Sure, we’re all motivated to play games, but how often do games truly motivate us to action? posted a quick article last week looking at the ways in which elements of gaming are being brought into other areas of life to change people’s behavior: motivation2jh1.jpg

  • Sending too much email? Why not give people a number of email tokens that can be attached to messages to increase their importance. But be careful! Use too many and your emails go to the bottom of the barrel. Seem hokey? Research at a test group within IBM showed that emails with 20+ tokens attached were 52% more likely to be read.
  • Not taking exercise as seriously as you should? Nike’s Nike Plus program attaches a pedometer to your shoes and rewards you with achievements (like music playing) when you hit certain milestones and allows you to compete with friends and strangers alike.
  • Wasting gas and killing the environment? The Toyota Prius shows your current gas mileage and then explains how wasteful or efficient you’re being.
  • Want to encourage people to get out of their comfort zone? Use Foursquare, a mobile social networking application that relays location of friends to one another, but assigns points based on how often they leave the home and how distant the locations are from their home.

The idea is nothing new (my personal favorite is Merlin Mann’s idea for meeting tokens) and its a powerful motivator (as evidenced by the glee with which my children now do their housework thanks to Chorewars) – what game-inspired motivators are you seeing?