CFP: Engaging Governance @ 54th Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS 2021)

Part of the “Digital Government” – track

54th annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences HICSS
January 5-8, 2021 | Grand Hyatt, Kauai

Important dates:

July 15:
Papers due
August 23:
Notification to authors
September 4:
Revision due for papers accepted with mandatory changes
September 11:
Notifications to authors of revised papers
September 22:
Final manuscripts due
October 1:
Registration deadline
January 4:
Publications of full conference proceedings
January 5-8:
February 15, 2021 (date subject to change)
(Optional) Submission deadline for extended versions of selected papers to
Internet Research (IF 4.1) or
AIS Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction


Public engagement in the governance of shared resources and commons is often inhibited by several factors, such as the growing complexity of modern life, constraints of time or space, and the lack of interest to engage from both individuals and governing bodies. On the other hand, the increased digitalization of society and exponential technological developments have made participation in governance more technologically feasible than ever. Research and practice have sprung to investigate how emerging technologies could impact engagement in governance under such umbrellas as e-democracy (16), e-participation (21, 25), e-voting (26), e-petitioning (3), and online, participatory campaigning (11, 31), amongst many other governance engagement strategies.

Engagement with governance is often facilitated through various technological means and strategies. Among others, games, game-based and playful approaches (10, 22, 23) have been utilized in governance and public engagement practices, for example through simulations and policy games (10). Emerging and connected technologies and strategies are similarly being utilized to foster engagement with governance  through social media (2, 8), gamification & gameful design (12, 13, 18, 19), serious games (7, 32), persuasive technology (24), virtual (28) and augmented reality (4, 27). For example: serious games are being utilized to foster civic learning (9), gamification to promote formal interaction between citizens and policy makers (10, 13, 15), and virtual reality as means of promoting empathy, integration and social connection (5). Many have, additionally, explored how public spaces, and especially smart cities, could be made more engaging to citizens, often in playful ways (14, 23). Smart cities can become playgrounds, where inhabitants, for better or for worse, shape the city’s landscape: its public areas, walkways, social interactions and makeups through technologies (8, 14, 20, 23, 30). Location-based games such as Pokémon Go (4) were able to attract millions of players, making cities friendlier as spaces where individuals felt safer and were more likely to create social connections with their neighbors. Concepts such as Hackable Cities (20, 34), Playable Cities (23), and Urban Gamification (33) highlight the large-scale change that emerging technologies are bringing about in the smart cities of the future. Moreover, social media and user generated content have become a key player in public life through, for example, political memes (2, 8, 11), and organization of political and city activities (20).

These emerging technologies and engagement strategies, amongst others, have shown and still hold a great potential for public engagement in governance. Nonetheless, engagement with governance and the public good can be seen to exist outside the common hurdles of the everyday life, where the effects of engagement are often invisible or take a long time to materialize (13, 18). While we could argue that the basic technological means for facilitating engagement in governance are available to remedy to the modern physical challenges that hinder exactly such engagement, public engagement with governance often swings between the extremes of being passive or active through logistically unsustainable online and offline movements engagement, such as has been seen with the Arab Spring (1, 17), occupy Wall Street movements (6), and some city alteration movements (20, 29, 34). Both, the lack of engagement in governance and unsustainable engagement with it are of detriment to governance and democratic practices.

We encourage a wide range of submissions from any disciplinary backgrounds: empirical and conceptual research papers, case studies, and reviews that investigate emerging engagement technologies & strategies and how they both positively, and negatively impact engagement with cities and governance.

Authors of accepted papers have the option to fast-track extended versions of their HICSS  papers to Internet Research (Impact factor 3.838) or AIS Transactions on Human-Computer Interaction. Moreover, the Engaging Governance mini-track is part of the Gamification Publication Track aimed at persistent development of gamification research:

Relevant topics include (but are not limited to) the intersections between engagement technologies and governance:


  1. Game-based approaches: games, gamification, gamefulness, urban gamification, simulations, policy games, serious games, games with a purpose, game-based learning
  2. Motivational technology: persuasive technology, affective technology, quantified self, motivational theory
  3. Play: playfulness, toys, toyification
  4. Storytelling: narratives, stories, digital storytelling, interactive narrative, storification, roleplay
  5. Immersive technology: AR, VR, XR, digital twins
  6. User generated content: social media, social networks, memes, streaming


  1. Participation: e-participation, e-democracy, empowerment, co-creation, integration, diversity, accessibility
  2. Urban planning: smart cities, public spaces, resource management, commons, sustainability, IoTs
  3. Public data: open data, big data, data ownership, citizen sensing, crowdsensing visualization, information and misinformation
  4. Economy: national economy, sharing economy, information economy, taxation, market regulation
  5. Security and law enforcement: cybersecurity, surveillance, privacy, deception, organized crime, information warfare, digital forensics, e-justice
  6. Policy and politics: policymaking, law-making, voting, petitioning, post-truth politics, campaigning, elections, nudge politics, top-down vs bottom-up regulations
  7. Emergency response: disaster and resources management volunteer work


Submission instructions:


