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GAMES CAN MAKE SUSTAINABILITY FUN

December 2, 2016

Even though most humans are innately driven to protect the planet, they’re likely to dig in their heels and refuse when outside forces attempt to bully them into action. That’s why the long-established method of shaming people into changing their behavior has failed to work. If we want to effect true progress, to see sustainability achieve mainstream adoption, we’re going to have to opt for another approach..

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That’s where gamification comes in.

Though gamification is still a relatively new concept, it’s already been implemented (and seen success) in the health, fitness and financial sectors. The psychological influences that have attributed to gamification’s efficaciousness in these areas are just as applicable to the field of sustainability.

So what is gamification? Simply put, it’s the concept of applying game design and mechanics to real-world problems. By employing the principles that make games engaging — a sense of fun, competition, achievement, gratification and improvement — gamification increases the motivation, engagement and contribution of the target audience, and produces the desired results through their involvement.

When it comes to sustainability, gamification taps into the fundamental human need to be challenged and makes being eco-friendly accessible, enjoyable and rewarding. It drives change by taking advantage of people’s eagerness to be part of a community. Many people feel powerless in the face of our overwhelming sustainability problem, and individual action seems almost pointless. Not only does gamification help them see themselves as part of something larger, it also illustrates the impact they have — the significant difference they make.

There are a few things that are crucial to making gamification both beneficial and successful in the workplace. First, there needs to be challenging — but achievable — goals to encourage participation. Second, rewards are a must in order to boost productivity and drive performance. Finally, games should be social in order to facilitate peer collaboration and face-to-face networking. This gets employees interacting across departments and in ways they wouldn’t normally in day-to-day operations.

It’s not rocket science — people play games because they’re fun. If we want to thrust sustainability into the mainstream consciousness, we’re going to need to make it far more enjoyable, accessible and rewarding. Although both gamification and the sustainability movement are in their formative years, we can expect to see them evolve together to produce more of an impact.

Original Content – http://earth911.com/eco-tech/gamification-sustainability 

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