We’re all gamers

Thinking Highways
By Crispin Moller and Greg Drach June 27, 2014 15:17

We’re all gamers


PleaseCycle’s approach to getting more of us traveling sustainably more often, explained by Crispin Moller and Greg Drach.

Sustainable travel is something that is on the rise.  Transport for London reported an 8 per cent growth in cycling during 2010 which is the equivalent of an additional 45,000 journeys on top of the half million plus journeys being done by bike each day.

With the percentage of people in the UK also reporting to walk for at least 10 minutes continuously once a week being around 90 per cent of the population, why is it proving so hard to get people out of their cars?  With 24m journeys being made in London not to mention similar cities around the world each day, how can we get more people to think more about their travel methods?

Step up PleaseCycle. Simply put PleaseCycle help get more people running, walking and cycling more often.

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How can we get people to think more about their travel methods?

PleaseCycle help organizations and local authorities engage with their audiences by targeting a number of key areas in behavioral change, a key factor in encouraging more people to make the switch to more sustainable travel methods.

Providing branded online and mobile portals allowing users to track their journeys, see what CO2 their sustainable journeys have saved compared to driving and how much money sustainable travel can save them PleaseCycle aim to help people understand the impact their travel has on the wider environment.  In turn this allows organizations and local authorities to specifically report on the reduced impact their employees or residents have on the wider area, providing key corporate and social responsibility statistics.

WHAT IS GAMIFICATION?

Providing methods of encouragement and thus getting people to think about how they travel is the first step on the road to getting them out of their car, but how does that involve gamification and where did it all start?

Over one hundred years ago, Cracker Jack started to place a toy in every box of their breakfast cereals to reward children for eating more of their product. Since then, countless businesses have been using games, toys and other kinds of fun as a means of selling and promoting their products.

Moving this notion into the 21st century, gamification has become the use of game elements and game-design techniques in non-game contexts.

The term ‘gamification’ went mainstream in 2010 thanks to a now famous talk by game designers Jesse Schell and Jane McGonigal.  Since the TED Talk focusing on the use of game mechanics in non-game contexts the “gamification industry” has become significant with a huge number of companies adopting gamification as a means of increasing engagement to suit their varying needs.

WHAT CAN GAMIFICATION BE USED FOR?

According to Buck Consultants, over two-thirds of employers consider gamification an effective strategy for encouraging their employees to improve their health and more than 30 per cent of employers intend to adopt a minimum of one health-focused gamified strategy in the next year.

According to M2Research, the market for enterprise gamification solutions grew in 2012 by 38 per cent and is projected to be worth US$2.8bn in 2016 and US$5.5bn in 2018, compared to US$421m in 2012.

The prominence of this market has seen a huge influx of gamification in a wide variety of companies such as Nike, Coca-Cola, Kellogg’s, McDonalds, Microsoft to name just a few.

The particular branch of gamification PleaseCycle use is called behaviour-change gamification that seeks to form beneficial new habits among a targeted audience.

Behaviour-change gamification can involve anything from encouraging people to make better health choices, such as eating better or working out more often, to building systems that help people save more money for retirement. Generally, these new habits produce desirable societal outcomes: less obesity, lower medical expenses, a more effective educational system, and better financial decisions.

PleaseCycle provides a tool targeted to get more people to cycle and increase cycling frequency among casual cyclists.

HOW DO PLEASECYCLE IMPLEMENT GAMIFICATION?

The successful implementation of gamification requires a number of key objectives to be outlined in order to target the desired behavioural change.

Step1: Define main objectives

PleaseCycle’s main objective is to get more people cycling more often.

Step 2: Delineate target behaviors

It is important to focus on the desired behavioral change in order to put in the correct means of measurement in place.  Since behaviors and metrics are best considered together, PleaseCycle’s target behaviors are concrete and specific. Some of the examples include:

–          Sign up for an account on the website

–          Log cycling trips at least once a week

–          Create a goal

–          Take part in a cycling competition

–          Form or join a team

–          Share your experiences on Facebook or Twitter

Step 3: Describe the users

It is important to remember that real people use these systems. It sounds obvious, but it is easily overlooked and something that it is very hard to rectify.  It’s important to know who the users are and anticipate and understand what their needs are and will be moving forward. It is important that the information captured is carefully analysed to provide the most relevant experience to users throughout the lifecycle of the product.

Step 4: Devise Activity / Engagement Cycles

There are two kinds of ‘activity cycle’ used on the PleaseCycle platform: engagement loops and progression stairs. Engagement loops describe, at micro level, what users do, why they do it, and what the system does in response. Progression stairs give a macro perspective on the ‘player’s’ journey. It’s important to get these cycles right as getting them wrong means you risk undoing any behavioural change already achieved and potentially loosing the interest of the user fulltime.

