The Fun Theory

This is something I’ve been thinking about more and more recently, and it seems so have an increasing number of brands.  Take Nike Grid for example.  It’s not new, they’ve had one before, but it’s set to be huge this time around.  I’m using it as an excuse to get back running again, but as soon as I signed up I noticed you could earn badges.  Akin to the likes of Foursquare you can earn digital accolades to add to your profile and impress.  This is good.  Firstly because people like badges, and secondly people like showing off.  Running and exercise aren’t traditionally “fun”, but adding this element to them makes them fun.  It makes them a game, a game that people want to win.

I took part in the TFL Cycle Challenge back in the summer and they offered a similar reward scheme, unlockable badges for distances and the frequency of your rides.  This was a surprising compelling way of ensuring I rode each morning, especially as it only ran for one month.  Peeking out the curtain in the morning, convincing myself I deserved a rest as I was tired, but no – that would mean missing out on points and a potential badge!

And this is my point, making activities into a game, offering prizes (who doesn’t like a badge, or to be “crowned” best runner in a postcode!) and acquiring points sets a healthy and competitive enthusiasm.  Games are fun, and that leads on to the real reason of this post.  The Swedish born Fun Theory.  A Volkswagon initiative to use the idea of fun to change user behaviour for the better.

These videos explain it far better than me rambling on, so enjoy some of my favourite ideas from the scheme.  They will make you think and they will make you smile, but that’s kind of the point.

Bottle Bank Arcade Machine

Piano Staircase

The Speed Camera Lottery

Any ideas or schemes you may have and feel that creative thinking or a designer’s touch is needed please get in touch (or via a link on the top right hand side there), I’d be more than happy to take a look.

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7 Responses to “The Fun Theory”


  1. 1 Tony October 14, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Love the piano staircase.

    Can’t see it working at Waterloo in the rush hour though

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  1. 1 Tweets that mention The Fun Theory « Inspirational Geek -- Topsy.com Trackback on October 14, 2010 at 9:58 pm

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