Serious game ‘iBLUE’ at ICES ASC 2023
From 11th to 14th of September, the ICES Annual Science Conference (ASC) took place in Bilbao (Spain). During the ASC, B-USEFUL members Lobke Jurrius, Marcel Rozemeijer, David Lusseau, Eirini Glyki, Neil Maginnis hosted two sessions to play the serious game iBLUE (Indicators for Biodiversity: Lessons on Usefulness and Essentiality) as developed as part of WP1. A serious game is a game with the primary purpose to communicate, collect information, educate or gain insight, rather than pure entertainment. The iBLUE-game is developed as a means to collect information on the needs and barriers of end-users in marine biodiversity management, in specific regarding the use of biodiversity indicators and the realisation of management measures in order to realise an improved biodiversity.
During the iBLUE game at ICES ASC 2023, participants took on the role of a national policymaker who must implement marine protected areas, while balancing environmental concerns against other interests, such as wind energy implementation and fishing activities. They were motivated to set up biodiversity monitoring programs to support marine spatial planning. The game lasted one hour and ended with a common discussion. Participants gained step-by-step information on the characteristics and requirements of ‘useful’ biodiversity indicators. During the game, B-USEFUL members observed the participants to collect information on their decision making processes. This data will feed into consecutive work packages in B-USEFUL, and ultimately support the design of a decision support tool used for biodiversity management that matches the needs of end-users.
The participants (9-12 per game) showed a great variety of backgrounds and expertise, ranging from social to natural sciences and from early career to senior scientists. Apart from scientists, also policy makers were present. Although it was the first time the game was played, the participants experienced the game as useful for gaining insights, thought provoking and fun. A major finding was for instance that when working multidisciplinary, it always takes time to achieve a shared language to be able to communicate with each other. As part of B-USEFUL, the iBLUE game will be played at several other locations.