Wellness participation – game it!

Have you read NUDGE by Richard Thaler and Robert Bair? Its examples showed how games or design can be used to affect behavior change. In a nutshell, the authors argued that the vast majority of people choose the default option 9/10 times – making the “passive choice” design super important.

When it comes to physical activity participation, a lot of us need more than a “nudge’ to choose to be active on a regular basis.  What if the default choice was made to be more game-like and fun?  Imagine the wellness seeker trying out an age or condition-appropriate program for the first time.  They are greeted by a trained staff member who shows them how to sign up and register at a specially designed kiosk.  The default action in learning to use the kiosk could be a behavior as simple as a bright arrow and an icon of a gold coin.  What’s the default action? Click the coin – that simple!
When you do, you are offered currency in exchange for inviting your friends to the game. What’s the game? Visiting the wellness center and registering for a class.
Although the kiosk wouldn’t explicitly force you to invite friends, it places that action right in your line of sight. If you simply continue to take the next default action (particularly after having been trained to pick up hovering offers over time) you will invite friends. In an HCD Wellness community site we can choose anything for that offer box – but by choosing virality, and making it the default, we maximize the social networking piece that is so important when the least active begin a wellness participation program.
Obviously, this has huge implications for participation. A virtual coin is a very cost effective incentive. Having a friend involved in a physical activity program with us is priceless.  Surprising a new visitor to a community of wellness with a way to gain virtual cash, be on a social leader-board and to earn other ranks of status that are meaningful – beyond actual “fitness’ competitions can do a lot for long term participation.
For more information on this process, contact us by e-mail. we look forward to your comments and questions.
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