#2 Behavior Change Games: Ten Frontiers for the Future of Engagement


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This is the second report from our upcoming People's Insights Annual Report titled “Now & Next: Future of Engagement”, also available as a Kindle eBook and soon as an interactive iPad app. The report will highlight the ten most important frontiers that will define the future of engagement for marketers, entrepreneurs and changemakers: Crowdfunding, Behavior Change Games, Collaborative Social Innovation, Grassroots Change Movements, Co-creation Communities, Social Curation, Transmedia Storytelling, Collective Intelligence, Social Live Experiences and Collaborative Consumption.

In each of these reports, we start by describing why they are important, how they work, and how brands might benefit from them; we then examine web platforms and brand programs that point to the future (that is already here); then finish by identifying some of the most important features of that future, with our recommendations on how to benefit from them.

Do subscribe to our email newsletter to receive an invite to download a free copy of the interactive iPad app.

Find out more: http://peopleslab.mslgroup.com/peoplesinsights/future-of-engagement/
Get the Kindle eBook: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00D8ZZMDY

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#2 Behavior Change Games: Ten Frontiers for the Future of Engagement

  1. 1. 2. BEHAVIORPeoples Insights Annual ReportNow & Next:Future of EngagementCHANGE GAMES
  2. 2. We are delighted to share that we will bepublishing the People’s Insights AnnualReport titled “Now & Next: Future ofEngagement” in January 2013 as an interactiveiPad app. The report will highlight the tenmost important frontiers that will definethe future of engagement for marketers,entrepreneurs and changemakers:Crowdfunding, Transmedia Storytelling,Social Curation, Behavior Change Games,Grassroots Change Movements, CollaborativeSocial Innovation, Crowdsourced ProductInnovation, Collective Intelligence, SocialRecommendation and Hybrid RealityExperiences.Throughout 2012, 100+ planners onMSLGROUP’s Insights Network have beentracking inspiring web platforms and brandprograms at the intersection of social data,citizenship, crowdsourcing and storytelling.Every week, we pick up one project andcurate the conversations around it — on theMSLGROUP Insights Network itself but alsoon the broader social web — into a weeklyinsights report. Every quarter, we compilethese insights, along with original researchand insights from the MSLGROUP globalnetwork, into the People’s Insights QuarterlyMagazine. Now, we have synthesized theinsights from our year-long endeavor in futurescanning as foresights into the future ofengagement.We believe, like William Gibson that, “thefuture is already here; it’s just not very evenlydistributed.” So, innovative web platformsin the areas of social data, citizenship,crowdsourcing and storytelling point towardsinteresting possibilities for brand programsthat leverage similar models to engagepeople. In turn, the web platforms and brandprograms of today give us clues to the futureof engagement tomorrow.In our reports on the ten frontiers that willdefine the future of engagement, we start bydescribing why they are important, how theywork, and how brands might benefit fromthem; we then examine web platforms andbrand programs that point to the future(that is already here); then finish by identifyingsome of the most important features of thatfuture, with our recommendations on how tobenefit from them.For the next ten weeks, we will publishthese reports one by one, then present themtogether, in context, as an interactive iPad app.Do subscribe to our email newsletter to receiveeach report and also an invite to download afree copy of the interactive iPad app.People’s Insights Annual Report
  3. 3. 3What are Behavior ChangeGames?Behavior Change Games use game designelements and the power of communities tomotivate people to achieve challenging tasksin the real world. Behavior change games havebeen used to enable people to lead a healthyand sustainable lifestyle, recover from illnessand injury, manage time and money, learnnew skills, and engage with political and socialcauses.The rise of behavior change games can betracked to three changes in how people playgames. First, social games on Facebook havewidened the appeal of games beyond the videogaming niche of kids and young adults. Forinstance, Zynga’s Farmville (video) had morethan 83 million monthly active users at its peak.Second, marketers, entrepreneurs and changemakers have adapted game design principlesin contexts other than entertainment, to designmarketing and loyalty programs, social networksand training software, and serious games forsocial impact. For instance, location-basedsocial network Foursquare (video), which usesgamification to make “checking-in” more fun,crossed 25 million users in September 2012.And, third, the explosion in personal, socialSource: nanpalmero on flickrand location data has led to the popularityof the quantified self movement, enablingpeople to track and change their behaviors. Forinstance, 10 