Elizabeth Daigneau is GOVERNING's managing editor.E-mail: email@example.com
Can't persuade the public to recycle, reduce their carbon footprints or exercise? Maybe the solution is showing them it's the fun thing to do.
Admittedly, this is a public relations initiative by Volkswagen, but the Web site, Thefuntheory.com, has a lot of potential ideas for state and local governments. The site is dedicated to the theory "that something as simple as fun is the easiest way to change people's behaviour for the better." To that end, Volkswagen is soliciting thoughts, ideas and inventions that prove the fun theory now through December 15, when the 10 best entries will be picked by a jury and go on to a final round. Want to encourage people to recycle? Need to solve a littering problem at a local park? Trying to reduce energy usage at a transit station, or fighting an obesity epidemic? Then, the bottle bank arcade machine, the world's deepest trash bin and the piano staircase, - all ideas posted on Thefuntheory.com - could be applicable to any state or locality. Indeed, states and localities have already shown in many ways that contests and other creative tactics work. D.C. went to the public asking for ideas on how to enhance services through cool computer applications. Northwest Ohio held a competition earlier this year to seek the best ideas on how to encourage local governments to increase collaboration, save money and enhance the economic competitiveness of the region. And Boston and several other communities have asked local artists to paint designs on electrical boxes and the like as a way to showcase their talents and ward off graffiti.