May 31, 2013

Letting People Know Where They Stand

I just learned that I am #8 in my neighborhood.  Now I want to know who is ahead of me.

What am I talking about you ask?  The energy consumption of me and my neighbors.

With my most recent electric bill came a one-page enclosure comparing my monthly usage with my most energy efficient neighbors, as well as 100 nearby homes of a size similar to mine.

Feedback.  By feeding back information previously unavailable, Indianapolis Power and Light Company is using social norms marketing (the power of peer pressure) to potentially change behavior.  Seems that no matter how old we get, we do still like to keep up with others around us.

Since I'm already in the Top 10% of energy efficiency, I probably won't make many major shifts in my energy consumption.  But if I was in the middle of the pack or dramatically trailing my neighbors, I know I would look to the helpful suggestions IPL included to see how I could improve.  And I'm not even a very competitive person.

Increasingly we have more activity feedback available to us.  Community websites let us know who the top contributors are based on the number of their comments.  Wear a Nike Fuel or a FitBit and you immediately have real-time feedback on your activity level throughout the day. We can set goals and monitor our progress, adjusting our choices and behavior to achieve our desired results.

So here's the question for you and your organization: 

What comparison information could you offer to your members or customers that might cause them to make desirable changes in their behavior?

Hint: 
Imagine an association that shares a member activity report comparing your program participation, resource utilization, and volunteer contributions with others.

 

3 comments:

MyFabMFamily said...

Challenge accepted ...

Shelly Alcorn, CAE said...

Jeffrey -

Thank you for this post. When we talk using gaming mechanics to improve learning or modify behavior people seem to be skeptical or diffident.

But this is a wonderful example of a gaming mechanism being used as a way to increase energy efficiency. Gaming doesn't have to be huge, complicated or limited to a certain time frame. It can be small, simple and embedded into daily life.

Expect to see more of these things in the future and hopefully from associations as well.

Jeffrey Cufaude said...

That's a great point about gaming mechanics. People make this into something far more obtuse or complicated than it needs to be. Maybe the simple questions to post/answer are:

1. What behaviors are we trying to shift/members trying to shift?
2. What feedback/info could we provide them regularly that would help that result be achieved?

A complementary question to pose to members would be "What information, if it was readily available to you, might cause you to _________? (specify the desired behavior shift)