The fun theory of life

As a dad, I have learned that the only (or at least best) way to get my children to do anything at all–to brush their teeth, eat their greens, jump into bed–is to turn the loathsome activity in question into … fun.

Perhaps the greens must become attacking naughties with shrill voices that want to fly into the mouth but keep missing and splattering. Suddenly, the little mouths are wide open, practically lunging for those mischievous little greens.

And as a former and frequently relapsing kid myself, I have learned that the only (or at least the best) way to get myself into a creative and productive mode is also to turn the loathsome activity in question (setting up interviews, doing research….) into … fun.

So I am delighted to see, and fully endorse, this research project that tries to elevate fun to a design principle. It appears to be a Volkswagen-funded undertaking in Sweden

dedicated to the idea that something as simple as happiness is the absolute easiest way to get people to change.

Video 1: How to get people to use the stairs

Video 2: How to get people to throw their trash into the bin

Thought experiment: Extensions

So now I am thinking: What else could be made fun with proper, more humane design?

  • doing taxes?
  • doing jury duty?
  • going to the doctor?
  • being at the airport?
  • Recycling?
  • Conserving (water, energy …)?

I refuse to exclude anything. It’s all a matter of how much one is willing to imagine. My kids are teaching me to raise the bar.

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