Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fun Theory

At the BlackBerry developer conference I saw a talk by a person named Jane McGonigal.  She is a game developer who is trying to use the positive aspects of gaming to make the world a better place.  Her idea is basically quite simple.  If you make a goal fun, people will work harder to achieve it.  She has a TED talk here:

I recently came across a web site where VW is trying to do exactly the same thing.  They are encouraging people to use game theory to make the world a better place.  One of my favorites is the place in Sweden where they turned a speed trap into a game.  Normally, those cameras that take pictures of people who are speeding and send them a speeding ticket are a real nuisance.  In this case they made it into a lottery.  Just as before, if you speed, the camera takes you picture and sends you a ticket with a hefty fine that you need to pay.  However, if you don't speed, the camera also takes your picture.  Its just that in this case it enters you into a lottery.  If you are chosen, you get a share of the money from the people who paid the fines.  Apparently, speeding at the intersection in question was reduced significantly.

They also turned a bottle recycling bin into a game

Even a trash bin can be made fun
(notice that all these videos take place in Sweden)

I suppose even our FitBits are making exercise more fun.  Do you think you could make it fun for people to do things that help the world and each other?

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