Agnessa Spanellis


  • EH14 4AS

    United Kingdom

Accepting PhD Students

PhD projects

Interested in the research proposals in the area of gamification and its organisational or societal impact.


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Personal profile

Research interests

I am an Assistant Professor of Information Systems Management at Heriot-Watt University. The theme throughout my research work is gamification.  My research is focused on gamification as a new approach that can transform working practices in an organisation, e.g. by helping companies to transform into learning organisations and become more innovative. In  particular, I am interested in exploring the intersection between gamification and my other areas of expertise, i.e. innovation, innovation management, knowledge management, operations management, performance management, organisational learning, and technology-enabled change and innovation.

My other major area of interest includes exploring how gamification can improve social and environmental sustainability, especially in more deprived and impoverished communities in developing counties.  I have been working on a number of project with rural communities in Colombia, Indonesia and Brazil.

My projects include:

  • Title: Building a technology-focused supply chain management capability. KTP Innovate UK (£184K), PI. Designing and implementing a technology focused supply chain with the help of control systems to enable the organisations (customers and suppliers) to manage the performance of the supply chain. This project focuses on optimising the balance between technical and gamification-enabled social types of management control, in technology driven supply chain context.
  • Title: Empowering Brazil’s impoverished communities through critical decision-making: a communitarian communicative strategy. AHRC (£125K), Co-PI.Developing a communitarian communicative strategy to address the issue of fake news in impoverished areas of Brazil (Favelas, homeless communities and low-skills workers) that undermine the  efforts to contain COVID-19 pandemic, using gamification and  persuasive design. In collaboration with UFG, Brazil.

  • Title: Bridging traditional beliefs and COVID-19 transmission prevention strategies in Choco, Colombia. GCRF (£30K), PI. Estimate the diagnosis and seroprevalence of Covid-19 and understanding how local cultural traditions and beliefs influence the infection in the indigenous communities in Choco, Colombia. The improved understanding will be incorporated into the communication and educational strategy for the prevention of the disease to reduce the risk of transmission. In collaboration with UPB-Medellin, Colombia.
  • Title: Building the science network to study ‘A Hope Spot for sustainable forest-community development around the Gulf of Tribuga, Colombia’. GCRF (£10K), Social Theme lead. Analysing the current status of the region and developing science-based pathways (options, consequences, opportunities) for sustainable development is urgently needed to safeguard the identify and future of local communities and pristine natural environments. The analyses combines near-field socio-environmental interactions of the mega port development and wider geographic impacts associated with an infrastructure corridor development into the hinterland, including risk assessment from natural disasters and forest degradation. In collaboration with UPB-Medellin, Colombia.
  • Title: Multi-hazard prediction and disaster response management in Indonesia. GCRF (77K), Co-PI. Developing a new gamified training system for evacuation in the community near the volcano Merapi in Indonesia to address the ineffective response to early warning systems following natural disasters. It was proven that often human behaviour is the primary barrier to mitigation and evacuation procedures. The new training game will allow local communities to understand and react to natural hazards more effectively by developing the capacity to respond to changing and unpredictable circumstance and thus complementing the official evacuation training and procedures, with the help of a game narrative. In collaboration with Universitas Gadjah Mada, Indonesia.

I am interested in PhD applications in the areas of gamification, innovation management, knowledge management, operations management, performance management, organisational learning, IS/ICT management. In particular, I would be keen in exploring how to foster creativity and innovation using gamification technique. Whereby the prevailing approach to gamifying innovation management entails the facilitation of the ideas collection, gamification can also facilitate cognitive processes through a playful experience so as to stimulate the exploration and exploitation of ideas. By changing thinking patterns, e.g. through guiding the participants through a narrative in an imaginary world, such approach can help them unleash their creativity. This project will explore how such approach can be used to facilitate creativity and innovation and what impact it can have on innovative performance. This study can build on and extend existing innovation theories taking the gamification technique as an intervention that can make a difference.

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 8 - Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • SDG 9 - Industry, Innovation, and Infrastructure
  • SDG 12 - Responsible Consumption and Production
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action


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