Playing Public Policy

  • Perez Duran, Ixchel (Principal Investigator)
  • Acebillo Baque, Miriam (Investigator)
  • Acebillo Baque, Miriam (Investigator)

Project Details


The goal of P-CUBE is to build an educational strategy game (the Policy Game: PG) aimed at teaching to different types of pupils the theory and the practice of public policy making.
The theoretical approach, widely accepted in the public policy literature, assumes that an actor wanting to introduce a non-trivial policy innovation (the policy entrepreneur) will be faced with obstacles deriving from the opposition of other actors and/or by the lack of the necessary resources. In order to overcome these obstacles, the policy entrepreneur can use different strategies (altering the distribution of the resources, modifying the content of the decision, transforming the interaction between the actors, choosing the right timing for the
decision) in various possible combinations.

Because the actors vary from one policy to another and in order to reach a larger audience, the PG will be articulated in four different fields or game sets:
1. Policies in the field of social inclusion, targeting students of social policies and practitioners (both public servants and NGOs) involved in fighting social exclusion.
2. Policies in the field of urban innovation. Here the main targets are advanced students of urban planning, local government employees but also NGOs and private firms (e.g. developers) involved in the transformation of cities.
3. Policies with a high scientific content, targeting scientists of different disciplines who want to be trained in order to be able to be proactive in promoting policy change.
4. European Union policy making, in order to familiarize ordinary citizens as well as undergraduate students with the complexities of EU legislative process, the roles played by the different components of its constitutional structure, as well as the influence the other actors who can influence the legislative and the policy process.

The partnership created to develop the project includes 7 members carrying out the following activities:
• Fondazione Politecnico di Milano as lead partner because of its familiarity with the Erasmus+ program, its vast experience in developing innovative teaching and the design of the first prototype of the PG, will be in charge of the overall design of the game and the management of the project;
• Gamelab TU Delft, a structure whose mission lies in the creation of serious games, will develop the digital version of the game;
• Four ‘policy partners’, namely IGOP-Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, DIG-Politecnico di Milano, Université de Luxembourg and Science for Democracy, as organizations with a deep knowledge of the different policy fields (respectively Social Inclusion, Urban Innovation, EU Policy Making and Science-based Policy Making) will identify the real-world cases to be inserted in the PG as well as prepare the game sets;
• ALDA, a 350-member strong network of local authorities, CSOs and NGOs will adapt, through the creation of communities of interest and the realization of pilot to adapt the PG to the needs of a vast audience outside the world of HE.
The methodology employed in designing the game is essentially one based on co-creation: a strong and continuous interaction supplemented by a couple of brainstorming session and an effective project management will be the main way of linking the partners’ activities in creating a coherent and integrated output: the Policy Game.

As far as the results are concerned the release of the PG will generate at the outcome level the integration of the game into the HE curricula in several disciplinary fields. This is particularly crucial given the push towards online remote teaching stimulated by the COVID-19pandemy: it will allow the use of digital innovation in order to practice active learning also outside face to face interactions.

At the impact level, and leveraging the different communities of interest that we will activate since early in the process, the main goal will be fostering civic engagement by helping to correct the widespread misrepresentation of the dynamics of public policy making that discourages participation by the societal actors.

It is important to note that, if increasing the awareness of the students, of the organized groups and of the public at large about the sheer complexity of policy making is certainly one of the main goals of the whole exercise, it is not the only one. The message that the game wants to carry is a more optimistic one, namely that change and reform are possible despite – and even exploiting – the complexity of the real world.
Short titleP-CUBE
Effective start/end date1/09/2031/08/23