Southern Water and Gamification


For one reason or another, utility companies attempt to make people use less resources. Trouble is, it is not easy to shift deep rooted habits even ones that happen to be wasteful. People do not like being told how to live, especially when it comes to their home life. Utility companies have to utilise a more subtle approach to efficiency. Enter Southern Water and and a bit of gamification using feedback and bench-marking.

You can see from the picture here that Southern Water are utilising gamification to help reduce wastage. It shows comparisons between you and typical households in an easy to understand manner. It also, shows you comparisons between your bill and your previous bill and your bill for the same period last year. The picto-people are a very graphic and effective way to draw comparisons between you and other households. This is a form of non-specific leader boarding, where you can see what to compete with, without giving away others personal information or habits. This really works and I'm going to tell you why I think that is.

I consider myself to be fairly environmentally friendly. I am a vegetarian, which saves the equivalent of three months of showering by not eating one burger. I take short showers maximum of five minutes, I turn off the tap when I brush my teeth. I turn off the lights and plug sockets when I am not using them. I try to reuse as much as possible. Yet I had no idea that the average one person household uses 226 litres a day. At first I dismissed the possibility that I used anywhere close to that much. However, when I got thinking of all of the water using activities; showers, washing dishes, washing clothes, heating for radiators, drinking water etc., it really made me think and reconsider. This act - this active reconsideration of my life – is very important as it sets in motion the change that is needed to change anything. These gamification tactics, as employed by Southern Water, allowed me to begin to make changes to be more efficient with my life. If it did this for me, it will have done it for many others. How much water in the world is being saved through gamification right now?

Want to know how to save water yourself? Here are two useful articles.

About the author 

Pete Baikins

Pete Baikins is an international authority on gamification, a lifelong gamer, successful entrepreneur and a lecturer. As CEO of Gamification+ Ltd he mentors and trains companies world-wide on the use of gamification to solve business challenges. Gamification+ won the Board of Trade Award from the UK's Department of International Trade in January 2019.

Pete is co-host of the health gamification podcast Health Points and is also Chair of Gamification Europe, the annual conference for Gamification practitioners.

Pete is an Honorary Ambassador for GamFed (International Gamification Confederation), having previously been the Chair from 2014 to February 2019, whose aim is to spread best practices within and support the gamification industry.

After 15 years as a Lecturer on gamification and entrepreneurship at the University of Brighton he now guest lectures on Gamification at King’s College London and at ESCP Europe at post-graduate and under-graduate levels.

Over the past 20 years Pete has built and sold two businesses. One was in security software and the more recent one was a telecoms and internet connectivity business. He is also an Ambassador for Brighton & Hove Chamber of Commerce in the UK.

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