Recently we’ve been getting a lot of emails from people seeking advice on applying for the Knight News Challenge. We’re excited to see so many of our friends and fans of Beanstockd applying to the contest! Good luck, and for some advice writing the full proposal, be sure to check out this article by Amy Gahran.

This week, I wanted to give some insight into our plans for a mobile application and how this feature fits into the game. The mobile app will actually be an integral aspect of the project from a conceptual standpoint. The overall goal of the Beanstockd Project is to drive tangible behavioral change among users. The game currently provides an incentive structure for taking environmental actions, but our limitation is that we can only rewards these actions retroactively. The mobile application, however, has the potential to actual change the course of a person’s day through interaction with the game. Beanstockd Mobile will allow users to weigh different options before the action is taken, essentially incentivizing a user proactively for the more environmentally friendly action.

For example, let’s say a user is headed to a restaurant and can either take the subway or the bus to get there. For the same reasons we started this project, there exists an information gap to the public about environmental consumption— for instance, most people don’t really know whether it is more environmentally friendly to take the subway versus the bus, and the answer may be circumstantial (depending on traveling distance, weather conditions, traffic, etc).

The mobile application will allow the user can insert 2 (or more) options and the Beanstockd game will calculate the points that each choice earns at the current time, allowing the user can take the more environmentally-friendly action and earn points for it on the spot. In addition to rewarding choices proactively (by allowing the user to advance more quickly in the game), the mobile application will be an interactive way for users to learn how different actions compare environmentally and create new habits using the Beanstockd game.