Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Is Lancaster game for sustainable change?

Less is More Game Project Manager Liz Horn with Project Academic Researcher Dr Noel Cass from Lancaster University.

A new four-month research project to explore the feasibility of creating a new digital game to promote sustainability across the district has secured £15,000 funding.

LESS, a Lancaster-based social enterprise, has secured the money from Lancaster University's Catalyst Project.

The Less is More game would encourage players to consume less and live more sustainably by both setting and completing real-life challenges for online recognition and/or real-world rewards, co-ordinated through a fun and engaging app or website.

The challenges could range from lowering the temperature on a thermostat, cycling to work once a week to organising skill-shares and free-shops.

LESS have already worked with Lancaster and Morecambe College students and talked to Senior Learners from the University while third year computing students from Lancaster University's Software Innovation Course are developing their own digital game ideas inspired by the project.

Liz Horn from LESS said: “We want to get people thinking about what they buy and throw away, how they travel to work or heat their house, and how this impacts not just on the environment, but also the local economy and global working conditions.

“But rather than just telling people what to do we want to motivate them by making it fun and rewarding to play the game.”

Dr Noel Cass at the University says the project will test different theories on motivating pro-environmental habits: “Providing information about environmental impacts alone has not achieved much. We believe that games exploiting fun, co-operation and competition might be more successful.”

A week-long trial of the game concept will start on 10th February with daily challenges being set.
Anyone can take part and you can sign up to play at www.lessismoregame.org.


Catalyst is an interdisciplinary research project which brings together academics and communities to jointly imagine and build the next generation of digital tools for social change, and to explore innovative, bottom-up technology-mediated solutions to major problems in society.

Catalyst brings together a team of academics from a range of disciplines including social science, computing, design, and management science. It unites these with community organisations – large and small – based in Lancaster, Manchester and further afield. Teams of academics and community organisations form partnerships to research specific technological innovations aimed at social change.

• If you have ideas for a challenge then please contact: liz@lessuk.org or call LESS on 01524 66100.

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