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Habit Formation through Positive Reinforcement

Without having ethnographically studying the people I'm designing for, I'll be honest, I feel a bit limited in how I can design for them. I need to know more about their daily life, their culture, and how they communicate. That being said, I believe one of the most important things in a young person's life is the development of good habits: exercise, nutrition, meditation, and perseverance. Behavioral psychology shows positive reinforcement is the best way to shape behaviors. Additionally, making behavioral change convenient, uncomplicated, and engaging, is critical to adoption. To do this, I am proposing a system of mutual interdependence similar to Grameen Bank. Rewards are distributed collectively based on community solidarity.

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How will this work? 
Motivations are different for different people. Depending on what motivates the culture we're designing for, we empower them to deliver an appropriate reward/postive reinforcement  immediately upon completion of desired behavior being exemplified.

Example: Young boy returns home with completed homework, meditates, and chooses a healthy food option and is then given reward stimulus and explanation to why his current behaviors will improve his future.

Who will benefit from this idea and where are they located?

I am designing for rural communities in low income societies.

How could you test this idea in a quick and low-cost way right now?

I would first travel to a culture fitting the above description and study their lifestyles and idiosyncrasies. Honestly, I wouldn't feel entirely confident in my design proposal until having done this first: empathetic ethnography.

What kind of help would you need to make your idea real?

I would like to hear from someone who lives in this type of community and their thoughts on what would encourage people to continue making healthy early lifestyle behavioral patterns.

Is this an idea that you or your organization would like to take forward?

  • Yes. I am looking for partners that might be interested in taking this idea forward in their communities.


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