The Fun Theory

The Fun Theory: Fun is the easiest way of changing people’s behavior for the better.

Tell me more: The Fun Theory was an initiative of Volkswagen in 2009-2010 that was meant to acknowledge the thoughts, ideas and inventions that “proved” fun is the easiest way of changing behavior for the better.  The piano stairs, above, illustrate the idea that humans prefer to do fun things – especially when those same things are ordinarily dreary.

Classroom applications: As designers, we appreciate that The Fun Theory asks us to change behavior in ways that feel natural to humans. In schools, we struggle with all kinds of problems that might be resolved by applying The Fun Theory. Might our students come to school on time if doing so was fun? Fun isn’t obscene!

  • Identify a school or community problem and invite students to design a solution that addresses the problem by making the solution fun.
  • Identify a personal problem of practice, and consider the ways that the problem might be addressed with a dose of fun.
  • Review the finalists for the Fun Theory Award contest, and consider what motivates people to behave as they do. Are all of the solutions fun for everyone? What makes something fun, anyway?

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