Carrot Rewards: A Healthy Living and Public Engagement Platform for Canadians

Carrot Rewards is a platform promoting healthy living and public engagement that leverages behavioural economics, mobile tech and the power of loyalty programs to motivate and educate users to make better everyday lifestyle choices for themselves, their families and the planet. Created in collaboration with public sector agencies, leading Canadian health NGOs and the private sector. With over a million downloads, Carrot is driving sustainable positive behaviour change on a population scale.

Innovation Summary

Innovation Overview

What problem the innovation solves or what opportunity was taken advantage of?
The cost of healthcare in Canada is increasing at an unsustainable rate. A large portion of this upwards drive in healthcare costs is due to the increasing prevalence of chronic conditions among Canadians. Regular physical activity (PA), defined as “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure”, has undisputed health benefits, however most Canadians fail to meet the recommended PA guidelines. Even though it has been proven that moderate intensity PA, such as brisk walking, reduces the risk of many chronic, non-communicable diseases, Canadians still fail to meet these guidelines.

It is widely accepted that preventative healthcare methods must be adopted. Behavioural changes like increasing physical exercise, maintaining a healthy diet, and reducing stress can lead to a reduction in the prevalence of chronic diseases like cardiovascular disease, cancer, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes.

What the innovation is:
The Carrot Rewards app was developed as part of an innovative public-private partnership with the Public Health Agency of Canada and the Government of British Columbia, the provincial founding partner to reward Canadians with loyalty points for engaging in healthy behaviors such as walking and learning about their health & wellness.

Carrot’s free incentive based platform offers users rewards for engaging in a variety of wellness promotion activities in the app. Examples include rewards for achieving daily step goals and for consuming content (surveys, quizzes, informational videos and more) related to a wide range of wellness topics including physical and mental health.Carrot is used by a number of other partners to engage Canadians in other policy domains such as financial literacy, environmental awareness & civic engagement.

The Carrot Rewards app includes many proven behaviour change techniques such as goal setting, self-monitoring, identifying barriers (i.e. not enough time to exercise), facilitating social comparison (i.e. inviting friends to Step Together Challenges), biofeedback (i.e. feedback using a smartphone) and graded tasks (i.e. set easy to perform tasks and increase difficulty). The following behavioural insights are also implemented in the app: accessing public health resources (i.e. directing users to informative tools such as helplines and videos), shaping knowledge (i.e. by delivering micro-learning quizzes and surveys), goals and planning (i.e. allows users to create action plans, problem solve, identify barriers and set trackable health goals), feedback and monitoring (i.e. can monitor personal walking behaviour and receive immediate feedback), social support and comparison behaviour (i.e. allows users to connect to friends to challenge or collaborate to achieve a common goal) and external rewards (i.e. users engage in external programs utilizing the motivation of loyalty programs). The combination of these behavioural change techniques and insights allows the app to facilitate an environment for users to achieve and sustain behaviour change.

Who benefited from the innovation?
In contrast to traditional promotion platforms, the Carrot platform enables clear and precise evaluation of behavioural impacts from campaign. The rewards offered to Canadians for participating in the Carrot app are in the form of everyday popular loyalty points providers, such as Aeroplan, Scene, RBC Rewards, Petro Canada, More Rewards and Drop Loyalty points. The diversity and popularity of reward options contributes to Carrot’s relevance for any demographic segment that the public sector would like to reach, including the sedentary population.

How is the innovation envisioned for the future?
Carrot plans to expand nationally in Canada in November of 2018, launch in the United Kingdom in 2019 and is planning to expand to other markets including Australia, Mexico and in select regions in the U.S.
Carrot is based in Toronto and employs approximately 30 specialists in behavioural economics, consumer loyalty, technology, marketing and business development. Total headcount is expected to double over the next 12 months. In the next 5 years, the business is projected to grow to 20+ million users in 10 countries.

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  • Identifying or Discovering Problems or Opportunities - learning where and how an innovative response is needed
  • Generating Ideas or Designing Solutions - finding and filtering ideas to respond to the problem or opportunity
  • Developing Proposals - turning ideas into business cases that can be assessed and acted on
  • Implementation - making the innovation happen
  • Evaluation - understanding whether the innovative initiative has delivered what was needed
  • Diffusing Lessons - using what was learnt to inform other projects and understanding how the innovation can be applied in other ways

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