The Fun Theory

30 Oct is a Volkswagen initiative dedicated to promoting their theory that the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better is to make something fun.  It’s a really interesting idea that attempts to further VW’s corporate social responsibility.


For example, we’re told to take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator because it’s a healthier option and burns more calories.  So, why is the elevator always packed and the stairs deserted?  Would we ditch the elevator if taking the stairs was more fun?  Here’s a guerrilla video that helps answer that question.  It’s called “Piano Stairs”.

Check out other interesting and fun award entries.  My favorite is the Wiki Traffic Light.


2 Responses to “The Fun Theory”

  1. Britney Bennett October 30, 2009 at 4:25 pm #

    People might take the stairs if it was more fun. I always take them because it’s exercise.

  2. Cam Beck November 12, 2009 at 3:26 pm #

    It’s an interesting approach. To me, it seems to hinge on a value-to-effort calculus. Or put another way, a cost-benefit analysis.

    “Fun” is certainly a benefit, but many eclectic hobbies are fun that aren’t universally practiced — like rock climbing.

    I’d be interested in seeing what happens to behavior of the regular travelers AFTER the piano is REMOVED from the stairs.

    Will it be like Pavlov’s dogs, who kept drooling at the sound of the bell even if no food was brought (though this behavior eventually stopped)? Or will they no longer see the benefit and go back to the escalator?

    I suspect the latter. If true, the “experiment” would prove that if they spend $200k (or whatever it is) on stairs, people will take them more often, which would price most folks out of that market for something that doesn’t really benefit them.

    On the other hand, it has stimulated some thinking about the value of engineered experiences, and how they can influence behavior.

    This could lead to other good things.

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