Can gamification be used to encourage positive behavior?


The definition of gamification is the process of adding games or game like elements to something to encourage participation1.

In today’s world organizations and companies are using gamification to improve user engagement, organizational productivity, learning, and physical exercise. You can even use gamification to help you cook pasta!

Gamification can make seemingly mundane activities enjoyable. A collection of research shows that gamification has a positive effect on the majority of individual’s behavior and can lead to lasting behavioral change2

Gamification is meant to leverage people’s natural desire for socializing, learning, competition, and achievement. Gamification strategies usually use conditional rewards (like points or rewards) for players who accomplish certain tasks. Furthermore, making the accomplished rewards visible to other players encourages players to compete and engage with others.

Popular examples of gamification

Fitbit Gamification
Fitbit App Dashboard
The Fitbit app is a great example. Fitbit is a step tracker that links to a smartphone app. With the app the Fitbit tracks your steps along with other things like your heart rate and sleep. There are other aspects that encourage positive behavioural change, like competitions between friends or earning badges when you complete activities. These tracking and social features are great for people who are trying to develop a healthy lifestyle.

Another example is the Starbucks app, which uses “commercial gamification” to promote the purchase of their goods/services through games. With the Starbucks app you can place orders, pay for items, and earn points that earn you free food/beverages. Starbucks has a tiered rewards program as well as competitions that encourage people to stay engaged in the app. We just wish they offered bonus points to people who bring in reusable cups!

How is Cupanion using gamification to change behaviour?

Cupanion Rewards Gamification
Cupanion Rewards Home Screen

At Cupanion, our mission is to inspire the world to reuse. We spend a lot of time thinking about the environmental and cost saving benefits of reuse. This seemingly mundane activity can lead to big change for the environment. That is why we developed our Cupanion Rewards program. Cupanion Rewards is an app based program that allows people to track their reuse and earn rewards.

Currently, the app operates at college and universities, corporate offices, and events/conferences. Students, employees, and attendees can use the app to track their reuse and earn points that are redeemable for rewards. Within the app, point thresholds are set for rewards which encourages people to reach those goals and change their behaviour. People also have the ability to set reminders to get them in the habit of bringing a reusable with them.

We want to inspire YOU to reuse

We love inspiring those groups of people to reuse with Cupanion Rewards. However, our overall mission is to inspire the WORLD to reuse! Our goal is to encourage individuals to think about reuse on a day-to-day basis. That’s why we’re asking our Cupanion users, followers, and lovers: What gamification/rewards would inspire you to reuse daily? It could be anything! A tangible reward, a badge, or a charitable donation.

We want to hear from you! Leave your ideas below or email us.

You can check out the Cupanion Rewards app below:

Google Play
App Store

2 Hamari, Juho; Koivisto, Jonna; Sarsa, Harri (2014). “Does Gamification Work? – A Literature Review of Empirical Studies on Gamification”. Proceedings of the 47th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Hawaii, USA, January 6–9: 3025. doi:10.1109/HICSS.2014.377. ISBN 978-1-4799-2504-9.

One Response to "Can gamification be used to encourage positive behavior?"
  1. What gamification/rewards would inspire you to reuse daily: tangible reward. Things like reusable shopping bags, compost bin for sink, seeds for home gardening, etc. I used an app called joulebug that had a similar theme to your app. It gave out badges, I found after a while of using it I kept putting in the same activities so I got bored with it. I’d be interested in checking out your app and see how it might be different.


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