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Kick Cycle: a recycler’s green game box filled with fun for the entire family to help kick start their recycling habits.

The Kick Cycle green game box has activities that support families in local communities to start making changes to their recycling routine at home. The game includes instructions, 'how-to recycle' bin stickers, a game board, dice, progress tracker and a game piece for each family member. Have a roll, move forward and land on a: 1. Tracker square – record each family member's household recycling progress by plotting the number of items they’ve recycled. 2. Challenge square – motivation for family and friends to stick to their new recycling routines. 3. Fact square – information on what happens to recycled materials and the benefits of recycling. 4. Upcycle square – project ideas for finding new function in old household junk.

Photo of Amanda Briden
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Explain your idea in one sentence

Don’t get stuck in a rut, use the Kick Cycle recycler’s green game box to kick start your recycling routine at home.
Over the weekend, we prototyped KickCyle and then tried it out with family members to see what they thought of it.  Here's what we did and what we've learned.

1)  Game box upcycled prototype components:
  1. Box - made from unused shoe box.
  2. Game board and tracker - made from out of date calendar.
  3. Activity cards - made from unused deck of cards.
  4. Game pieces - buttons and dice kept together in an old mints container.
  5. Instructions - simple, 1 page. 
2)  What we updated:
  1. We introduced a point system - each activity card completed says how many points you receive.  These get totalled on the family tracker.
  2. We introduced a section on the family tracker for the family to tally up the type and number of items they've recycled.  From this, CocaCola should be able to calculate some sort of impact.
  3. We introduced an extra incentive - for example: if the winner of the family uploaded a picture of their family's tracker to the CocaCola website, they'd be eligible to win trip somewhere (like EuroDisney).
3)  How the game works:
  1. Post the game board and family tracker plot above your recycling bin.
  2. Assign each family member a game piece.
  3. Roll the dice and move forward the number of spaces.  Each person should only take 1 turn per day.
  4. Draw an activity card that matches the square you landed on.  There were 4 activity card examples included in the prototype.
    • Tracker - "Add up the number of items you've recycled today.  Plot them on your family tracker.  + 20 pts to your total."
    • Challenge - "Sort your recycling into paper, plastic and aluminum piles.  Tell your family to use these the rest of the week.  If they do, you get +50 pts to your total."
    • Facts - "Did you know that 1 aluminum can saves enough energy to turn on a TV for 3 hours?  How many cans do you need to recycle before you can watch TV for 1 day?  + 10 pts to your total."
    • Upcycle - "Find old bottle caps and turn them into tea light holders."  +30 pts to your total."
  5. Complete your daily activity.
  6. Repeat.  The first family member to reach the end of the board game wins!
  7. Upload a picture of your family tracker on to be eligible to win a trip.
4)  Trial with family:
Overall, the family enjoyed playing the sample game and said they...
  1. Learned something - they were challenged by a bit of math, plotting and were forced to think about the type of items they had recycled.  
  2. Had fun - the mum and boy laughed while they played together.
  3. Liked the competitiveness -  the boy said that he'd want to beat his brother. 
5)  Feedback from the trial:
  1. We need a better way for the game pieces to stay attached to the board.  Consider magnets or pockets.
  2. The board can't be double sided.  It should fold out, so both the game board and family tracker can be seen at the same time.
  3. Other Challenge card ideas could be:
    • "What bin should these items go in?"
    • "Ask your friend, what's the biggest thing/coolest thing/strangest thing you've ever recycled?"
    • "Recycle something you've never recycled before."

CocaCola's sponsorship:  
Kick Cycle's green game box can be sponsored by CocaCola and distributed to one child per family at local schools.

Offline collaborators:  Wiebke Pahl, Nitin Gupta

Describe how your idea would help form new habits and improve recycling at home

Each recycling activity in the game is designed to help families form new recycling habits. Here's how: 1. Tracker activities – help families see their collaborative progress and identify milestones to celebrate their achievements. Children will be motivated to recycle more when they can see how their contribution compares to their parents and siblings. 2. Challenge activities – help family members try new things, get outside of their comfort zone and share their recycling experience with others. 3. Facts – help translate in simple terms the impact that their new routines can have on the environment and their local community. 4. Upcycle activities – help families get into the habit of seeing new uses for old junk and think twice the next time they throw something away.

