Fun Theory

There’s been a video circulating on Facebook and YouTube recently and when I saw it, I immediately latched onto the idea behind it. Which is that “something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better. Be it for yourself, for the environment, or for something entirely different, the only thing that matters is that it’s change for the better”. This is the thought behind The Fun Theory, which is an initiative of Volkswagen.

The video I’m referring to is Piano Stairs

When I first saw it, I did laugh at the novelty of it. But then it really started to make me think: is that really all it takes? Do we just need to inject life with some fun–at least in some circumstances and situations–for behavior to change for the better? I know that for me, if I’m having fun doing something I’m more likely to stick with it. Take for instance, exercise. I’d much rather do something that I enjoy doing (like Zumba or Yoga, or even to listen to some great music while I run), versus just watching the clock while I do what I need to.

Looking at the statistics in this one incident, 66% more people than normal chose the stairs over the escalator once they were turned into Piano Stairs. That’s pretty significant! From this one video, we can’t say if the novelty of the piano stairs will wear off and people will go back to using the escalator again (hopefully not!) But to be able to encourage a little more physical activity out of people is noteworthy!

The Fun Theory initiative has also seen a decrease in speeding and an increase in recycling. All by injecting these daily tasks with a little fun.

So now I’m curious. What other behaviors could we legitimately change, just by injecting them with a little fun or novelty?