million people use personal financemanagement service Mint.com (video) to trackover $80 billion in credit and debit transactionsand almost $1 trillion in loans and assets.Behavior change games use the power ofgames, networks and data to help peoplecreate meaningful change. In 2012, a numberof niche behavior change games emergedacross a diverse range of topics. Quentiq(video), FitBit (video), Nexercise (video), Healthrageous (video), Hotseat, Jawbone UP (video),Striiv (video) and Zamzee (video) help peopletrack their workouts and activity automatically.Fitocracy, Super Better (video), Habitual,SlimKicker, Hubbub (video), HealthMonth,Mindbloom (video), Healthy Heroes (video) andGoalpost help people become healthier anddevelop good habits. Practically Green, RecycleBank (video) and OPower (video) help peopleadopt a greener lifestyle and save electricity.Mint (video) and Pay off (video) help peoplemanage their finances and debt. Urgent Evoke(video) and World Without Oil (video) educatepeople about social issues and encouragethem to contribute to solutions. Code Academyand DuoLingo (video) help people master aprogramming language, or learn French. EpicWin (video) and The Email Game (video) helppeople increase their productivity and completetasks or clear their email inbox. Finally, Goodify(video), Keas (video), Shape Up and Youtopia(video) are focused on organizations andschools, and help them motivate employees andstudents to volunteer or get fit.Some of these behavior change games have alsocreated social impact at scale. Shape Up hashelped 700,000 people lose 1 million pounds,PayOff has helped members pay off $41 millionof debt, and OPower has helped people reduceenergy consumption by 1.6 billion kilowatt hoursand save $179 million on electricity bills.People use the powerof games, networks anddata to change theirbehavior
  4. 4. Source: latddotcom on flickrClick to watch: Jane McGonigal at TED 2010Source: hyerdashery on flickrThe success of behavior change games showsthat people can change deeply entrenchedbehaviors and form lasting good habits, if theyare able to break up big challenges into smallgoals, receive feedback on their progress, and tapinto their networks for support.This is not surprising. Game researcher JaneMc Gonigal, who is also the author of Reality isBroken: Why Games Make Us Better and HowThey Can Change the World explains why suchgames work:“Gamers spend on average 80% of their timefailing in game worlds, but instead of giving up,they stick with the difficult challenge and use thefeedback of the game to get better. With someeffort, we can learn to apply this resilience to thereal-world challenges we face.”How do Behavior Change Gameswork?Most behavior change games include four gamedesign mechanisms: setting goals and missions,tracking progress, receiving incentives, andreceiving support.The first step in most behavior change gamesinvolves setting a goal and missions, quests orchallenges to achieve the goal. Players havemissions assigned to them, choose from a setof pre-configured missions, or create their ownmissions. Missions range in difficulty, and newplayers are encouraged to start with easiermissions before proceeding to more difficultones. On Mint (video) and Payoff (video), typicalgoals include paying off a credit card debt orbuying a house, while on Fitocracy and SuperBetter (video) typical missions include eatinghealthier or working out.Most behavior change games track progressby asking players to complete virtual tasks(Urgent Evoke (video), World Without Oil(video), Code Academy and DuoLingo (video))or self-report on their progress (Recycle Bank(video), Fitocracy and Super Better (video)),while some automatically track data throughsensors and feeds (Quentiq (video), Nexercise(video), Zamzee (video), OPower (video), Mint(video) and Payoff (video)). Most games use
  5. 5. 5points, rankings, levels and leader boards to helpplayers measure their progress and comparetheir performance to friends, similar others, andother players. For instance, OPower comparesplayers’ energy consumption to that of theirneighbors and Mint compares peoples’ spendinghabits across categories such as coffee, phonebills and gas. These benchmarks help players re-evaluate their missions and encourage a healthysense of competition, both to beat their own bestperformance and that of their friends.Players receive incentives when they accomplishtasks such as completing their profile, invitingfriends, sharing their progress, or achieving amilestone. Incentives range from rewards likepoints, virtual goods and unlocked content;recognition through badges, levels, titles andspecial privileges; and in some cases real-lifeprizes including cash prizes (Payoff.com) andholidays packages (Recycle Bank). Incentivesare effective in attracting first-time players,helping them get started and creating fun andexcitement. After they are hooked and begin tosuccessfully complete missions, players receivethe ultimate incentive to keep playing – theysee a change in their behavior and experience asense of pride and self-empowerment.Most behavior games are intrinsically socialin nature. They encourage players to sharetheir performance with their social