Play to be Healthy With Keas

Play to be Healthy With Keas

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Last week, Keas came out of stealth to reveal a gamified business that aims to engage individuals in the quest to get more fit. The company was founded by George Kassabgi and Adam Bosworth in 2008, who previously worked heading up the Google Health program. The site has already gone through a 12 week pilot at organizations including Pfizer, Quest Diagnostics and others, during which over 70% of employees using the service continued to exercise for every week during the twelve week period, and stayed in shape in the process. Promising results for having fun to stay in shape.

Keas onboardingKeas uses many of the game mechanics that have gained prominence through gamification, including leaderboards, points, and team-based challenges to get people moving with the “Power of Play”. Points can be gained through completing weekly “to-dos” like “eat only healthy snacks” and “get eight hours of sleep three or more times this week”. Quizzes are also available that not only test users on their knowledge of healthy living, but also engages readers with new information that is key to getting fit. Also interesting to me was the interactive “tutorial” that led users through the features of the game without dumping too much information on at once. The program is now open to new users on their website, so be sure to check it out.

Keas quiz
One of Keas’ health quizzes

There is still room for growth. The points and leveling system seem rather tangential to the goal of getting fit. They may be good for in-office competition and group motivation, but as a non-institutional user, they feel a touch incomplete. The entire points system is more representative of time spent on site, but as long as you keep up with your weekly goals, they will also be tied to relative effort towards fitness. Also, I have yet to run across group challenges enven though there is a spot for them.

On the surface, the program is relatively simple, but significant results were already achieved within the pilot program. The game spread virally amongst employees, and within the almost 60% that participated, there was a reported 50% increase in physical activity. Additionally, the number of people eating fruits and vegetables doubled. Most importantly 90% said they would continue to play the game. Although simple, the game continues to be engaging.

I admit that even though I am just getting started as a player, staying fit is already getting more integrated into my daily routine. The game mechanics and social elements are fun to players, and I look forward to the next versions that work towards making Keas even more playful.

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