How might you design an early, lightweight experiment to further develop your idea?

1. Practice what you preach - take 30 used shoe boxes and old board games and retrofit them with the elements of this game. 2. Partner with a local primary school and distribute the games and instructions. 3. Ask for permission to go into participating households and see how families are implementing the game. Take video, collect feedback and make changes.

What aspects of your idea could benefit from the input of our OpenIDEO community?

1. How can we ensure families take this activity box seriously? 2. How will we know whether or not families stick to their new habits after they finish the game?

Evaluation results

12 evaluations so far

1. How well do you think this idea will create new habits for the people involved?

Really well. I can see it creating lasting behavioural changes - 41.7%

The idea is pretty good but I’m not sure it will make new habits - 25%

Not sure the idea would really help people establish long-lasting habits - 33.3%

2. Can the idea be scaled to work in different countries and with different people?

Yes – it’s clear how the idea could be adopted by people from far and wide - 83.3%

Seems like it could work but needs some fleshing out - 16.7%

I don’t think it could be easily used in different locations - 0%

3. Can the idea be used regardless of the local recycling schemes?

Yes – it doesn’t seem to rely on a particular collection scheme - 75%

Possibly – although it might work better under some schemes rather than others - 25%

I think it might only work under particular circumstances - 0%

4. How easy would it be to pilot a version of the idea to test it out?

Really easy – ways to test this idea further are already springing to mind - 66.7%

Piloting this idea would be possible but it could take a lot of time and resources - 33.3%

A pilot doesn’t seem easy at this point - 0%

5. Overall, how do you feel about this concept?

It rocked my world - 41.7%

I liked it but preferred others - 33.3%

It didn’t get me too excited - 25%


Join the conversation:

Photo of Jian wu

Hi Amanda, i love your idea!!
family members must enjoy Kick Cycle recycler’s green game box. Learning something, having fun and doing competitiveness are the most important in this game as well as in a family.
because of this game, i think the relationship of family will go better!
i love this game, good luck!

Photo of James Robertson

Hi Amanda.. love this idea! I saw another of the concepts yesterday that also aimed to marry some gaming elements with a recycling initiative. Forgive for copying and pasting the same comments, but I think the use of narrative could be equally exciting for your scheme too! Anyway here it is:

Early last year I was fortunate to attend a Make-a-thon hosted by the Singapore IDEO office. Our task that weekend was similar to yours - we looked in some depth into prototyping a kind of gamified recycling ecosystem for local communities here in Singapore.

In short, our testing led us to try and incorporate a much bigger narrative into the gameplay aspect of recycling, and we attempted to tie our central story into some educational lessons on materials - their origin and repurposing.

We created a comic book hero and named him 'Recyclops', and gave kids points for recycling different materials into different amour; some examples:

Paper = Wood = Shield
Cans = Metal = Sword

We then suggested that perhaps the kids took ownership of these Avatars and were able to battle each other to gain more in-game points, in addition to the points gained purely from recycling tasks.

This is a brief outline that hopefully throws up some interesting new angles for your idea. If any of this appeals, I am sure we could dig up the presentation powerpoint and send it over! Let me know.



Photo of An Old Friend

Really exciting to see this idea develop! My 3 year-old gets a kids magazine that always has simple activities and games in the last few pages that are meant to be cut out and played. I wonder if something like that could be a potential distribution channel for you?

Photo of Hermione Taylor

Nicely put together idea Amanda!

The first thing that came to my mind was 'could you get points for how little waste you put in the normal bin too?' - you want to avoid competitive brothers purposefully creating more waste just so they can earn points by recycling more! So perhaps monitoring how much is thrown away to landfill and earning points depending on how much this is reduced?

Good luck!

Photo of Meena Kadri

Stellar updates, Amanda! The aspect we're especially amped about is that your prototype was not just about making a visual mock-up but also about getting in front of real people to see what you might learn towards refining it (and as we can see, you learned *a lot*) Human centered design in action – wohoo :^)

Photo of Amanda Briden

Thanks, Meena!

