Monday, March 23, 2015

Dancing up the stairs

Can the words fun, interactive, health, music and climbing stairs ever be used together? Well in Stockholm Sweden it is reality. The stairs leading out of the Odenplan subway in Stockholm were overnight transformed into a giant functioning piano keyboard under the premise that applying pressure on each step would play a musical note. Having filmed the behaviors of commuters previously, it had been noted that people preferred to use the adjacent escalator next to the stairs rather then the stairs. In an attempt to bring fun into getting healthy and exercising, Volkswagen sponsored this initiative and the next morning, the results were unassailable. More people opted for the black and white stairs to make music while climbing up previously strenuous and snubbed stairs. Commuters found the concept intriguing, fun, exciting, different and worth their effort and hence took the challenge of the stairs rather than the escalators. In total 66% more people than normal chose the musical stairs over the escalator.

This initiative caught my attention both from a innovation and mental behavior perspective. What the mind views as pain will be avoided while that which is viewed as fun will be sought out. This is undeniably true if one looks at what people do repetitively. We try to minimize strain in such actions that everything becomes automated in our lives. When there is an element of mystery, fun and intrigue in anything, this becomes enough motivation for someone to do it with some level of enthusiasm. Removing monotony is one way of innovating fun into what we do daily and trying to keep an interest in otherwise actions that would seem like hard work. Good lesson on how easy something that feels heavy, difficult and hard can become easy when your mind sees it differently. Everyday e face potentially difficult situations and people, but if we change how we view them in our mind, we can climb those obstacles with ease and create a melody while we do.