Piano Stairs Fun
It’s Monday morning, you just got off the subway and taking the stairs seems like a chore. You promised yourself last January that you would try to walk more instead of using the escalator. The doctor said that exercise would help your failing heart, but you just feel so tired and aren’t in the mood to bother with it.
And then you see the stairs. They are colored black and white like a giant, leaning piano. Your curiosity gets the best of you. You tentatively take the first step and are rewarded with a musical note.
Suddenly, taking the stairs doesn’t seem so bad.
The above story might seem fantastical, yet that is exactly what happened to countless individuals in Odenplan, Stockholm. In an effort to get people to take the stairs, a group called “The Fun Theory” converted a subway station staircase into a giant piano and installed a video camera to capture peoples’ reactions.
The results were astounding.
The piano stairs inspired a playful spirit to bubble inside the subway station. The elderly climbed the stairs with a light step. A parent helped their tiny tot up with patience and laughter. A teenager in black clothing, alone, made his own song by jumping back and forth from the ground to the first few steps. On average, sixty-six percent more people took the stairs than the escalator.
That’s innovation, at its core.
Not many people take the stairs if they can help it, especially those of us who need to the most. Many people can’t seem to overcome obesity because it’s cyclical in nature. Many times, we are exhausted after a long day at work, so we relax in front of the television. Watching television generates an urge to snack, even when we aren’t hungry. Ultimately, getting into the mindset of a healthy person is difficult when we are weighed down by other concerns and problems.
The Fun Theory saw this problem and turned it into a prospect for change. They operate under the simple concept that Mary Poppins taught us: “a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down” or using enjoyment as a means to problem solve. If it’s fun, we’re much more likely to do something than it if it is boring or seen as a chore.
The Trash-Bin Solution
Another one of The Fun Theory’s videos takes on littering with an idea called “The World’s Deepest Bin.” Their rationale is that throwing trash away in the trashcan isn’t difficult; it’s just that people don’t think about such things on a regular basis. They set about to change that mindset by building a trashcan, or bin, with sound effects. When someone throws trash away, a sensor installed in the trashcan creates a “falling” sound for about seven seconds, followed by a loud thud.
The reaction to this Fun Theory project had much of the same reactions as the piano stairs. Children and adults alike ran to find trash and throw it in the trash bin. And the result? In one day, forty-one more kg of trash was thrown into that particular trash bin than others nearby.
The Fun Theory
At the end of every Fun Theory video, these words appear: “Fun can obviously change behavior for the better. We call it The Fun Theory.”
Changing problems into opportunities is the best way to solve them because it changes the way people look at their problems. Whether it’s something as small as taking the stairs or throwing trash away, or even if it’s as large as helping buyers on a mortgage not go into foreclosure, ATS Secured believes in changing the way we look at problems. Who knows, it just might lead to something fun.
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