Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Recyclebank: green gamification for everyone


Originally posted here, which is now being used as my 'other' space. With the intention of bringing this space back to life!

Recyclebank takes gamification to the public and in theory everyone wins.
I’m a fan of good game design that helps get things done in a low-resistance, engaging way. This type of thing is becoming more and more common among institutions - like companies trying to encourage employees to adopt new practices and schools trying to deliver ‘old’ material in a *new and relevant!* way.
Foursquare is probably the most notable public use of gamification. The real loss for Foursquare though, is that in low-saturation areas, the emphasis lies with the use to enjoy the pure game aspects instead of being rewarded in a real-world way. My personal opinion leaves that to the fact that it was such an early innovation in the gamification space.
Recyclebank takes things further. Less dependent on high-saturation areas (i.e. cities), users are rewarded for taking small (or large), clear positive steps to reduce their environmental impact in real-world ways. By hanging out the washing instead of using the dryer, or turning off appliances at the powerpoint, users earn points (standard gamification feature) which can then be redeemed for rewards such as online store vouchers.
So why wouldn’t a user simply use their own initiative to tally the savings they make from taking those actions and buy stuff online without being given a voucher? Being able to see and show progress with others as well as being rewarded (or validated?) by others is highly valuable to everyone.
That small connection to others who are also interested in making a difference is what a lot of crowd-sourced initiatives are based on. But that’s another story.