SPEAKING VOLUMES Facilitating behaviour change through motivation monitoring
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Printed and bound in Australia on recycled paper
P R E FA C E
Speaking Volumes documents the research conducted throughout the first half of my final year studying Industrial Design at RMIT, Australia. The research was conducted within the Social and Sustainable studio supervised by Soumitri Varadarajan. His constant support and guidance undoubtedly strengthened the contents of this publication. The Social and Sustainable studio participants also aided in the evolution of my research. Their ideas and knowledge stimulated constant discussions aiding the quality and depth of my research. Finally, I am glad to have finished it and am thankful to those who persevered. I look forward, with anticipation, to what will follow. Charles Skender
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P R E FA C E 003 INTRODUCTION006 REFLECTION008 Practices 010 Capabilities 017 RESEARCH021 Action Research 0 23 Look 026 Think 0 34 Act 036 Motivation 038 Ability 040 Reflect 0 42 S TAT E M E N T 047 Agenda 049 Approach 050 Trigger 0 52 Ability 0 54 Motivation 066 Artefact 070 Collect 072 Process 074 Report 076 Reflect 078 CONCLUSION083 BIBLIOGRAPHY084
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Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world. As a result current water resources face growing pressure from an increase in households and consumption resulting in widespread urban water shortages. Traditional models have focused on either empowering consumers to reduce their demand (Queensland’s target 140 campaign and Melbourne’s target 155 campaign) or designing more efficient supply systems and household technologies (water efficient showerheads). Through this we reinforce a production/consumption relationship that overlooks reasons why people use resources, how these ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ are constituted and how they can change within the broader context of everyday life where day-to-day practices take place. Thus there is a clear gap between consumer beliefs on individual responsibility to conserve water and day-to-day usage behaviour. A gap which this project aims to close.
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I have never liked or understood the exact meaning or purpose of a reflection. They seem too dominated by rules and stigma that in order to gather a more comprehensive and thoughtful account of the various practices and capabilities that make up â€˜meâ€™ it is better to indulge in a conversation over a few beers. The other thing about reflections is that they always appear self evident. Upon completion, what I previous have never understood about myself is there, plain to see in black and white, as if it was obvious all along. Some-one should have given me this next passage of writing three years ago. However in order to get to the destination, one must complete the journey. Thus we should let it begin...
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It is ironic to me that I start this reflection with both an example and a definition. If someone asked me how I worked I would immediately say lists. Lists, or the order that they entail, have been the fundamental building block of my imagination since I was born. When asked to cook I would always need a recipe with exact measurements, frowning upon those self entitled ‘celebrity’ chefs who would gesticulate with such enthusiasm when using arbitrary forms of measurements such as “a pinch of salt” or “a dash of oil”, quoting recipes that have “evolved”. I would loose hours trying to build that one piece of LEGO, remaining honest to the designers intent, never changing it or customizing it. I guess this explains why I am utterly drawn to the notion of IKEA. Not because of its ‘democratization’ of style that seems to be crippling the humble craftsman. But rather its ability to create simple pieces of paper that create a recipe for design. One in which everyone, no matter what age or nationality can understand and, in a couple of hours (depending on their ability to operate a
screw-driver) have their own piece of flatpacked Swedish furniture. Even when I broke into my final year of secondary education I itemized my options, breaking my choice of subject topics down into a formula in which I was capable of taking most courses at University; a decision which bought upon the stupidity of undertaking six subjects, colloquially referred to as the ‘suicide six’, and undoubtedly hampering my ability to obtain high grades.