Photo of Paul Reader

Yes great interactive prototyping and feedback!

A couple of alternative suggestions for components in prototypes:

Use a piece of cardboard cut in a hexagon and a toothpick to create an old-fashioned spinner to replace the dice (can be recycled and remade).

Use different coloured beverage caps as the game pieces - re-use them before recycling them.

I don't know what you used to attach board pieces but although blu-tack is not recyclable it is at least re-usable so might be suitable.

With regard to you questions of the OpenIDEO community.

1. The great advantage of this game over the digital alternatives is that while building awareness and having fun, family members will ensure the compliance of each other. Especially if the family sets aside a particular time each day to participate together. Beyond that, I can't yet see any approach to taking it seriously, other than the already proposed incentives.

2. There will be benefits from this in terms of both habitual activity and greatly improved awareness. Even though they may not be measurable they will be there.

Great work Amanda.

Photo of Giustina Diana

Great educational tool!

Photo of Nick Brown

Thanks for this Amanda - I really like the ide of a kit - maybe to also include some stickers for bins and bin splitters. If the whole kit could be put together at a good price then it could be really scalable and could be part of wider commercial activities (i.e. give aways with sales promotions, competition prizes......) There is a similar idea in he helping habits stick section which you might what to have a look at.

Photo of Amanda Briden

Great suggestion re: the stickers for the bin. We've included that! Thanks.

Photo of Paul Reader

Great idea Amanda and great build too Nick.
I haven't looked far beyond half a dozen concepts yet but of those I have put some thoughts into I notice that some apps ( Goder's and Rob Han's ) propose reward systems. As Nick has suggested, in addition to making this a commercial proposition in itself it could represent a prize (reward) to be incorporated in those reward systems. Nancy Kelly's RecyCream Trucks ( ) could be both retail outlet and reward distribution points for this as well.

Photo of Paul Reader

While I appreciate that one purpose of this is to kick-start habits it also represents an opportunity to share established habits with friends and acquaintances too.

Photo of Bettina Fliegel

Hi Amanda.
Congratulations. A great activity for fun and active learning!
Have you considered making cards with questions rather than presenting the information as facts? Kids love the competition of quiz questions. They may not know all or many of the answers, but I can see them going off and quizzing their friends with their new found knowledge. Might be a good way to organically spread some recycling facts.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Amanda, way to go on this idea making it into the Top 25 shortlist!
We loved your fun take on a family green game box full of activities, each of which is designed to help family members form better recycling habits. It looks like you've already laid out some thoughts about ways you could continue building out this idea (light-weight prototype, testing it with primary school children and families, exploring offline collaborators and social media integration) – so, during Refinement, we'd encourage you to keep pushing forward on these aspects, as well as look out for potential collaborators in the community, who are developing games or fun elements that could be a part of your box. We can’t wait to see how Kick Cycle prototypes get received by children and families, and we’d be curious to find out if introducing competition elements between friends might help spark some Kick Cycle enthusiasm amongst youngsters. For more tips for this Refinement phase, check out and catch our Lowdown on Refinement at

Photo of Meena Kadri

Sounds cool, Amanda! We'd love it if you might consider filling out the remaining submission form questions on your idea – plus helping people better grasp how this idea could play out by describing some example scenarios which illustrate user journeys through some of the proposed activities you've outlined. Check this example: where a few simple scenarios were created in an attempt to explain the goodness on the idea in a human-centered way. (You can update your post at any time by hitting the Update Entry button up there on the right.) Looking forward to see this awesome idea grow.

And here's a friendly tip: update your OpenIDEO profile so folks can dig who they're collaborating with here. Think skills, experience, passions & wit...

Photo of Amanda Briden

Thanks for the valuable feedback Meena!

Photo of Maya König

Love the fun infographic of the game's features! :) Not sure how some of the other images tie in... I'm curious! Description text below?

Photo of Amanda Briden

Gotcha. Thanks, Maya. Just added a few brief descriptions for the other images.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Congrats on this post being today's Featured Contribution!