MTV recently launched a new series where they record the lives of a couple of teenagers getting slim between high school and college: I used to be FAT. Frog extended this TV format into the web with Tempt’d, an accompanying website where everyone can work to get rid of bad habbits.
There are many of these websites, and even systems with hard money as incentive, which fail to motiviate/keep people on track in the past. How is Frog expecting to overcome these problems?
1. Build on existing behaviour
Establishing a community for your support is a rather well known idea, one of the most famous might be WeightWatchers. Additionally, services like Foursquare establish a way of rewarding people for public attribution to e.g. a café. As community developer, you can build on this behaviour and learn from these communities.
2. Feedback all the times
All the messageing going back and forth in online communities is important so that people get new impulses and stay involved with their goal of change. Frog finds 3 types critical:
- knowledge sharing
- reaffirmation and encouragement
- polls and surveys
3. Make it fun
When you've done something "good" to advance towards your goal, instant feedback is important. We know how to reward people from games. The important thing about games is that they operate within a larger metaphor--this makes rewards far more meaningful. For Temptd, Frog decided to allude to martial arts: With enough "willpower" and "karma" collected, you get a new "belt" in a different colour.
4. Don't be the expert
This is missed easily. People trying to change their behaviour often know expert information well but this doesn't help them reach their goals. Taking an expert's attitude in communication makes people feel getting told what to do, and turn away from a service.
original: The Keys to Keeping a New Year's Resolution? Facebook and Foursquare
Interesting observation from Frog: online communities have a short "memory" and are rarely used as an archive, with the same questions coming up over and over again--Frog says this is good because the active members will answer theses questions repeatedly and this way form and define the identity of the community.
Moderators keep telling members to always use the forum search first but--if Frog is right--somewhat in vain. Jonathan, from the Fritzing team, told me both was true: the same questions continue to show up but other answers and questions proof that people actually had dug through the archive before.
I found this particularly interesting for the e*minis: I think we take a couple of these recommendations already into account but not all of them.
Das Forschungsprojekt "Lebensereignisse als Gelegenheitsfenster für eine Umstellung auf nachhaltige Konsummuster" geht davon aus, dass biographische Umbrüche - wie die Geburt eines Kindes und ein Wohnortwechsel - zeitlich begrenzte Anknüpfungspunkte für den Umstieg auf nachhaltige Konsumgewohnheiten in den Bereichen Mobilität, Ernährung und Energie eröffnen können. Kernstück des Projektes ist eine Kampagne, die Eltern und Umzügler dazu motivieren soll, nachhaltigeres Ernährungs-, Mobilitäts- oder Energieverhalten zu erproben. Das Projekt wird in enger Zusammenarbeit mit verschiedenen Praxispartnern durchgeführt.
Projektleitung: Prof. Dr. Dr. Martina Schäfer
Energy costs are only a minor cost factor for most companies in Germany. Of course it varies between chemical industry and service firms, but on average it is 6,3% of all costs - much less than e.g. wages.
What makes this small factor important is its dynamic: from 2003 with 4,3% it is expected to reach 7,6% in 2013. And it is difficult to get reliable values, since raw material and energy markets become more and more volatile.
Good reasons to become more independent of these elements.
In a recent competition by the DIHK (German Industry and Trade Chamber), an iron casting factory succeeded with impressive savings: it saves 460.000 Eur energy costs each year after an investment of 600.000.
Energy efficent building and service is also an important image factor that helps to stand out in the market: it's avantagarde energy image brings the Victoria Hotel in Freiburg at least 10% more guests each year.
Miele's factory for household devices is working to become more energy efficient for many years now, with a particular focus on employee participation (they also include external consultants, technical solutions, etc.). Over time, they acquired quite a bit of experience that way.
Their process contains:
1- Analysis of current consumption and market factors (e.g. from looking at their energy bills)
they look for opportunities to save energy together with their employees, e.g. while walking around in the factory. Accordingly, they offer concrete solutions for their staff (e.g. power strips with a switch)
3- Formalising the process
Since the energy management team can't be present all over the place, they try to establish "energy responsibles" (similiar to safety responsibles). Along that, they provide the responsibles with printed information, background videos, etc.
Miele builds most of its infrastructure on its own, so special care is put on planing and constructing plants which consume less.
The awarness and results at Miele are very encouraging. It also shows how the topic is relevant to management positions.
More concretely, the short description show that they collect practical experience on motivation issues.
(note that "die energieeffizienten" is a club of the most energy consuming industries in Germany. I posted the Miele story just because of the process/employee involvement)
Ok, so we're talking about 'the nudge factor', transformative design, behavioural design, etc. While Alexander in his presentation of the NUDGE book did raise critical questions about the whole attitude behind it, I'd like to point to an article in which the author worked out some of those criticisms in greater detail.
Published on SPIKED, Brendan O'Neill writes with wit and fury against the 'politics of the brain'. Whilst not specifically being about nudging in relation to sustainable living, the article might still teach us to be very careful whenever we try to impose certain desired behaviours to the user through design. I know, design is NEVER free of ideology and things are always intended to be used in certain ways and they foster certain behaviours or restrict them. But to declaredly aim for a certain 'correct' behaviour could be tricky, from a moral viewpoint as well as from the viewpoint of a liberally minded user, who would be put off by this design strategy.
