University of Maryland
Home / Events

BBL: On the role of gamification in citizen engagement: What is it good for, and what not?

Event Details


HCIL (2105 Hornbake, South Wing)


Community campaigning groups typically rely on core groups of highly motivated members. In this talk we consider how crowdsourcing strategies can be used to support such campaigns. We focus on mobile data collection applications and strategies that can be used to engage casual participants in pro-environmental data collection. We report the results of a study conducted with Close The Door Bristol, a community campaign that encourages shops to keep doors shut in winter and so reduce energy consumption. Our study used both quantitative and qualitative methods to investigate the impact of different motivational factors and strategies, including both intrinsic and extrinsic motivators. Specifically we will present analyses of:

  • The impact of different motivators and enablers to contribution, including the effect of intrinsic environmental motivation.
  • The impact of scoring points and a leaderboard on contribution, and the surprising explanation for the observed behaviour revealed through qualitative analysis.


Dr Chris Preist is Reader in Sustainability and Computer Systems at the University of Bristol. He leads a team of researchers who combine the disciplines of Industrial Ecology and Computer Science, with two two main themes;

  • Modelling the energy use of digital services to allow decisions in software design, internet architecture, business model and user behaviour to be assessed for their impact, both in the short and longer term.
  • Using digital services to engage individuals, communities and businesses with pro-environmental attitudes and behaviours, most notably in the area of domestic retrofit for energy efficiency.

His research partners include the BBC, Guardian News and Media, the Environment Agency, the Carbon Disclosure Project and EDF Energy.

Prior to joining University of Bristol, he was Head of Sustainable IT Research at HP Labs, Bristol from 2007-09, where he led work on the strategic impact of climate change on business and technology development to exploit emerging opportunities. He joined HP Labs in 1987 following a degree in Pure Maths from University of Warwick, and a Ph.D. in logic programming from Imperial College, London. In previous work at HP Labs, he conducted research in artificial intelligence, automated diagnosis, agent-mediated e-commerce and the semantic web.