54 We're all gamers 3Step 5: Don’t forget the fun

Before a gamification solution is implemented it is important to take a step back and as a simple question: is it fun? Fun isn’t easy to predict, but the best way to tell if the system is fun is to build it, test it and refine it though a rigorous design systems.  PleaseCycle have gone through a number of phases in order to produce products that work for the specific audiences they are asked to cater for.

Step 6: Deploy the Appropriate Tools

The last stage is to pick the appropriate game mechanics, components and elements and deliver them through an effective mechanism. PleaseCycle are very careful about which elements are selected, constantly bearing in mind that the user experience should be fun and motivating to encourage increased usage. It is as refined balance of various elements that helps create a successful system.

DOES IT REALLY WORK?

PleaseCycle have based their latest product variation on a variety of different applied theories, putting them to the test in a couple of notable case studies which we will explore later in the article.

Firstly the science:

The Fogg Behaviour Model – developed in 2011 by B.J. Fogg indicates that behaviour change occurs once triggered only when motivation levels are high and/or when users’ ability to complete a task is increased.

54 We're all gamers 4Self-Determination Theory – developed by Edward Deci, Richard Ryan and their collaborators suggests that human beings are inherently proactive, with a strong internal desire for growth, but their external environment must support this, otherwise these internal motivators will be thwarted. SDT indicates that these needs fall into three categories: competence, relatedness, and autonomy.

  • “Competence”, or mastery, means being effective in dealing with the external environment: learning how to cycle, route planning, preparing appropriate clothing.
  • “Relatedness” involves social connection and the universal desire to interact with and be involved with family, friends, colleagues and others.
  • “Autonomy” is the innate need to feel in command of one’s life and to be doing what is meaningful (getting healthier, reducing the impact on the environment, saving money).

According to the theory, tasks that implicate one or more of these innate human needs tend to be intrinsically motivated. In other words, people will do them for their own sake. It is our job to boost these motivators and make them easier to feel and achieve.

The Tools

  • Increase motivation: PleaseCycle have used a number of gamification tools such as: badges, goal setting, tracking cycling progress, leader boards and friendly competition with colleagues.
  • The ability to share achievements:  Links with Facebook and Twitter encourage teams through social interaction
  • Reward:  Discounts in local shops and restaurants based on your BikeMiles are also very powerful extrinsic motivators
  • Inform:  PleaseCycle provide a lot of information on how to get started and prepare for cycling e.g. what bike and what clothing.
  • The ‘Weather Widget’ and ‘Journey Planner’ make route planning easy and fun.
  • Triggers: we use a number of triggers such as nudge emails; competitions and challenges to stimulate the desirable behaviour change.
  • Self-Determination Theory – this theory developed by Edward Deci, Richard Ryan and their collaborators suggests that human beings are inherently proactive, with a strong internal desire for growth, but that the external environment must support this, otherwise these internal motivators will be thwarted. STD indicates that these needs fall into three categories: competence, relatedness, and autonomy.

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o   “Competence”, or mastery, means being effective in dealing with the external environment: learning how to cycle, route planning, preparing appropriate clothing.

o   “Relatedness” involves social connection and the universal desire to interact with and be involved with family, friends, colleagues and others.

o   “Autonomy” is the innate need to feel in command of one’s life and to be doing what is meaningful (getting healthier, reducing the impact on the environment, saving money).

According to the theory, tasks that implicate one or more of these innate human needs tend to be intrinsically motivated. In other words, people will do them for their own sake. It is our job to boost these motivators and make them easier to feel and achieve.

CONCLUSION

At the beginning of this article we posed a question. How can we get more people to think about their means of travel and instigate a behavioural change thus benefiting themselves and others?

Gamification has proved hugely influential when it comes to people’s buying habits.  The volume of investment going into the sector is a clear indication that the appetite both in terms of consumers and suppliers/employers/authorities is growing.  With people’s travel habits beginning to shift gamification shows signs of being a key method of assisting the change and seeing that it is not simply a phase and is a key long term progression.

FYI

Greg Drach is business development director and Crispin Moller is account director at Please Cycle

Email: crispin@pleasecycle.com

Email: greg@pleasecycle.com    

Web: www.pleasecycle.com

If you are interested in implementing PleaseCycle in your organisation or municipality, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at: highways@pleasecycle.com.

Thinking Highways
By Crispin Moller and Greg Drach June 27, 2014 15:17