Verifying the application of online gamification methods to introduce pro-environmental behavior
The goal of this thesis is to validate whether online gamification methods can be used to introduce pro-environmental lifestyle. Human activities have since the Industrial Revolution had an increasingly destructive impact on the biosphere, which has started to endanger the environment and our existence as a species. Awareness of the situation is increasing, but real actions to combat the problem are not, as environmental activists lack the knowledge and tools to drive the necessary individual behavioral change. At the same time, the emergence of the internet has created a mass medium which has proven to be very effective in altering individuals’ habits. One of the newest and most potent methodologies to spark behavioral change is gamification, which implies using game design elements in non-gaming context. Due to a vast gap between the academic and commercial practitioners’ world, little research has been so far done regarding gamification, and the results of these studies have not been implemented to create effective products. This research tried to bridge this gap and validate the use of gamification to drive proenvironmental behavior change, by deploying an experimental prototype which was developed based on Eric Ries’ Lean Startup ideology and Yu-kai Chou’s Octalysis gamification framework. In addition, a pretest-posttest survey was conducted to investigate the impact of using the prototype. The minimal prototype proved to be effective in acquiring and engaging new members by growing its user base 8.5 fold. More than one fourth of registered members became engaged users and continued to use the gamified product throughout the experiment. The pretestposttest survey results indicated that engaging with the prototype did in fact change the users’ behaviors towards a more sustainable lifestyle, moderate pro-environmental increases were detected in both respondents’ attitudes and concrete undertaken everyday activities.