In 2013 Cool Choices implemented employee engagement games in a diverse set of workplaces engaging factory workers, lawyers, fire fighters, office personnel and community educators. One result is a rich set of data that enables us to look at participant attitudes (before and after the game) alongside their actions in the game.
Late last year we asked the Energy Center of Wisconsin to compare pre-game survey data and game actions—to determine which baseline questions might predict player activity in the game. The preliminary findings reinforced some of what we hear anecdotally from players and also affirmed for us the power of games.
Across the 2013 games, the Energy Center found that individuals who agreed with the statement “My household has already done its part to reduce resource usage” reported adopting more new practices during the game than their peers. The Center saw a similar pattern on questions asking people to compare their energy and water usage to their peers (those who reported already using less did more new sustainable actions in the game).
This finding is consistent with comments we hear from players at the end of each game:
The finding reinforces a point we make every time we launch a game: everyone—even the people who are sure they’re already doing all that they can—can join the game and further reduce their emissions.
Games are powerful. By creating a forum where people share and celebrate their sustainable practices, Cool Choices eliminates multiple barriers to taking action. And one big barrier is complacency: it is easy to think that we’ve already done our part. But the game highlights the actions everyone is taking and—by making sustainability more public and more celebrated—nudges each of us to step up.
We are glad to know that the participants who come into the game already practicing some good habits leave the game with additional sustainable practices. After all, this is a journey and all of us have opportunities to reduce our impacts further.
By Kathy Kuntz, Executive Director