Design for Behaviour Change (Behaviour Change Sig)

Track Chairs

Edward Gardiner
University of Warwick, United Kingdom

Kristina Niedderer
​University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom

Andrew Morris
Loughborough University, United Kingdom

Addressing the biggest challenges in society, from air pollution to population growth, will require a change in how people behave in relation to themselves and others. The question of how to bring about this change is a prominent one for policy-makers and parents alike, with a clear need for practical solutions that help people go with the grain of their behaviour.

Existing approaches include regulation to eliminate or restrict choice, changing the physical environment in which choices are made, and tools to guide people through the decision-making process (1). The mindsets, methods and skills vary between approaches and each has different ethical implications for the rights and responsibilities of individuals (2).  

Design for Behaviour Change (DfBC) focuses on the role design plays in influencing people’s actions (3). While many of the methods are shared with other disciplines, there are particular attributes that make the design approach distinct, e.g. an open and iterative approach to development that values the wants and needs of the people involved (4).

The purpose of this stream will be to critically compare and contrast how DfBC relates to other approaches that seek to change behaviour, for example behavioural science and policy (5), applied psychology, and assistive technology, in order to construct a more coherent framework of how and when DfBC methods can, or should, be used to enable social change.

Questions we are interested in:

  • To what extent is DfBC perceived, valued and utilized in other approaches?
  • How are the rights of individuals represented in DfBC compared to other approaches?
  • How does the position of behaviour change affect its applications in different areas?
  • What barriers and enablers are affecting the use and application of DfBC across different areas and disciplines?
  • How can examples and case studies illustrate the different approaches, its benefits but also potential conflicts?

Keywords: behaviour change, social change, interdisciplinary, coordination, ethics

Indicative References:

House of Lords (2011), Report on Behaviour Change
Sunstein, C. R. (2015). Nudging and choice architecture: ethical considerations, SSRN
Niedderer, K. et al. (2016). Design for behaviour change as a driver for sustainable innovation: Challenges and opportunities for implementation in the private and public sectors. International Journal of Design, 10(2), 67-85.
Sanders, E. B. N., & Stappers, P. J. (2008). Co-creation and the new landscapes of design. Co-design, 4(1), 5-18.
 OECD (2017), Behavioural Insights and Public Policy