Applied Behavior Science for Health and Happiness
Case Study: Making Social Change Fun
Case Study: Making Social Change Fun

Case Study: Making Social Change Fun

nullWhile I was on vacation recently, I set a post to publish about infusing fun into social good to make people more likely to participate. Whether it was my being more aware of examples having recently written about the idea, or a growing use of gamification to prompt prosocial behavior, I was delighted to see another fun example of how game elements can help people help others:

The Charity Arcade.
The Charity Arcade.

This arcade game in the Arlanda airport in Stockholm provides a way for people to have fun with their leftover currency when leaving Sweden. You use your coins to activate a Ms. Pac-Man game (Shout out to the Swedes for opting for the feminine version of the game!) and then any money you put into the machine is donated to charity.

Ms. Pac-Man transcends language barriers.
Ms. Pac-Man transcends language barriers.

Better yet, the machine works not just with Swedish kronor but with currency from everywhere in the world:

Roughly translated: "Have fun and help. Works with all the world's money."
Roughly translated: “Have fun and help. Works with all the world’s money.”

The only thing missing, in my opinion, is a call-out that socially conscious travelers in a hurry aren’t required to actually play the game if they drop in money.

I loved this creative solution to the problem of people taking home currency they can’t use and essentially removing it from circulation. If you have only a small amount of money left from your trip, you may not be permitted to exchange it back to your home currency at a traveler’s desk, but you can easily donate it to a cause in many airports (or on some flights, depending on the airline). Consider this donation box in Heathrow:

Give your leftover currency to help others.
Give your leftover currency to help others.

Sure, it’s eye-catching and communicates the value of donating your leftover money, but will small children be begging their parents to put their no-longer-needed crowns in this box or the Ms. Pac-Man one?

I’d love to see how much money a machine like the one in Arlanda collects compared to a typical airport donation box (statistically corrected for passenger volume, of course).