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Penny Walker

Hi Chris

Mmm, I've seen this before. There's also one featuring the world's deepest rubbish bin.

What's really striking is that the motivation which got people to change their own behaviour (curiosity, fun, adventure, desire to hear music) is completely different to the motivation of a public health practitioner who wants to get people to walk up stairs more often (for the fitness benefits) or for the environmentalist who might want people to walk rather than ride the escalator (for energy-saving benefits).

In the field I work in (environmental improvement etc), people often make the mistake of assuming that to get someone to change to a "pro-environmental" behaviour, they need to first ensure that people are motivated by environmental values.

I think that's a very limiting assumption!



Chris Rodgers

Thanks, Penny.

I fully agree with your central point, which I feel is relevant to change 'in the round'. Your comment that there were probably a range of motivations that led to the changed behaviour is also important. Those who conducted the experiment seem to have assumed that 'having fun' was the critical factor. And, for some, it might well have been. For others, though, it might simply have been a case of following the crowd or 'going with the flow'. Finding 'themes' that resonate with people's own motivations seems to me to be the key challenge.

As a strategy for change, I guess that the initiative might have 'loosened the stays', so to speak, and interrupted the established pattern; but sustaining the change in behaviour when the novelty wore off might prove more of a challenge.

An interesting experiment, though!

Cheers, Chris

Tom Gibbons

Well, there may very well be lots of reasons why people used these stairs but I like the idea of fun being the most important.

Now if we could only inject some of this type of fun into the learning done in organizations we might find its uptake is far greater! I don't think they teach this in instructional design school however... :)

Chris Rodgers

Hi Tom,

I'm sure you're right about multiple motivations. I guess that many who climbed the stairs did so without thinking - they were simply following the crowd. It's also likely that the novelty would wear off very quickly!

Still, it is interesting to see how a little bit of lateral thinking can 'shift the pattern' - even if only temporarily.

Cheers, Chris

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