My typical Sunday morning involves turning on CNN Headline News while I dash around the apartment doing chores before I head to the gym. This morning I heard a very interesting segment about rewarding Pokémon GO players for their increased activity in a "Summertime Stepping" challenge. I was intrigued and thought about this for some time.
I am a huge gamification advocate. I have sponsored challenges and look for any opportunity to help engage and motivate others leveraging gamification apps. Over the past five years what I have noticed is that many of these apps/programs reward goal ATTAINMENT and not SUSTAINMENT. How often do we see friends and family engage vigorously in a challenge, win great rewards and recognition only to regress back to their pre-challenge behaviors some weeks or months later? I think that it is a great opportunity to take advantage of the fascination with Pokémon GO and the increased activity that it has created, especially in children. What I would strongly encourage is for programs that offer cash incentives or prizes to consider implementing a reward system that favors sustainment. Acute episodes of weight loss or increased activity will not result in the health impact that this nation needs unless there are associated sustained behavioral changes that impact nutrition and fitness. I have not played Pokémon GO but I can see that it presents a great opportunity to support a national Get Up and Go initiative. However, let's make sure that we keep the end goal in mind....sustainment of a safe and healthy lifestyle.