Dr. L.J. (Rens) Kortmann


Rens Kortmann (1975) wants the world to be more playful. As a lecturer he uses games and gamification to facilitate his students in becoming independent and critical thinkers. As a scientific researcher he studies how games and performance art may join forces to promote culture change. Games that aim for more than just entertainment have proven to be effective instruments for this purpose. Playing well-designed and well-facilitated games will help players to improve their communication, understand complexity, enhance creativity,  reach consensus, and commit to action (see the seminal work Policy games for strategic management - pathways into the unknown by Duke and Geurts from 2004 for more in-depth background). Adding elements from the performance arts such as theatre, dance, and live music may result in what we call ludic performances: engaging, gameful performances that make people think. In earlier and current work with colleagues and his (PhD) students, Rens studied how to design and facilitate games and ludic performances for culture change. Some examples are: a game for changing the leadership culture in a large governmental organisation (Kortmann et al., 2014), a ludic performance for promoting compassion and collaboration amongst the audience of a ‘Game Opera’ (Kortmann and Luijten, 2016), and a game for advancing a more active listening culture (Erdbrink, Kortmann, and Verbraeck, 2018).

Trained as a cognitive scientist and an artificial intelligence researcher at the universities of Groningen (NL) and Edinburgh (UK), Rens received his PhD in 2003 from the University of Maastricht (NL). Thereafter he worked as a researcher/consultant for CE Delft (NL), a not-for-profit organization for environmental policy research. In 2008 he was appointed Assistant Professor at Delft University of Technology (NL). Rens is active in the International Simulation and Gaming Association (ISAGA) and in the faculty of Technology, Policy, and Management (TPM) at TU Delft. He is a reviewer for a range of journals and conferences and organised the ISAGA game design summer school in 2014 and the 48th ISAGA conference in 2017. In November 2017 he received the Mekel Prize for sustainable innovation from former TU Delft Rector Magnificus Karel Luyben.

  • Erdbrink, A., Kortmann, R., & Verbraeck, A. (2018). The Context Dependency of Two Popular Persuasive Game Design Principles. In Proceedings of the 49th Conference of the International Simulation and Gaming Association (ISAGA). Bangkok.
  • Lukosch, H. K., Bekebrede, G., & Kortmann, R. (Eds.). (2018). Simulation Gaming: Applications for Sustainable Cities and Smart Infrastructures. 48th International Simulation and Gaming Association Conference, ISAGA 2017, Delft, The Netherlands, July 10-14, 2017, Revised Selected Papers. Springer Lecture Notes in Computer Science 10825 (Vol. 10825). Cham: Springer International Publishing. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-91902-7
  • Kortmann, R. and Peters, V. (2017). Demystifying the unseen helmsman: Towards a competency model for game facilitators. Delft/Nijmegen. 66 p.
  • Kortmann, R., & Luijten, A. (2016). Parsifal a Game Opera. In R. Bottino, J. Jeuring, & R. C. Veltkamp (Eds.), GALA 2016. LNCS, Vol. 10056 (pp. 154–164). Cham: Springer. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-50182-6_14
  • Kortmann, R., Van Daalen, E., Mayer, I., & Bekebrede, G. (2014). Veerkracht 2.0: Embodied interactions in a servant-leadership game. In S. A. Meijer & R. Smeds (Eds.), Frontiers in Gaming Simulation; LNCS 8264 (pp. 44–51). Cham, CH: Springer. doi:10.1007/978-3-319-04954-0
  • Kortmann, R., Bekebrede, G., Van Daalen, E., Harteveld, C., Mayer, I., & Van Dierendonck, D. (2013). Veerkracht - a game for servant-leadership development. In C. Otoiu & G. Otoiu (Eds.), The journey of change: mapping the process (pp. 129–152). Cluj-Napoca, RO: Editura ASCR.
  • Kortmann, R., & Sehic, E. (2011). The Railway Bridge Game – usability, usefulness, and potential usage for railways management. In M. Beran (Ed.), Changing the world through meaningful play (pp. 119 – 125). Spokane, WA.
  • Kortmann, R., & Harteveld, C. (2009). Agile game development: lessons learned from software engineering. In G. K. Yeo & Y. Cai (Eds.), Learn to Game, Game to Learn. Singapore: Society of Simulation and Gaming of Singapore.
  • Kortmann, R., Postma, E., & Van den Herik, J. (2001). Evolution of visual resolution constrained by a trade-off. Artificial Life(2), 125 – 145.
  • Kortmann, R., & Hallam, J. (1999). Studying Animals through Artificial Evolution: the Cricket Case. In D. Floreano, J.-D. Nicoud, & F. Mondada (Eds.), Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence 1674 (pp. 215–225). Berlin, D: Springer.

More publications

  • TB211A Analyse van multi-actorsystemen, 2nd year bachelor ‘Technische Bestuurskunde’ (P3, 5 ECTS).
  • TB351B Bachelorproject, 3rd year bachelor ‘Technische Bestuurskunde’ (P1 – 4, 15 ECTS).
  • SPM9235 Game Design Project, elective in master ‘SEPAM’ (P1, 4 ECTS).
  • MOT1003 Integration Moment, 1st year master ‘MOT’  (P4, 5 ECTS).
  • Parsifal Playingfields (Operadagen Rotterdam). A game-opera about sustainable development through compassion and cooperation.
  • GAMEFUL MUSIC PERFORMANCES FOR SMART, INCLUSIVE, AND SUSTAINABLE SOCIETIES (GAMPSISS). Blending games and classical music performances to contribute to a more active listening culture

Rens Kortmann

Assistant Professor

Multi-Actor Systems

Policy Analysis

Research interests:
The Grand Challenges for our society as laid down by the European Committee
Embodied experiences in games and gamification
Collective governance (including new models for businesses and democracy)
Social / open innovation
New user interfaces for games and play


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