Will Gamification work for your Project? – Reduce your Juice Revisited

Last year I wrote about the City Smart ‘Reduce you Juice’ gamification initiative that was targeting low-income, adult renters to help them reduce their energy usage. At that point they were still in the process of recruiting 1000 participants. Now the trial has ended and it has produced some very impressive results.

The core of the program was series of mobile app games. They virtually engaged players in key areas where they could ‘reduce their juice’. The mini-games, ‘Power Raid,’ ‘Temperature Defender’ and ‘Fully Loaded’ helped players learn about

  1. turning off lights and appliances
  2. heating and cooling
  3. washing and drying efficiently at home.

Participants played each game consecutively for a fortnight, focussing their efforts on one area of energy efficiency at a time. Supporting the mini-games was a Facebook community, with a program of activities and messages to help participants learn how to reduce their electricity bills.

City Smart is yet to publish the final results, but the interim results are pretty impressive! Of the 1000 player recruits 600 finished the program, and they played 5 times more than they had too. Participants reported saving $58 on average off their next power bill.

Players reported they felt more confident and in control of their power usage and had higher motivation to practice energy efficient behaviours. It also reduced their concern about higher energy bills.

Why did it work?

  • It wasn’t just about engaging people, but about changing behaviour, so the games were designed to teach people positive actions and show them the gamified result with the aim of then replicating the real life behaviour
  • It was super targeted – the target age group, living situation, household income and number of participants were all really locked down
  • It tapped an under-targeted market (renters) into something that was beneficial for them (controlling their power bill)
  • It was incentivised, but not in a big way (incentives were randomly allocated, so you didn’t play knowing you were getting a big prize).

When could gamification work for you?

  • If you have a behaviour change program and it is relevant to the under 40s, you may be able to gamify it in a positive and meaningful way
  • Think about incentives, but you don’t need to go all out for every player
  • You’ll need a clear recruitment strategy.

For more information, and to register to receive the final results on the ‘reduce your juice’ gamification initiative, visit these links.