All grown people sooner or later come to the conclusion that life is a game. Depending on your mindset, you can consider this as a positive or a negative assumption. But let's try to see things from the bright side now. When you're playing a game – outdoors or on your computer, you don't take things too seriously. Thus, the importance of your activity is dramatically reduced and the chance to get the job done increases. This principle is the foundation of what experts today call 'gamification' or making a particular job more fun. See how recycling and waste management can be successfully gamified as well.
Gamification: Theory & Practice
First, let's examine the concept of gamification a little bit more in-depth. The trick is to achieve a game-like experience in a non-game, real-life environment or situation. Of course, this is done using techniques and ideas directly taken from the science of playing: be it electronic games or classic sports played outside. Gamification is proven to be a working yet not aggressive method to make people more engaged with a given activity and make them behave in a desired, predicted way.
Turning tasks into game is quite useful in the fields of problem-solving and chores management. Jobs that are generally considered boring are transformed to something more enjoyable or even attractive – cleaning chores, rubbish disposal, filling out surveys and documents/forms and many others. Gamification is also used in teaching with impressive results and that's completely understandable as young people today not always have a high motivation to learn at schools.
How Volkswagen's Fun Theory Treats Junk
Now it's time to see an interesting experiment - a rubbish recycling gamification. It comes from the world-renowned automotive brand Volkswagen. Their project is called The Fun Theory and has its own dedicated website. There, visitors can see videos that show various practical implementations of real-life games. Also, an award is going to be given to one of the selected ten finalists. Voting has already ended but the entries are still available to view on the site.
Back on the actual glass junk experiment. The concept behind this example of gamification is that people rarely recycle the glass bottles collected at their homes. To encourage street passengers to return them, the guys at Volkswagen mixed a regular rubbish container and an arcade machine into one device that they called The Bottle Bank Arcade. For added authenticity, the machine even featured chiptune sounds typical to the vintage game consoles. Weird flashing lights were present, too.
So, was the experiment a success? Simply put, yes. The results were more than satisfying and the figures - probably better than what the creators expected. Rubbish removal workers from Sydney suggest that the wide use of such gamifications can be very useful for every highly urbanised city around the world. It's also worth mentioning that not only young people were attracted by the colourful bank. All of this was just the effect of making it fun to return empty old bottles. People earned points for every bottle they threw in, which made them come back and actually recycle more.
Do you think that gamification can be also used to solve other 'green' issues? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.