BECC Day One: Game on! A lesson in gamification

Hello from Washington, DC!  I am at the end of my first evening at the Behavior, Energy, and Climate Change Conference.  I think I’ve died and gone to heaven–there are so many incredible people here, with so much experience, and who truly understand the task of changing culture and behavior to meet important environmental and community outcomes.

In the opening evening of the conference, early-arrivals gathered for a social desserts-only networking event.  I’ve already run into several individuals I only hoped to meet and have time to chat with here, and had a wonderful discussion with Cool Choices (see previous post) and a programmer from University of Hawaii about “gamification” for energy savings.

For our networking activities, we played different games, including “two truths and a lie” and even Charades.  As Kathy Kundt from Cool Choices pointed out in her opening talk, games are fun.  “Fun” isn’t necessarily how we’ve branded energy efficiency.  But games can bring that element to the work we value.

She talked about some of the outcomes from doing games: People try new things, we take risks.  We get engaged and maybe even competitive.  Games are social, so our actions are done in a social context (which can lead to norming effects and social diffusion).  Most of all, we have fun.

The element of fun is important.

  • We try new things because they are fun.  If a friend recommends a book (social diffusion), we only take them up on it if it’s fun.
  • We are likely to do things again if they are fun.  If we try a new restaurant and have a good time, we’ll go back again.

If we engage with energy with our friends and community and it is fun…we are much more likely to do it again.

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7 thoughts on “BECC Day One: Game on! A lesson in gamification

  1. It’s just like in Mary Poppins, “In every job that must be done, there is an element of fun. You find the fun and snap! The job’s a game!”

  2. Maybe we should talk about how our office fun more often in proposals and about how this makes us more effective… this could be new angle!

  3. Speaking of fun and desserts: Could you pick up some super energy efficient, no refrigeration necessary, freeze-dried ice cream at the Air & Space Museum for me? J/K

  4. I’m just catching up on this and a bunch of your previous posts- interesting stuff! I heard a piece on MPR last week with a guy from Best Buy’s Geek Squad where he talked about their whole energy management product line and the major changes we’re going to see with the gamification of energy usage. I hadn’t really thought of it like that before, but it does seem like the way to motivate people to change behaviors. Keep up the good reflecting and writing, I’m excited hear more!

  5. Hi Michelle,

    This is really interesting! I agree 200% on the fun factor! That’s what motivates me! 😉

    I noticed that the hyperlink to the BECC conference is actually linked to the BEC conference (which has to do with building construction). Just wanted to let you know! 😉

  6. Pingback: Where’s my social diffusion? | Common Spark*

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