networksand connect them to other people who havestruggled with or overcome similar challenges.These communities of friends and like-mindedstrangers offer players support, encouragement,advice and, when needed, a good dose of peerpressure. In some games, friends have specificroles to play; for instance, in Super Better, playersinvite allies to create special missions for them,while in Urgent Evoke, players give power votesand act as mentors for others.Behavior change games work best when theyare designed with wonder, playfulness andstorytelling at their core. In spite of the hypearound gamification and the success of whitelabel gamification solutions like Badgeville(video), Bunchball (video), and BigDoor, it’s notenough to just add community or game elementsto boring tasks.Game researcher Nicole Lazzaro explainswhy we play games:“Wonder, one of the strongest emotions of gamedesign, rivets player attention and unleashespowerful neurochemicals that facilitate learning.At the heart of every intellectual pursuit, at theroot of nearly all engagement, wonder keepsplayers coming back.”Game researcher Raph Koster argues in his bookTheory of Fun for Game Design that games andstories have a complimentary role:“Games tend to be experiential teaching;stories teach vicariously. Games are good atobjectification; stories are good at empathy.Games tend to quantize, reduce, and classify;stories tend to blur, deepen, and make subtledistinctions. Games are external – they areabout people’s actions; stories are internal –they are about people’s emotions and thoughts.”Behavior Change Games for BrandsBrands are beginning to create their own behaviorchange games, as marketing campaigns, smartphone or social apps and even sensor-enabledproducts, to help people change their behavior inan area that is aligned with the brand purpose.Several brands are adding game elementsor even creating social games to deepenengagement with their grassroots changemovement campaigns. These are typically shortterm contests, tied to marketing campaigns orimportant events, with prizes for participation.For example, MTV created the MTV FantasyElection (video) to educate and engage youngvoters around the 2012 U.S. elections. Playerscreated teams of politicians and gained or lostpoints based on their team’s performance onfive criteria — civility, transparency, honesty,engagement and public opinion — calculated byusing data from social networks and non-partisancivil society organizations.Other brands are creating smart phone or socialnetwork applications that enable consumersto sign up for challenges, self-report on theirprogress, and get the support of their friends tostay fit. For example, GE has created a series ofsocial apps including HealthyShare (video) andFitFriendzy (video) as part of its Healthy magination(video) initiative to help players stay fit.Finally, sports and fitness brands are creatingsensor-enabled products and creating gamesand communities around them to enable peopleto automatically track their personal data anduse it to change their behaviors. Nike with Nike+has been an early leader in creating a behaviorchange game ecosystem, including the Nike+community, Nike+ iPhone and Android apps(video) and several Nike+ products including theNike FuelBand (video). Since 2006, Nike has
  6. 6. motivated its community of 7 million people toachieve 13 million daily fitness goals, run 733million miles, and burn 27 billion calories. Now,Adidas is trying to replicate its success withmiCoach (video).Behavior Change Games casestudiesThroughout the year, we have tracked theconversations around a number of behaviorchange platforms and branded behavior changeprograms in our weekly insights reports andquarterly magazines; here are a few highlights.Web platform: SuperBetterRead the full case study on our blog or onSlideshareSource: superbetter.comSource: fantasyelection.mtv.comLaunched in 2012, Super Better is a super-herothemed online game that helps people improvetheir resilience, meet their health goals, recoverfrom illness or injury, and have fun along the way.The game packages everyday occurrences intoelements of a super-hero story and offers anew perspective to solving daily challenges. Forinstance, obstacles are ‘bad guys’ or ‘villains’ thatneed to be defeated in order to win. As one playercommented:“The very idea has changed the way I approachwork – as a challenge to defeat and earn myreward (pride).”As part of the story, players choose personasfor themselves. Personas can be based on realor fictional heroes and help motivate playersto achieve goals they previously consideredimpossible. As SuperBetter player CourtneySloan commented:“The gaming aspect allowed me to step awayfrom myself and do things not because I wantedto, but because my hero self would not take no foran answer. She had the willpower, so would I.”To educate and engage 18-29 year olds aroundthe 2012 U.S. elections, MTV launched FantasyElection – a game in which players create teamsof politicians and gain or lose points based onthe politicians’ real-life behavior. For instance,politicians received points for engaging withtheir constituency on social networks or in a townhall, and lost points for inaccurate