What are winning recipes for behaviour change?

What are winning recipes for behaviour change?

Have you ever been disappointed at your efforts aimed at behaviour change? Why is behaviour change so difficult? How can we master it?

Dr. BJ Fogg developed the Fogg Behaviour Model and accompanying methods to analyse and design behaviour change. He leads the Stanford Persuasive Technology lab, consults innovation teams in industry and teaches during Bootcamps.

I signed up for his intensive Bootcamp to find answers for these questions. And I was lucky to be part of a small group of twelve dedicated professionals in September 2015 and learn from him personally in his private home, overlooking the river.

The first crucial ingredient for successful change, is helping people do what they already want to do. We often want to change the motives of our audiences. We often don’t realize we are breaking habits. Changing motives and breaking habits are both very hard, with a high risk of failure.

A second vital element of winning recipes, is to trigger the right sequence of baby steps. Many projects fail because they have great aspirations but did not break this down in doable small steps. Why is this so important? Because one first success leads to new successes. Change is powered by success and blocked by failure. You have to create success momentum!

A third indispensable factor is simplicity: make behaviour easy to do. Think about the popular apps you use on your phone. They don’t ask you to read long manuals. Step by step you are lured in.

So make sure you enable your target groups and facilitate the desired behaviour by making it simple and providing support when they need it.

These are just a few examples of the building blocks for successful programs. If we design our programmes using models like BJ Fogg’s, they are much more likely to succeed.

Recently, I used the Fogg Behaviour Model during a research project for the social innovation programme of the Dutch Ministry of Economic Affairs. It proved a useful framework to analyse why decision makers in commercial real estate do not use green innovations to make existing buildings more sustainable. The research brought to light how their behaviour can be influenced effectively.

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