative models of the dysfunctional existing systems/organizational processes and/or models of alternative hypothetical futures, engaging learners and/or real decision makers in playing different roles (acting within a set of rules), making decisions in order to explore and to predict effects of those decisions (including long term and side effects) on the simulated system and its resources.