Applying design research for cross-disciplinary collaboration: Experiences from a gamification process




This study explores applying design science research (DSR) frameworks to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration towards game development. It uses a DSR framework proposed by Peffers et al (2014) to integrate the knowledge and experiences of a cross-disciplinary research team and develop a game which gamifies the investment decision-making process of energy communities. The framework employed for this paper constituted five phases around problem identification, definition of solution objectives, artefact design and development, demonstration and evaluation. The iterative process of the framework allowed for gradual but incremental improvement in the outcome and the associated artefacts and sustained researcher collaboration. The resultant interactive in-person game required the participants (or their teams) to navigate through the complexities of the decision-making process in a community while considering factors such as information asymmetry, uncertain return on investments, time constraints, etc. The game was instantiated twice and was able to engage players effectively. Moreover, the post-game evaluation indicated that the players acquired learning about energy communities. The participants developed an understanding of the game only gradually and their engagement in the later rounds of the game. Three distinct investment strategies emerged from the two instantiations (diversification, focus on centralised options, or focus on decentralised options). The participants preferred to maintain a strategy rather than reacting situationally. This gamification experience, albeit applicable to this specific research context, shows that DSR frameworks can be successfully applied to facilitate cross-disciplinary collaboration because they allow for more flexible and iterative knowledge exchange. The post-game evaluation helped identify avenues for further improvements, such as focusing on incremental-iterative development of the output, expanding the flexibility and visibility of the game, involving a more balanced research team, etc. The contribution of this study lies in extending the discourse on cross-disciplinary collaboration by incorporating DSR frameworks and demonstrating the application of game-based learning beyond end-user application.