Agnessa Spanellis is a senior lecturer of Systems Thinking at the University of Edinburgh and a director of Gamification and Systems Thinking Lab (GST-lab). She teaches systems thinking and uses systems thinking principles in her research. The theme throughout her research work is gamification. She uses gamification as a tool for creating gamified environments to explore complexity and interconnectedness in systems, so as to help decision-makers make better decisions. Currently, she is interested in how gamification can be used as a medium for interacting with algorithms that support decision-making and how decisions are made when different stakeholders are exposed to various experiences (of the future) created by the algorithms and mediated by a gamified environment. 

Her other major area of interest includes the ways in which gamification can help organisations and communities become more sustainable, e.g., by helping companies to transform into learning organisations or make better decisions in the context of sustainability. She has led and participated in AHRC, GCRF and EPSRC funded projects, engaging with policy makers and working with rural, indigenous or impoverished communities in Colombia, Guyana, Indonesia and Brazil, where gamification was used to improve preparedness for the pandemic or a natural hazard. Currently, she is interested in how gamification is used to support citizen participation in policy making, e.g., through gamified public consultations, and whether gamification can democratise policy development. 

Her work has been published in leading management journals, such as Organization Studies and Academy of Management Annals. She established a gamification lab, leading research on organisational gamification and gamification for sustainability. Her work has been praised by project partners, e.g., leaders of indigenous communities in Colombia or the regent of Sleman region in Indonesia, and recognised by the international community of gamification practitioners (e.g. invited presentation at Gamification Europe conference).

Publication highlights:

Bititci, U.S. & Spanellis, A. (2023), Systems Thinking for Business and Management: Principles and practice, London: Kogan Page.

Spanellis, A., Pyrko, I. & Dӧrfler, V. (2022), “Gamifying situated learning in organisations”. Management Learning, Vol. 53(3), pp. 525-546, DOI: 10.1177/13505076211038812

Spanellis, A. (2023). 21. Gamification for sustainable consumption: ethical issues and future promises. Research Handbook on Ethical Consumption: Contemporary Research in Responsible and Sustainable Consumer Behaviour, ed. Carrigan, M., Wells, V.K. & Papadas, K.A., Edward Elgar Publishing, pp. 366-381.

Research Interests

  • Gamification
  • Serous Games
  • Simulations
  • Organisational Learning
  • Innovation Management
  • Boundary Work
  • Socio-materiality
  • Net Zero Transition
  • Sustainability
  • Systems Thinking
  • Futures Thinking

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Research Area