Can fun change behaviour?

by abisignorelli on February 17, 2010

“Fun can obviously change behaviour for the better” The Fun Theory – what do you think?

One thing’s for certain, companies can’t ignore the behavioural shifts needed when becoming more social in the workplace.

Luckily for some, it’s simply an extension of their current culture of open, multi-way communication. But for others, it’s a fundamental shift on how they communicate with their people, and I spend a lot of my time talking to them about strategies on how to gain buy-in and adoption with their employees.

One thing I definitely agree with is The Fun Theory’s statement “Fun can change people’s behaviour for the better“. They’ve carried out some fantastic experiments on putting that theory to the test. My particular favourite is the Piano Stairs experiment carried out in Odenplan, Stockholm. They asked: “Can we get more people than normal to chose the stairs over the escalator?” See the results here…


You’ll see from the video that the answer is a big fat yes, with 66% more people than normal choosing the stairs over the escalator. Another great example is their Bottle Bank Arcade experiment. They asked: “Can we get more people to use the bottle bank by making it fun to do?”. See the results here…


Once again, the experiment was a resounding success with over 100 people using the bin during one night – compared to only two using the conventional bin nearby.

I know that having a bit of fun when I was embarking on social communication plans in a previous company was key to its success – adoption rates, hits and comments soared when I launched a fun blogging competition. Following that exercise, adoption rates were sustained because we’d captured their interest in a bit of a different way from conventional methods.

Fun is also a key theme used by Asda’s Green Room – an interactive website made by colleagues, for colleagues – where employees can go to “check in with what’s hot in the world of Asda colleagues.” Andy Bond, Asda’s CEO, talks to his employees through a video message posted on the site. He says: “...over the next few years this will become the way we communicate so it’s very important we take it seriously… But it can be a great way to have a bit of fun as well take things seriously…Thanks and have some fun.” And, you can see the fun aspects running through the site with employees having a laugh with videos and pics they’ve posted, while creating a great balance with the more serious stuff.

I know I’ll personally continue to look at using fun ways of doing things to influence behaviours. How about you? Do you also agree with the statement “fun can obviously change behaviour for the better“?


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Robert Manolson March 5, 2010 at 12:56 am

Posted by Robert Manolson, Creator & Facilitator March 4/2010In an article I wrote called “All Work and No Play?” I mention that, “When play is encouraged and integrated within the work community, it is received as permission for a timeout to regenerate and rebuild energy and as motivation to complete the next big task.” It is all about the big picture and enhancing your bottom line by creating a workplace health and wellness strategy in your business for your employees. Recent research of participants in my workshops concluded that 100% of employees surveyed agree that they all can use more fun at work.


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