How the theory of ‘fun’ can create positive change and engagment

Kevin Richardson won the Volkswagen Fun Theory Award in 2010 for his idea for creating a positive incentive to reduce speeding. The Speed Camera Lottery offers a financial reward for people who don’t speed. If you are caught not speeding you go into a draw to win a lottery prize which is a percentage of the monies collected from those who do speed!

The World’s Deepest Bin is another Fun Theory video exploring how a simple sound intervention can change peoples littering habits. In this case a normal out door in was fitted with a sensor and speaker so when an item was paced inside the bin the speaker payed the sound of something falling a very very very long way. It enlisted all sorts of curious responses from passers by and resulted in all sorts of surrounding litter being picked up and disposed of in the bin (so people so check and see if they had actually heard the sound or perhaps they were just imagining it!).

Another example of fun and play being a catalyst for engagement is provided by the Bottle Bank Arcade. Whilst is is very common in European countries to have reverse vending machines that pay you for the deposit of recyclable bottles, this vending machine goes a step further and turns the recycling process into an arcade game fitted with lights and sounds reminiscent of old gaming machines. It instantly attracts a crowd and makes the experience – well, much ‘funner’!

Some other great examples provided by The Fun Theory website include the Piano Stairs (mentioned several times before on this blog) and the Play Belt which simply requires a car seat belt to be plugged in for an in-car entertainment system to work.

The competition that generated these great behavior changing ideas has not been run since 2010 – but here’s hoping that despite this more designers and creative thinkers will set themselves the challenge of how can fun be used to create positive change!