statementsand uncivil advertising. Players who selectedSuperBetter relies on the power of its communityto help motivate people. Players are encouragedto invite family and friends, or other membersof the SuperBetter community, to become their“allies.” Allies keep players motivated with wordsof encouragement and by creating new quests forthem. Alex Goldman reflected:“I suppose this is a bit of a no-brainer, but I wasshocked at how motivating it was to have otherpeople designing quests for me. The questsI created for myself seemed so pedestrian bycomparison."As success stories begin to emerge, acupuncturestudent Jason Lay commented:“I see healthcare professionals of differentstrokes being very interested in SuperBetter.The potential for hands-off delivery and trainingof health-promoting habits and attitudes istremendous using this gaming model.”SuperBetter has over 100,000 members andpeople have used the game to meet healthchallenges ranging from sleeping disorders,obesity and self-confidence issues, and evento meet ‘life challenges’ such as completing anovel.Branded program: MTV Fantasy ElectionRead the full case study on our blog or onSlideshare
  7. 7. 7“good” politicians scored more points, climbedthe leader board and increased their chances ofwinning prizes.TIME journalist Keith Wagstaff noted:“The idea is that while Millennials might notventure to a host of dry political sites to keep trackof which politicians are disclosing funding sourcesand making false claims, they might pay attentionif their Fantasy Election team loses points —especially if those points can lead to prizes like atrip for four to the Video Music Awards.”MTV offered a total of 3,022 prizes ranging from$5 gift cards to an all expense paid trip for four tothe 2013 MTV Video Music Awards to keep peopleengaged during the two month campaign.The game also gives political issues a muchneeded layer of fun. As blogger Gary Henklenoted:“Fantasy Election ‘12 can definitely be used asa tool by student activists to bring theirdisengaged friends on board. For any friend whosays “I want to be more involved, but I don’t knowhow this works,” this game makes discovery of thepolitical process more fun than a didactic civicslesson, and as mentioned brings awareness inless time.”MTV Fantasy Election replaces MTV’s 20-year “Choose or Lose” election slogan with acampaign more suited for today’s youth. As KeithWagstaff said:“The days of simply prompting young peopleto vote from a rock concert are over; twenty-somethings expect everything to be online — andthat includes political engagement.”Branded product Nike FuelBandRead the full case study on our blog or onSlideshareSource: nike.comIn 2012, Nike introduced the Nike Fuel Band – awearable product that measures people’s dailyactivities and work outs in a virtual metric calledNikeFuel. People can view their performancedata on their smart phones or the Nike+ websiteand can compare results and NikeFuel earnedwith friends and members of the 7 million strongNike+ community.Nike targets the “everyday athlete” with theFuelBand. As journalist Jessica Stanley observed:“Just Do It’ is one of the best positioningstatements in the world, but customers started tochange. Don’t just say it, help us.”The FuelBand does this by re-positioningeveryday activities and chores as a sport,measuring people’s daily activities and rewardingthem for doing more. The concept of instantfeedback immediately appealed to self-trackers,like Jenna Wortham, who commented:“From the moment I wrapped the band aroundmy wrist, I was enamored with the idea of adevice that could help me collect data about myhabits and behavior, so that I could try to improvethem.”Ever present on the wrists of the owner, theFuelBand displays the amount of NikeFuelearned for the day, and motivates people to meettheir daily goal.MSLGROUP’s Gaurav Mishra talks about how theNikeFuel band has helped him become moreactive:“I am a big believer in breaking down a largechallenge into small challenges and tickingthem off in public. I remember that the year Ifirst bought a Nike+ shoe was the year I ran mostregularly. The instant feedback and the sense ofprogress were almost addictive. Then, I lost thesensor, and lost my stride. I bought a NikeFuelband a few weeks back and I have seen my activitylevels go up significantly since then. Instead oftaking a taxi, I walk 3+ km to work, both ways,and I am planning to buy a bike for the weekends.I even created a goal on Nike Plus to finish 2012active.”Another FuelBand user Alyson Shontell wrote:“The mix of guilt and competition theFuelBand makes you feel pushes you to makehealthier decisions.”The Nike FuelBand is the latest addition to Nike’ssuite of fitness tracking products, all of which
