The Fun Theory

Molly de Aguiar, Program Associate

Think recycling is dull? A chore? It doesn’t have to be. Watch this little video about the Bottle Bank Arcade. I dare you not to smile while you’re watching it.

See? You smiled.

And did you already see this video about the piano stairs?

The “Fun Theory” competition (sponsored by Volkswagen) will award £2500 (about $4100) to the project that best demonstrates that “fun is the easiest way to change people’s behavior for the better.”

You can take a look at other Fun Theory Award entries here.

These Fun Theory videos make me think about the United Nations Climate Conference in Copenhagen next week. I can’t help but wonder what it’s going to take to change our individual and collective behavior to tackle global issues like climate change. Here’s an interesting article from last week’s New York Times that delves into the dilemma that people’s attitudes often don’t translate into action — which brings me back to the Fun Theory.

What do you think? Can the Fun Theory work on a meaningful scale? Can prize philanthropy (awarding money for innovative solutions to problems) tackle global problems? Should it? We’d like to know what you think.

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2 Responses to The Fun Theory

  1. Gina says:

    These video posts do make me smile, but I am not sure that I subscribe to the fun factor. While it is valuable to take steps to make positive changes in behavior both relevant and easy for people to understand and effect, creating games out of changing people’s behavior will likely produce sporadic and temporary results.

    Also, there is the challenge to keep devising newer, better games to keep people engaged as the novelty and challenge of the fun factor grows dull with time and exposure. As a means of illustrating a paradigm shift, it is a strategy for those with really deep pockets and a lot of creative resources at hand. Lastly, fun factor initiatives tend to fall short in imparting the greater meaning of the changed behavior or the “message” of the activity.

  2. I can’t help but wonder what it’s going to take to change our individual and collective behavior to tackle global issues like climate change.

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