This is Your Brain on Service Design [part two].

Photo by  Hey Paul Studios

Photo by  Hey Paul Studios

In a recent post I described how service designers are helping people rewire their brains to embed new, healthier traits. I think of it as some of the best non-invasive health care in the world!

For almost a decade, my colleagues and I have been experimenting with ways that service design can unlock positive behavior change. We’ve addressed wicked problems ranging from smoking cessation, vehicle driving, energy consumption, re-careering, traveler hygiene, financial planning, elder vitality and health care associated infections. 

In each case, we were able to design experiences that created positive mental states and healthier behaviors. As noted in the previous post, the trickiest part is what neuroscientist Rick Hanson calls “installing” the behavior as a trait – that is, increasing the likelihood that it will be repeated in the future. Just “absorbing” a positive experience for as little as 10 seconds can help nurture the synaptic connections and literally change your brain to be more receptive to similar positive experiences.

Hanson’s advice makes me think of our checklist for designing behavior change experiences. Below are 12 Tips for Behavior Change Solutions that apply to most of the hard cases we’ve tried to crack.

Graphic by Heather Ryan

Graphic by Heather Ryan

Think about the behavior change solutions you admire; do you see these elements embedded in the experience? Is anything missing from the list? I’d love to hear your feedback, to build this list further.