In the words of O'Neill, the problem with the nudge state is "that it's alarmingly illiberal. Built on the idea that individuals are essentially irrational the elitist politics of the brain treats the mass of the population as not worth seriously engaging with."
"It’s about finding ways to change how individuals think and behave so that they conform to some preordained, elite-decided view of what a decent person is (booze-free, non-fat, eco-aware)."
And: "Most shockingly of all, the nudge brigade sees it as its responsibility to exercise willpower on our behalf, because apparently we’re too fickle to do it ourselves."
Ok. Now we should have something to debate about!
Link to the article here.
'Junges' Interview in der 'Spiesser' mit dem Klimaforscher Hans von Storch, Professor für Metereologie an der Uni Hamburg. - Schön 'geerdet', sehr kritisch im Bezug auf 'individuelle Maßnahmen gegen den Klimawandel'. - Auch wir sollten uns in dieser Richtung immer wieder hinterfragen.
Hier zu lesen.
Pressemeldung zum Energie-Viz Project aus Sydney –>
IF YOUR neighbours knew how much electricity you were using each day, would you work harder to reduce it?
Smileys auf monatlichen Energieabrechnungen als Ansporn zum Sparen gab es schon vor einer Weile in den USA – jetzt wird das anscheinend sehr effektive Programm wesentlich erweitert (Web, devices, Mail, etc) ->
Zitat von der Website
Energy efficiency experts around the country know that motivating customers to take action is one of the main challenges to achieving large scale energy savings. Participation rates in most energy-efficiency programs are typically less than 5%. By contrast, our flagship Home Energy Reporting program triggers energy-saving actions in up to 80% of targeted households, delivering unprecedented results.
The secret to our success? A patent-pending, customer-engagement approach that leverages cutting-edge behavioral science, customer data analytics and the latest software to engage millions of utilities customers.
The standard energy monitor these days is an (often wireless) display for only this purpose: showing your levels of energy consumption. This is an obvious choice, but it is destined to be neglected in everyday life. Since we are not yet used to keeping an eye on our energy consumption, we just don't look at it. Even if it's as nice as a Wattson -- where should it be placed, anyway? It just won't fit with any other objects in the home, neither aesthetically nor functionally.
But there are some promising alternatives to the mainstream:
We might not look at a device just for energy monitoring, but what if it also shows you weather information, your public transport schedule, and includes a family messaging board?
An excellent example is Intel's Home Energy Dashboard concept. It is designed to be placed in your hallway, to assist you in various routines when leaving your home or coming back.
These systems tend to be expensive and are currently mostly in a concept stage.
In-context ambient display
These display the energy consumption right where it is happening, usually at the power plug. They can draw more attention to themselves as energy consumption increases.
The Energy Joule by AmbientDevices does that and also provides additional information on energy prices and weather. This works well for some, but not for others where the plug is usually hidden (washing machine, fridge, ..). Also, costs (and distraction) quickly add up for additional plugs.
Integration with common household objects
So why not integrate it with already existing objects around the home? In every household there's a clock, a light, a key board, light switches, etc. Smoothly integrating the monitor with one of these solves the question of where to put it, and if chosen wisely will also integrate into daily routines.
Two good examples that display a nice clock are the Energy Aware Clock and the Tendril Vision. Of course these have a design of their own and still might not fit with your home's style.
Others: Flower Lamp, digitalStrom
Online & smartphone
And then you can have no permanent display at all. Since we're spending so much time at the computer anyway, and so many people have smartphones, we might as well put the control there. Access it when you need it, but otherwise ignore it. Because of the latter (and maybe a potential lack of reliability) most of these offerings come as an add-on to a physical device.
OPower provides a whole suite of online and offline media, and Energy UFO is an iPhone app for just that purpose. An advantage of these systems is that they allow much more detailed information and control without overburdening users.
None of these is an optimal solution, as of course any additional source of information brings an interruption with it. As sensitivity for this topic increases, if it tells you something you are interested in, you will look at it.
Nicht speziell für das Thema Energie, aber grundsätzlich interessant zum Thema Verhaltensänderung. Thematisch geht es hier um Gesundheits- und Finanzwesen.
Gutes Buch, Paper, Blog »Choice architecture« (behaviour change/design with intent)
Decision makers do not make choices in a vacuum. They make them in an environment where many features, noticed and unnoticed, can influence their decisions. The person who creates that environment is, in our terminology, a choice architect. The goal of Nudge is to show how choice architecture can be used to help nudge people to make better choices (as judged by themselves) without forcing certain outcomes upon anyone, a philosophy we call libertarian paternalism. The tools highlighted are: defaults, expecting error, understanding mappings, giving feedback, structuring complex choices, and creating incentives.
* Blog: nudges.org
* Paper: Abstract
[…] show how choice architecture can be used to help nudge people to make better choices (as judged by themselves) without forcing certain outcomes upon anyone, a philosophy we call libertarian paternalism. The tools we highlight are: defaults, expecting error, understanding mappings, giving feedback, structuring complex choices, and creating incentives.
related: Design with Intent Toolkit