Ken Allan pointed out in a comment yesterday on Innovating in Permaculture Mode, a Federal Department of Innovation would face many attempts to game its system:
The inevitable proliferation of pseudoinnovation among the true innovation will require a process for sifting out the junk. The more pseudo innovation there is, the more junk will have to be sifted – much like spam is in our email filters.The programs, incentives and crowdsourcing of a Department of Innovation would have to be well designed to not get besieged with junk. It needs to "see the cheaters coming" before they gain access, privileges and credibility. The design must safeguard the authentic beneficiaries from getting obscured, discouraged or mislabeled.
There are situations where cheaters discover they are only cheating themselves if they cut corners, bend the rules or fake a genuine contribution. The system out smarts them and closed the loophole before they show up. Situations like this earn the respect of anyone trying to game the system. The potential cheaters feel understood and validated by a system that anticipated their unscrupulous and anti-social maneuvers. They admire whatever has outfoxed their attempts to slip through the cracks, misrepresent themselves and subvert the intended conduct.
This cheating ethos is reinforced by most PC, console and online games. The game cannot be won by an innocent and trusting player. Testing every obstacle for weakness, flaws, oversights and loopholes is essential. Rewards accrue to those gamers who avoid getting gamed by the design of the game. The design of the game gets perceived as high quality, really challenging and worthy of some good buzz whenever it expects gamers to test every facet for game cheats that work.
Creating a situation where it does not pay to cheat -- needs to go beyond the framework of formal arrangements. Besides the structure of requirements, there needs to be consideration of story, meaning and significance. In addition to the tangible components of the system, the intangible value and intrinsic elements must come into play. Alongside the explicit communication, there needs to be implicit messages, signals and cues of a deeper dimension. (to be continued)