Gamification of road building process – 1

After a long time, I return to Gamification – a topic that is close to my heart given the potential that this simple tool has, to improve business processes and work for social good and welfare. This post will be split into 3 parts. In this part, I will talk about the game system and some of the benefits that it will bring about to the contractors/ players. In the second part, I will delve into the other part of the game involving the government and the competition and rewards that the gamified system can bring. Finally, in the 3rd part, we will take a look at how the quality of the work can be reinforced and maintained at a high standard using game concepts.

In Bangalore, as in many cities across India, a major problem exists in the quality of the roads. Every year, the monsoon rains brings with it cheer for us citizens along with despair for commuters on the roads of this big city in South India. Joy for the rainfall is soon replaced by a short temper once we hit the roads after a rainfall. The ditches, traffic signals, traffic and speed breakers make driving in the city a nightmare at most times. Add to this the water logging after a rainfall and it makes for the perfect recipe for spending hours on the road to get from one point to another in the city.

It has got me thinking – can gamification help with the road building and storm water-proofing the streets? Can the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike or BBMP, the body in charge of maintaining the city of Bangalore along with the Bangalore Development Authority (BDA) benefit from any game concepts applied to their processes?

The city of Bangalore is split into multiple wards and each ward is maintained by a BBMP office and the councillor in-charge. They are responsible for, amongst many other important tasks, for the upkeep and maintenance of the roads and garbage clearance. Under fire almost perpetually for the seemingly slow pace of work and graft, the time for a change in the functioning is now. The fundamental goal of the gamification will be to (a) improve the quality of the roads and (b) make the process transparent and involve the stakeholders – the commuters.

BBMP contracts the work of laying roads and laying storm water drains to various contractors via a tender process. Once the best bid is selected, the contract is drawn out detailing the expectations of the quality of the work to be done, the timelines and the payment intervals. The process of inviting bids via tenders can be made online. A simple system would award online tokens to the contractors bidding for the process and allow them to register on the portal. The gamified system would award points and challenge the players to complete various levels as they look to progress through the game and earn rewards and badges. For example, if a contractor bids for a particular tender which usually involves a cash deposit, he is awarded 500 points. Further, the winning contractor/ player wins a jackpot – he wins 5000 points!

The players (contractors) build up their level of experience and profiles as they play along in the game. On a map of the city, they mark the area of the city that they have worked upon and the data is available for viewing by the citizens of the city as well, making the entire process transparent. The more areas that a player covers in the city (the number of kilometres they have laid roads upon),  the further on in the game that he/ she progresses, earning titles such as “Road Warrior”, “Road Supremo”, etc. In the simplest form, this serves to motivate the players by providing them with easy advertising for the work that they have done. A successful player would be able to utilize their titles in branching out into other areas such as contracting for railway lines, the construction business. The more people are aware that the company has done well in the business of laying roads, the better it is for the company. It feeds into the entire system of positive reinforcement for the city and for the contracting company.

The game can be taken a step further by letting the road users make recommendations and vote for their favorite stretch of road in the city. Each vote constitutes one point, much in the way that credit card companies award reward points every time we make a transaction on the credit card. The more points that a player accrues, the more likely that he/ she will win the next contract making the game competitive and fair.

To be continued….

 

Residing in Bengaluru, I am a Techie by profession and a thinker and doer by birth. I muse about any topic under the sun and love to share my thoughts in print when I am not doing something with them. I love reading and at some point, thought that maybe others would like to read what I have to write, too!

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