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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!

Photo of Anita Hyde

Great framework to consider as we enter into ideas stage.. I agree with you, we need the knowledge and ability to be successful.

Photo of OpenIDEO

Congrats on this post being today's Featured Contribution!

Photo of An Old Friend

I absolutely agree about the trigger being a critical component. I live in a condo in a large metropolitan city in North America and while the condo garbage chute has different categories for garbage and recycling (e.g., organic waste, paper, plastic etc.) I don’t have the right recycling bins or storage in my unit to sort the materials before bringing them the chute. For me, the trigger is missing.

Photo of Meena Kadri

This is gold. Great elements for us all to consider as we head into our upcoming Ideas phase. Hope to see you there!

Photo of Andreas Eiken

Thanks! I'll definitely be there. Excited to participate in my first openIDEO project.