Thursday, March 27, 2014

Dance walking exercise program gamification

I am trying to find the best way to model this in a gamification framework.  There is definitely a wide set of motivations, intrinsic and extrinsic:
  • social in-group: joining in with the group makes you feel part of a desirable social group.
  • fun: at least it looks like it
  • self-expression: each person danced differently.  
  • autonomy: there were no rules about the way you participated.  You could even just walk
  • real meaning: exercise is intrinsically good for you
  • disruption:  it is a little edgy and makes the people around think your crazy.  But it doesn't harm anyone, so it is white hat disruption.
What elements are needed to make it work?
  • You need to have a meeting starting time and place.  This is only needed for the in-group motivation, but I suspect this is critical just because not enough people have the disruption motivation to go alone.  
  • You need to have music.  How can you get each person equipped with the same song?  Or is that even necessary?  They are not dancing in coordination, so they could all have their own.  They don't even really need to have a player.  One person could have a speaker to help out anyone who doesn't have a player.  Or people could dance to the music in their head. But then there is less of an in-group motivation.
  • You need a route.  Some people might be afraid of getting lost if they need to break off early.  So it should be a preset distance that is reasonable for everyone.  Or perhaps a short route that continues into a long route.

  • Meeting start place.  A central location, with easy access to public transportation and parking.  Or a university if you are targeting students.  Or a workplace if this is a lunchtime employee bonding system.  
  • Each group has different implications for time. The work group should be lunchtime or closing time.  The student group would be a common time for classes to end.  For a public group, perhaps a weekend at noon.
  • Music.  I think the best mechanic would be to have one playlist pre-announced so that it would be available for people who want the strongest social-connectedness.  Common enough songs that people would have them available for streaming or preloaded.  And common enough that enough people would like them.  And of course, danceable.  But it must also be clear that it is not a requirement (that playlist or having a song at all).
  • Route: You'd want to find a pleasant route.  But unlike jogging trails, traffic lights wouldn't be a problem.  Dancing in place could add extra moves like circles (see dynamics).  I'm not sure what distances I would recommend - perhaps have that determined by the members.
  • The route and music should change regularly. I'd think crowdvoting for the songs and crowdsourcing for the route.  The more group participation the more perception of autonomy.
  • There are advantages and disadvantages of changing the starting time and place.  It would be harder to remember.  It could include more people.  But some people who can make one place (or time) would drop out for other places (or times).  Again, crowdsourcing might be the best solution.  
  • Keeping it intrinsic would mean focusing on the deeper meaning and social aspects.  No prizes or tangible rewards.  But some recognition rewards could be motivating for people who need something.  They should be something many people can get (so no winners for most miles or most appearances).  Maybe a badge for three in a row or five in a month.  Or for help coordinating the playlists and crowdsourcing resolution.