TED Conversations

Timothy Hudson

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Is there potentially an economic impact to using happiness as an incentive?

A website, thefuntheory.com has been creating different concepts to add enjoyability to regular tasks in an effort to motivate people to perform them. You can view their website to see some of the really cool concepts they are testing. A few of them include, musical stairs next to an escalator, a speed camera lottery, and a trash bin that plays a sound representing a falling object when you throw something away.
Is it possible that large cities could use this tactic on a grander scale to have a dramatic over all affect on their costs? Could we have publicly funded 'amusement,' with an investment twist? What are some other ideas that could be employed on a metropolitan scale to reduce costs such as waste cleanup, emergency services, traffic congestion, or resource abuse?


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    Oct 24 2011: I love the idea of bringing fun into everyday tasks. I try to do it everyday:) I think that when people smile and laugh it ultimately changes your mood and perspective. Anything to raise awareness and consciousness is a good thing!
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      Oct 24 2011: Jamie,

      I wonder, what is the cumulative affect of a million more smiles? If a city were to undertake a curious mission- to cheer itself up, what might come of that? Many cities already have monuments to famous historic members, beautiful pieces of artwork, and pleasant landscapes. But what if the goal was less subtle in nature, and not centralized on the walk along the river bank, or the main thoroughfare? Could a city of a 100,000 people smile a million more times a month and what could that change?

      This was my original thought which was developed into the conversation I began above. I am in great agreement with you that a smile or a laugh changes your mood and perspective. We humans like to mimic each other also, which makes those smiles contagious.

      Thank you Jami
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        Oct 24 2011: What fun it would be to start a smile campaign. I could see it now....cincinnati smiles...I bet the dentists and orthodonists in town would sponsor it or maybe Crest, Colgate or a national brand.
        We need to start in the schools! A quote I made up many years ago was, "Smile..People will wonder what you've been up to" combine that with "Carpe Diem" Seize the day and the journey begins:)

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