Track Chairs

Lobna Hassan (Primary Contact)
University of Turku / Tampere University

Mattia Thibault
Tampere University

Juho Hamari
Tampere University

J. T. Harviainen
Tampere University


  1. Alha, K., Koskinen, E., Paavilainen, J., & Hamari, J. (2019). Why do people play location-based augmented reality games: A study on Pokémon GO. Computers in Human Behavior, 93, 114-122.
  2. Blascovich, J., & Bailenson, J. (2011). Infinite reality: Avatars, eternal life, new worlds, and the dawn of the virtual revolution. William Morrow & Co.
  3. Connolly, T. M. Boyle, E. A., MacArthur, E., Hainey, T. & Boyle, J. M. (2012). A systematic literature review of empirical evidence on computer games and serious games. Computers & Education, 59, 661-686.
  4. Deterding, S. (2015). The lens of intrinsic skill atoms: A method for gameful design. Human–Computer Interaction, 30(3-4), 294-335.
  5. Granic, I., Lobel, A., & Engels, R. C. (2014). The benefits of playing video games. American psychologist, 69(1), 66.
  6. Hamari, J. (2019). Gamification. In G. Ritzer & C. Rojek (Eds.), The Blackwell Encyclopedia of Sociology. New York John Wiley & Sons. DOI:
  7. Hamari, J., & Sjöblom, M. (2017). What is eSports and why do people watch it? Internet research, 27(2), 211-232.
  8. Hamari, J., Hassan, L., & Dias, A. (2018). Gamification, quantified-self or social networking? Matching users’ goals with motivational technology. User Modeling and User-Adapted Interaction. 28(1), 35-74.
  9. Hassan, L., Dias, A., & Hamari, J. (2019). How motivational feedback increases user’s benefits and continued use: A study on gamification, quantified-self and social networking. International Journal of Information Management, 46, 151-162.
  10. Huotari, K., & Hamari, J. (2017). A definition for gamification: anchoring gamification in the service marketing literature. Electronic Markets, 27(1), 21-31.
  11. Högberg, J., Hamari, J., & Wästlund, E. (2019). Gameful Experience Questionnaire (GAMEFULQUEST): An instrument for measuring the perceived gamefulness of system use. User Modeling and User-adapted Interaction.
  12. Kiili, K. (2005). Digital game-based learning: Towards an experiential gaming model. The Internet and Higher Education, 8(1), 13-24.
  13. Koivisto, J., & Hamari, J. (2019). The rise of motivational information systems: A review of gamification literature. International Journal of Information Management, 45, 191-210.
  14. Landers, R. N., Auer, E. M., Collmus, A. B., & Armstrong, M. B. (2018). Gamification science, its history and future: Definitions and a research agenda. Simulation & Gaming, 49(3), 315-337.
  15. Malone, T. W. (1981). Toward a theory of intrinsically motivating instruction. Cognitive science, 5(4), 333-369.
  16. Montola, M., Stenros, J., & Waern, A. (2009). Pervasive games: theory and design. Morgan Kaufmann Publishers Inc.
  17. Morschheuser, B., Hamari, J., Koivisto, J., & Maedche, A. (2017). Gamified crowdsourcing: Conceptualization, literature review, and future agenda. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 106, 26-43.
  18. Mäyrä, F. (2016). Pokémon GO: Entering the Ludic Society. Mobile Media & Communication, 2050157916678270.
  19. Nijholt, A. (2017). Playable Cities The City as a Digital Playground. Springer.
  20. Oinas-Kukkonen, H., & Harjumaa, M. (2009). Persuasive Systems Design: Key Issues, Process Model, and System Features. Communications of the Association for Information Systems, 24(1).
  21. Peng, W., Crouse, J. C., & Lin, J. H. (2013). Using active video games for physical activity promotion: a systematic review of the current state of research. Health education & behavior, 40(2), 171-192.
  22. Ryan, R. M., Rigby, C. S., & Przybylski, A. (2006). The motivational pull of video games: A self-determination theory approach. Motivation and emotion, 30(4), 344-360.
  23. Sotamaa, O. (2010). When the game is not enough: Motivations and practices among computer game modding culture. Games and Culture, 5(3), 239-255.
  24. Squire, K. D. (2008). Video games and education: Designing learning systems for an interactive age. Educational Technology, 48(2), 17-26.
  25. Taylor, T. L. (2012). Raising the Stakes: E-sports and the Professionalization of Computer Gaming. MIT Press.
  26. Thibault, M. (2019) “Towards a Typology of Urban Gamification” in In Proceedings of the 52nd Annual Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), Hawaii, USA, January 8-11, 2019., pp. 1476-1485.
  27. Törhönen, M., Sjöblom, M., & Hamari, J. (2018). Aspects of online popularity: What do content creators believe to affect their popularity on Twitch and YouTube? In Proceedings of the 2nd International GamiFIN conference, Pori. Finland, May 21-23, 2018.
  28. Von Ahn, L., & Dabbish, L. (2008). Designing games with a purpose. Communications of the ACM, 51(8), 58-67.
  29. Wexelblat, A. (Ed.). (2014). Virtual reality: applications and explorations. Academic Press.
  30. Xi, N., & Hamari, J. (2020). Does gamification affect brand engagement and equity? A study in online brand communities, Journal of Business Research, 109, 449-460.
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