  8. 8. incorporate some elements of games, networksand data to help people achieve their fitnessgoals.The Future of Behavior ChangeGamesWe believe that we are only beginning tounderstand the potential of behavior changegames to create meaningful change forindividuals, communities and the world, andalso their many risks. In the future, behaviorchange games that tap into the power of games,networks and data will become pervasiveacross business, civil society and governmentorganizations and permeate all aspects ofsociety.Game designer Jesse Schell, who is the authorof the classic The Art of Game Design: A Book ofLenses, predicts in his visions of game pocalypsetalk:“Games and real life are reaching out to eachother with such force that we might come toa condition of “gamepocalypse—-where everysecond of your life you’re playing a game insome way.”Click to watch: Jesse Schell’s Visions of Gamepocalypse talkat The Long Now FoundationClick to watch: Zappos + SuperBetterWe expect the gamification enterprise solutionsecosystem to mature, and new startups tofocus on niches like governance and publicservices, health and wellness, environment andsustainability, and education and learning. Forinstance, UBoost offers gamification solutionstailored for education and health.We expect behavior change games to alsobecome more focused on specific demographics,diseases or habits, to create customizedexperiences and close-knit communities. Forinstance, Goalpost has created a 12-week gameto help people quit smoking and Zamzee (video)focuses on helping teens become more active.Specifically, we expect healthcare and insurancecompanies to work with governments to explorebehavior change games as cost-effective ways tomanage, treat and prevent long-term illness suchas diabetes, obesity and cardiovascular disease.As Dustin DiTommaso, VP of Experience Designat Mad*Pow, said:“Each year, billions of dollars are spent to moveour behaviors in a healthier direction to avertcrisis such as obesity, diabetes, cardiovasculardisease and other costly and painful afflictions.Leveraging the motivational dynamics of gameplay to energize and sustain people throughbehavior change is a challenging yet profoundsolution.”We expect to see a new generation of innovativesensor-based gadgets designed to track data andtrigger behavior change in niche areas. Productslike the Withings blood pressure monitor, FitBitAria Wi-Fi scale (video), MyZeo sleep manager(video) and Changers solar charger (video) areearly examples of this trend.We expect brands to create their own behaviorchange game ecosystems, like Nike did with NikePlus, or acquire innovative startups that integratethe power of game, network and data, like Intuitdid with Mint (video). Other brands will sponsorthird party behavior change games and makethem available for employees and associates likeAetna did with Mindbloom Life Game (video).We also expect more brands to partner withgames to create dedicated versions for theiremployees, like Zappos did with SuperBetter.Zappos was a development partner withof SuperBetter from the games inception,and Zappos employees were the first to useSuperBetter to achieve their health goals.Finally, we expect more start ups like Goodify(video), Keas (video), Shape Up and Youtopia(video) to offer solutions for companies to inspireemployees and engage them around health andwellness, and social service, and we expect thesestartups to specialize around narrow niches.
  9. 9. 9Learn more about us at:peopleslab.mslgroup.com | twitter.com/peopleslabPeople’s Lab is MSLGROUP’s proprietarycrowdsourcing platform and approach thathelps organizations tap into people’s insights forinnovation, storytelling and change.The People’s Lab crowdsourcing platformhelps organizations build and nurture publicor private, web or mobile, hosted or whitelabel communities around four pre-configuredapplication areas: Expertise Request Network,Innovation Challenge Network, Research &Insights Network and Contest & ActivationNetwork. Our community and gaming featuresencourage people to share rich content, vote/comment on other people’s content andcollaborate to find innovative solutions.The People’s Lab crowdsourcing platformand approach forms the core of our distinctiveinsights and foresight approach, which consistsof four elements: organic conversation analysis,MSLGROUP’s own insight communities, client-specific insights communities, and ethnographicdeep dives into these communities. The People’sInsights Quarterly Magazines showcase ourcapability in crowdsourcing and analyzinginsights from conversations and communities.People’s Lab:CrowdsourcingInnovation & Insights
  10. 10. Write to us to start a conversation on the future of engagement.:Pascal Beucler,SVP & Chief Strategy Officer(pascal.beucler@mslgroup.com)Janelle Dixon,North America Head of Insights(janelle.dixon@mslgroup.com)Dominic Payling,Europe Head of Insights(dominic.payling@mslgroup.com)Gaurav Mishra,Asia Head of Insights(gaurav.mishra@mslgroup.com)mslgroup.com | twitter.com/msl_groupMSLGROUP is Publicis Groupes strategiccommunications and engagement group,advisors in all aspects of communicationstrategy: from consumer PR to financialcommunications, from public affairs toreputation management and from crisiscommunications to event management.With more than 3,700 people, its offices span22 countries. Adding affiliates and partnersinto the equation, MSLGROUPs reachincreases to 4,000 employees in 83 countries.Today the largest PR and Engagementnetwork in Europe, Greater China and India, thegroup offers strategic planning and counsel,insight-guided thinking and big, compellingideas – followed by thorough execution.