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Games for Learning and Dialogue on Humanitarian Logistics

Special issue call for papers from Journal of Humanitarian Logistics and Supply Chain Management

Guest Editors:
Pablo Suarez, [email protected]
Casper Harteveld, [email protected]
Gyöngyi Kovács, [email protected]

Special issue purpose
The demand for humanitarian work is evolving: Drivers include new patterns in timing, location, and magnitude of disasters due to a changing climate, more people at risk due to population dynamics and urbanization, and environmental degradation. These and other trends will continue to compound the workload of already overstretched humanitarian organizations. The complexity and range of possible humanitarian decisions is rapidly expanding, as is progress in information and communication technologies, new analytical tools, financial instruments, and other promising developments - all in a context of financial constraints.  Many current approaches (especially unidirectional formats such as publications and presentations) leave decision-makers and stakeholders with little recourse beyond passive engagement. How to accelerate participatory learning and dialogue on the complex issues of changing threats and opportunities? How to enable stakeholders to experience the trade-offs, thresholds, feedbacks and delays shaping outcomes on the ground? 

The aim of this special issue is to promote the development, deployment, and analysis of games for humanitarian work. It will share the theory and practice of games as playable, dynamic models for education and dialogue. It investigates how games can meaningfully engage people and organizations in experiencing the complex systems behind humanitarian logistics - to better understand their current or potential role in transforming these systems - in a way that is both serious and fun.

Specific aspects of games for humanitarian work include educational, fundraising, and public awareness initiatives, playable optimization models, and analysis of replicable, innovative game-enabled workshops. Provided that they reflect potential ways in which the practice of humanitarian logistics and supply chain management can be advanced, all are within the scope of this special issue.

Research themes

Conceptual papers, qualitative or quantitative analysis, and case studies that reflect established and/or emerging insights into the use of games in the field of humanitarian logistics are invited. We welcome contributions across a wide range of issues, including but not limited to:
- Discussing theoretical frameworks and concepts regarding the use and need for games for learning and dialogue
- Identifying strengths and weaknesses in current theory and/or practice
- Providing empirical evidence on the effectiveness for games for learning and dialogue
- Examining the design and delivery of games tailored to specific humanitarian challenges and opportunities
- Conveying complex concepts and consolidating learning
- Identifying optimal choices in supply chain management challenges
- Assessing risks or dealing with threats
- Establishing dialogue and working collaboration across institutions and disciplines
- Diagnosing cognitive, behavioral, or institutional problems
- Scaling up successful initiatives and accelerating desired outcomes
- Motivating and inspiring innovation in design and delivery of humanitarian services
- Using games for data collection, monitoring, and assessment/evaluation
- Investigating cross-cultural and gender issues and their implications for humanitarian logistics training

For all contributions we encourage authors to provide an adequate, in-depth discussion of the design of their games as well as the context in which their games were deployed.

Submission guidelines

Please submit your paper via the ScholarOne online submission system:

Full guidelines on making a submission can be found here:

Deadline for submissions: 31 December 2013