Sustainability Leadership Series: “Gamification: the secret weapon to hosting sustainable sports events?” – Seyi Smith

With a background in Electrical Engineering, Olympian Seyi Smith has always been inspired by his parents, “who worked in international development.” The Canadian Olympian is an advocate of sustainability and has been working intensively to combine his expertise with his passion for the environment.

In his SportWorks TALK, Seyi spoke about a key problem – “there is a lack of tools and understanding on the steps needed to improve sustainability.” And his projects and ambitions have been guided by the “20,70,10 rule”, which states that to initiate any change you will 20% of people on your side, 10% against you, and the rest of them on the fence. The key question then is, “how do you get people engaged and motivated?”

That’s been the guiding question for Seyi’s work, which has consisted of using gamified processes to make small-scale sports events more sustainable. For him, gamification consists of two key ideas – the first is “the use of game-based mechanics to solve problems” and the second is “to enhance systems, services and activities.”

Following approaches guided by both individual and large-scale change, as part of his International Olympic Committee (IOC) Young Leaders Programme project, Seyi, in Canada, has been introducing “competitions, checklists, and ‘positive peer pressure’ between sports events. This revolves around rewarding events which do better with their checklists and further encouraging them by sharing their work across the region through social media updates and newsletters from the Canadian Olympian Committee (COC) and the IOC.

It further boils down to the fans at the events, who get to participate in quizzes around individual sustainable practices, further introducing “positive peer pressure by initiating long-term change.” Seyi’s TALK, part of our “Sustainability Leadership Series” in partnership with The Sustainability Report, spoke about small-scale interventions that can have a large impact. If you’re keen to know more about it, do watch a replay of the TALK and let us know any feedback you may have.

SportWorks TALKS – The Sustainability Leadership Series is a co-production by SportWorks and The Sustainability Report. You can watch the previous episodes here.

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