Introduction

In this time-crunched, multitasking world, we try to squeeze as much as we can into every activity. But when it comes to operating a vehicle, multitasking becomes distracted driving — which is incredibly dangerous, both to us and those around us. We’ve all heard the horror stories. Good people have died, and good people have killed because of distracted driving. Chances are you know someone who has been personally affected by distracted driving.

Background

Seeking to make a positive social impact, Switch Innovation Lab developed a unique fundraising model for non-profits. Appropriately named Go Big Fundraising, large scale custom sculptures were built from personalized “building blocks” created by each participant as part of their donation. The Go Big Fundraising model was implemented for large scale installations at Content Marketing World to support the Orange Effect Foundation, as well as for organizations like The Up Side of Downs, Friends of Jaclyn, and Connecting for Kids.

Our mission was helping non-profits raise awareness, increase engagement, and boost revenue. Results were mixed, and ultimately, we found that though the first two criteria were being met, the Go Big Fundraising model was not generating the revenue envisioned for the non-profits we were trying to serve. In accordance with our design thinking roots, we pivoted. We examined what was working — awareness and engagement — and brainstormed ways to continue to make an impact on a large scale. We examined social issues like the opioid crisis and developed programs like the Face the Dragon campaign. However, after reviewing with health and wellness organizations and law enforcement, we realized that the opioid crisis was a complex, multifaceted issue that would be difficult to gain alignment on. We kept brainstorming.

 

Our Go Big Fundraising initiative was created to increase engagement, awareness, and revenue for non-profits.

content marketing world exhibit for orange effect foundation

This 1,200 square foot installation at Content Marketing World was created to raise awareness and financial support for the Orange Effect Foundation.

The Face the Dragon campaign was created to address the opioid crisis and featured a life-size dragon that was sure to draw attention to the issue.

We turned our attention to distracted driving — an issue everyone has experience with and a cause everyone can rally around. We learned that texting driving is a dangerously terrible idea, but it is not the only distraction facing drivers today. From daydreaming, to eating, to fiddling with the radio, distracted driving comes in many forms.

Our research turned up another interesting observation. Though many organizations were attempting to address the distracted driving issue, they were primarily doing so in the same way — via scare tactics. The primary form of communication was showing images and videos of horrible accidents alongside death and dismemberment statistics. There was only one problem — scare tactics don’t work. At best, they have a short-term impact, but the science shows that these tactics have no long-term effect on behavior change. We wanted to try a different approach. Instead of scaring people, we would inspire, educate, and entertain them. We would provoke people to engage in the topic willingly instead of averting their attention from uncomfortable realities.

 

Texder's Distracted Driving Crusade
social enterprise
social enterprise

Creating Awareness and Behavior Change

Thus began Texder’s Distracted During Crusade. We created Texder, an octogenarian skeleton with a wry sense of humor and a sweet ride. That ride is a full-size replica of a 1920’s rat rod named Wipeout.
More than a stop-in-your-tracks attention grabber, Wipeout is a pledge car and education piece. On the roof are the top ten driving distractions. After reading, the participant takes the pledge to “keep eyes on road, hands on wheel, and brain focused”, then physically signs their name on the car. It’s a tangible, voluntary commitment to behavior change, made more impactful by being part of a larger shared community commitment.

We knew the program’s success hinged on quality content, so we developed corresponding curriculum, activities, and videos. Content development was followed by the web site build and design of all curriculum and branding materials. In keeping with our overall mission of education through entertainment, Texder and his friends are featured in short live-action videos on each of the distracted driving topics. We built a set, storyboarded the concepts, filmed the videos, and completed post-production work. Since one of our target audiences was schools, we kept each video to around 90 seconds, and avoided preachy, cliché messaging.

Outcomes

Once all branding and content was completed, Texder made his entrance to the world. He made visits to numerous schools, communities, businesses, and even a FedEx shipping station in Utah. Thousands of people took the distracted driving pledge, and feedback consistently indicated that real behavior change was happening. The approach worked because people were keeping the humorous yet impactful lessons top of mind instead of being temporarily motivated by guilt or fear.

It is difficult to accurately measure the impact of such a large-scale social initiative. However, anecdotal evidence as well as interest from the insurance industry to scale Texder’s Distracted Driving Crusade indicate its positive impact.

As we have all experienced, COVID changed everything. The global pandemic grabbed our collective attention and made immersive community experiences like Texder’s Crusade impossible. Collectively, were we no longer sharing in-person experiences, and we were certainly driving far less. Our hope is that when the roadways return to their usual hustle and bustle that people will avoid driving distracted. If not, Texder is standing by, ready to make a road trip to your town.

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