Associated with Juan Carlos I Royal Botanic Gardens, Alcalá de Henares University, The Royal Botanic Garden of Madrid

Co-creating a game on food security

In March, 2017 The Royal Botanic Garden of Madrid and Juan Carlos I Royal Botanic Gardens, Alcalá de Henares University began the process of co-creating a physical and digital game aimed at students and the general public. This game will be used both at our outreach exhibitions (Expo BigPicnic) and at schools and other institutions. The game will cover different aspects of food security which will be selected and developed by the students involved in the process.

Presentation about gameficationPhoto credit: CSIC

In the first stage, we had two meetings where we discussed the generalities and possibilities of this activity with experts in teacher training (CRIF Las Acacias) and staff from the school involved. We had a brain storming session in which different ideas came out and were discussed. Finally, the idea chosen was to develop a game based on  the format of an ‘escape room’ in which participants have to work together to solve puzzles to get out. This will be co-created with a group of around 20 science students aged 14-15.

In the second stage, we had the first work session with the students in which we gave them an overview of the project and discussed their interests, talents, worries and knowledge.

The education experts involved were very enthusiastic about the proposal and further collaboration. Their involvement and commitment so far has been more than expected.

The students were also very happy about the idea of developing a game for BigPicnic and immediately showed a very collaborative and creative attitude.  

We also expect to gain a lot from the process: we have chosen a diverse group of the students (students with ADHD, students previously bullied at other schools, immigrants, etc.) which makes it a challenging experience in which we expect to learn a lot! 

The participants have turned out to be very creative with very different hidden talents, of which we will take advantage to develop the next steps of the co-creation process.

Next steps

We will use different co-creation methodologies to develop the game.  

The main idea is to work together like a company. For this purpose, students will be divided into several groups according to their talents and potential. Each group will play a different role in producing the game (e.g. content developers, graphic designers, musicians, etc.).

So far we have 25 students working on the game, but we expect to reach many more once it is finished!