​Gamification in Sustainability Judge - ​Elena Bakhanova

27th September 2019

Elena Bakhanova

"CHANGE IN HUMANS' BEHAVIOUR IS ONE OF THE CRUCIAL FACTORS OF TRANSITION TO SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT "

We caught up with one of our amazing judges for the Gamification in Sustainability award…Elena Bakhanova!

Find out more about Elena and her background by reading our interview with her below!

Enjoy!​

Tell us a little more about yourself and what you do...

I’m an early career researcher at the PERSWADE Center of the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. In my research I try to investigate how gamification could assist the process of policy making in sustainability field through better engagement, learning and communication among the stakeholders.

What has been your favourite project you've worked on to date?

One of the projects which I enjoyed working on aimed at gamifying the process of learning about complex environmental problems among school kids. Initially we had quite complex diagrams explaining cause-effect relationships behind the environmental problems. This content by default was too sophisticated for kids, though even for adults it takes time to switch into systems thinking mode and see bigger picture. So, with help of elements of board games, puzzles and combination of incentives for competition and collaboration we helped them to discover step-by-step the complexity of environmental problems.

​What organisations or charities have you been supporting recently?

Being originally from Russia, I’m trying to support NGO organizations working in education for sustainable development in my country through pro bono consultancy and voluntary lecturing.

One of them is a non-for-profit organization Center for Resource Saving based in Moscow which develops interactive learning workshops for children and adults to increase eco-awareness and to give practical solutions for more sustainable living. They have recently developed sustainability game ‘Guards of the Earth’. Another organization that I support is Open School for Sustainable Development which is a voluntary initiative promoting knowledge about sustainability in Russian language. There is plenty of research, resources and interactive materials in English, and Open School makes it accessible for Russian speaking audience that stretches across post-soviet countries.

​What is your personal goal for a more sustainable life in 2019?

I’m very much concerned about waste problem, and food waste, in particular. It is one of the biggest problems especially in highly developed countries where most of food wastage is happening at the last stage of supply chain, i.e. supermarkets, restaurants and our homes. So, in my everyday life I try to be conscious about my consumption patterns and to support initiatives aiming at saving food.

​Why have you decided to join in on The Gamification Awards and become a judge for 2019?

I think it is a really good initiative, and while looking at the award winners from the previous years I was impressed by many of the proposed solutions and by the diversity of participants. Being a representative of scientific community (although very practice-oriented part of it), I’m analysing the topic of gamification for sustainable development from different angles, so I’m happy to contribute my knowledge and give feedback to the Gamification awards participants.

​You and your fellow judges have the task of choosing the winners - what are you looking for in an award entry? What will catch your eye?

Change in humans’ behaviour is one of the crucial factors of transition to sustainable development, at the same time it is the hardest part as well because of overall reluctance to change as part of our nature. So, I’d say that I’d be interested to see the solutions which significantly consider the psychological aspects or some persuasion techniques as part of the project.

​What excites you about gamification and the awards?

For me it is all about exploring the new ideas and creativity of people who are working within gamification field in order to make some parts of our lives a bit more fun and enjoyable.

​Why do you think entering awards are important?

For particular developer of gamified solution, it is all about getting feedback from peers and appreciation of the work that is done which, in turn, should be a motivating factor to develop more solutions and increase their quality. And, generally speaking, it is also a contribution to the development and rooting of the overall field of gamification.

​What would you say to someone who is dubious of entering the awards?

Give it a try! Life is much more complex than we think, and one action could unexpectedly open many more doors of opportunities.

Finally, what is your favourite game?

Only old ones come to my mind. I really enjoyed playing the Monument Valley. As for the serious games I like the Spent which puts the player into the shoes of a person who has responsibility for his family, no home and last $1000 to survive for 30 days.


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Introducing Ella 


I am Ella and I am the Social Media and Content Creator for The Gamification Awards. I have just started here as an intern after completing my final year at university studying BA Hons Textiles with Business Studies.

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