Friday, January 28, 2011

The Fun Theory

Have you ever heard of “the fun theory?”. Well I hadn’t either. But now that I know, I’m so glad I found it! It originated with a contest held by Volkswagen. They invited inventors and creative people to come up with fun ways to encourage people to change their behaviour for the better. What an amazing idea! Unfortunately we have all developed so many bad habits these days. Habits are often difficult to break unless you present someone with a reward or you make a good habit fun! That’s the attitude these creative entrants took. They realized that to bring positive change to the world you have to be able to make people smile, laugh, and WANT to do the right thing.

Some of the top entries were:

The Piano Stairs 
I remember when this video took over YouTube this summer. The creators saw that no one ever wanted to take the stairs at a popular subway stop and would instead take the escalator next to the stairs. So, using an amazing amount of creativity (and engineering!) they turned the stairs into a giant piano. So when a person would walk up each stair a musical note would sound. Who wouldn’t want to walk up those stairs!

The Bottle Bank Arcade
This fun invention brings back memories of older times spent at the carnival. The creators were noticing that few people were recycling their glass bottles. So they created a bottle bank inspired by arcade games. Each time a person recycles their bottle in the proper compartment, they get points and the bank flashes and makes fun noises. If you watch the video you get to see just how much fun people are actually having! Doing something so simple as placing a bottle in a bin. Now that’s the way to change the world one smile at a time!

The Speed Camera Lottery
This was actually the winner of the fun theory contest. I think it was the most successful because it combines the possibility of reward with the fun factor. It works similarly to a traffic camera. If you’re speeding, it takes your picture and you get fined as usual. But if you’re not speeding your picture still gets taken and you get put into a lottery to win a portion of the money created by those who have been fined for speeding. So you get a nice little monetary reward for being a safe driver! It makes me wish I lived in Sweden where this was tested!

Have you ever made anything more fun for yourself in order to encourage a more positive habit? I know I continue to try to find a way to make exercising more fun. I’ve also tried to reduce the amount of pre- packaged foods I eat (not good for me or the environment!). To do this I’ve found ways to make cooking and baking extra fun so its’ something I always look forward to. There’s nothing like blasting your favorite tunes and dancing around your kitchen like you’re a chef on the Food Network!

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