Recent studies have shown that in order to foster long-term behaviour change, for example in the way people consume electricity at home, it is necessary to act primarily on people’s intrinsic motivation. Thus, the motivation comes from inside an individual rather than from any external or outside rewards, such as money or grades. For this reason, motivational tools traditionally used to orient consumption habits – such as monetary incentives and information policies – often turn out to be quite inefficient.

As an alternative, the Social Power game application developed within this research project, provides end-users with a series of precise goals, tools and game mechanics to leverage exactly those factors identified as to increase intrinsic motivation of human behaviour: challenge, curiosity, control, cooperation, competition and recognition. As these can in fact enhance a person’s active interest for a defined and significant purpose (in our case energy-saving practises), gamified experiences feature the great virtue of increasing people’s engagement and learning.

Additionally, considering that human behaviour is socially embedded, Social Power combines gamified design with the “network effect” of social media to stimulate peer comparison, thus capitalizing on another important long term factor influencing, shaping and orienting people’s energy related behavior and decision-making.