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Getting to the nuts and bolts of behaviour change

When researching behaviour change, BJ Fogg breaks down behaviour into three main components: Motivation, Ability and Triggers. This framework is useful for looking at the different opportunities when designing for recycling behaviour change.

Photo of Andreas Eiken
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These three main categories in behaviour change act as a great framework for looking at the problem space of recycling behaviour.

1. With motivation, people know that recycling is the right thing to do, but might not feel motivated because of their lack of knowledge.

2. A big barrier to recycling is peoples lack of knowledge and their ability to complete the task. Recycling can very easily become a complex task when dealing with different streams, materials and places to put them. This is where I see a lot of the ‘educational’ designs fitting in, as well as a great opportunity for user centered research. 

3. Triggers are all of the touch points involved in the recyling process. It can be the design of the bin that we use to sort our materials, the icons we use, or the the service as a whole. We can design the best recycling bin on the planet, but without knowledge and ability, there is still a key component missing.

I find this framework really helpful when starting to think about solutions. Are we just designing a trigger? How might we teach knowledge and ability to users? What about motivation, do people really want to recycle?

Credit for the behavior model diagram goes to BJ Fogg and his FBM (Fogg's Behaviour model). More information about his work can be found here.


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Photo of Leigh Cullen

Great observations Andreas!
In sum, it looks like Dr. Fogg is saying, that in order to prompt behavior change:
1) One must be motivated to change. Social acceptance plays into that.
2) One must have the ability to make the change–ie, keep the action/habit/change simple.
3) One must be triggered to perform the action/habit via cue, request, prompt, call to action, offer…
Looking forward to seeing how Ideas are generated around this in the next phase!

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