My good friend Mark Lonsdale alerted me to this article on the social media website “Mashable”. Ostensibly, the article’s about “viral video” or product placement. It recognises Volkswagen’s ingenuity in sponsoring a series of videos described as promoting “Fun Theory”. The product placement (a subtle “VW” logo at the end of the video) is not what interested me most though. It was the concept of “Fun Theory”.
When working with groups to develop actions plans to, I task them to come up with off-the-wall ideas to stimulate lateral thinking and creativity. These videos demonstrate that people can be encouraged to change their behaviour positively if you make it fun. So changing a staircase into a functioning piano keyboard makes climbing the stairs a more attractive option than using the escalator – a great idea contributing towards a health outcome. There’s also a second video showing how adding a fun sound effect to a waste paper bin in a park can encourage people to use it, contributing to an environmental outcome. Both show how lateral thinking and off the wall ideas can make a difference. Small initiatives like this won’t in themselves change the world of course, but hundreds of similar ideas will collectively contribute towards improved well being and who knows? Maybe change the habits of a lifetime. Check out the videos here on You Tube. (While you’re there, check out the “Fast Lane” videos by the same producers. The skate-board supermarket trolleys are outrageous!)