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IKEA BRIMNES instruction manual
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Which brings me onto my second personal revelation (the first being the one about the lists). I have a need to experience and do everything that is possible. No matter how far flung or obscure it may seem I have most likely done it. I have played basketball, cricket, rugby, football, soccer, tennis, rowing, discus, waterpolo and even tried cross-country. I played the clarinet, drums, nearly every piece of percussion, tried chess for a couple of years, debated, lead teams in mock-trials, watched Dr. Who for hours and played heated battles of Call of Duty with people half way across the world. I have even tried to study everything from the human body to Mozart. At University I started Architecture before moving to Industrial Design. A decision which, up until now, I thought was a mistake. However these reflections have an amazing ability to clarify the ambiguous, to the point where they almost seem tautological. If we where to analyse the history of the famous innovator Richard Sapper, we would find that he was among the few designers who never
studied at a school of design or architecture. Instead, as a young man, Sapper involved himself in the study of philosophy, anatomy, engineering and economics. It is through this array of disciplines that Sapper is able to create innovative products that range from ships to watches. I guess in a way I have subconsciously been training my visualization process to become more innovative.
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My year 12 blazer pocket with various symbols and colours
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This third paragraph is not so much a revelation as it is an admission. I have always felt a tendency to explore the mechanical, being more interested in steam power and its collection of turning objects and things that go up and down than the workings of an organic system (the origins of which I have subversively been aware of but never eager to admit). The fact is that my Dad’s involvement in the study of civil engineering has always entertained my interests. His ability to explain theory and clarify a process has always enthralled me. My design philosophy, as such, has always been to celebrate the mechanical and, when possible, display it. The process of doing this reflection has lead to these ‘discoveries’ feeling less and less of a surprise and more as if I knew them all along.
Which brings me to my fourth realisation. I am a romantic and have always had strong notions of nostalgia. I am very proud of my heritage and am always willing to celebrate it. My mother’s side is Hungarian with her parents meeting in Australia after escaping during WWII. My grandfather in fact was a cooper by trade but fought in the mounted infantry. It is a shame that all his medals where discarded through his escape due to fear of persecution. My Dad’s side has it’s routes in Eastern Europe and Ireland where my great-grandfather immigrated to Australia to settle on the market gardens of Carnarvon, Western Australia. A life that by no means was glamorous. This passion for my heritage is somewhat explored through my design visualization. I am eager to seek out the heritage in a product or embedded nostalgic links that previously where nonexistent.
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Paul Smith Rose 10ml perfume atomiser
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It is probably too far to call this last evaluation a revelation when it is more a submission. Although sustainability is thrown around a lot these days and to proclaim your design philosophy as sustainable may seem a little kitsch, I still admit to having sustainable notions. Growing up in the most isolated city in the world let alone the largest island in the world has left me with a strong appreciation for the little finite resources we do have. In saying this I donâ€™t necessarily see the production of energy efficient technology as the answer to our resource crisis. Rather I see it as a behavioural problem, where humans are inherently sustainable yet we are constantly handed an easier, â€˜less-greenâ€™ approach by the designers. As designers, we need to make the sustainable easy, creating a shift in behaviour from the submissive to the educated.
Tools of the trade
C A PA B I L I T I E S
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This section of the reflection is devoted to not so much capabilities as more to how I do things. This relationship is by no-means linear, where more often than not my capabilities are defined by the way in which I do things and vise-verse. My ideation stage revolves largely around the analogue. The transformation of my visualized ideas to an interoperable medium is largely done through pen and paper. My tools-of-the-trade consists of a blue pencil, 0.3 fine-liner, 0.6 fine-liner and a collection of COPIC markers. Through my days studying Art, I have learnt to disregard the eraser, instead classing mistakes as â€˜happy accidentsâ€™, as my art teacher used to say. The blue-pencil is most likely a progression of this idea where, even if I wanted to erase, it would prove very difficult. I find this method for me the most efficient; it is tough enough having a multitude of thoughts in my head without adding an extra hurdle between me and the paper. As a result I am probably less obliged to shift from this method to a more digital realm such as the WACOM tablets. I sometimes bang out a basic mass
model in Sketchup to aid the construction of my sketches. From here I move quickly to rationalizing the idea. My skill at foam modelling lets me quickly flesh out most form issues with the idea before I progress to the computer. At this stage I turn somewhat into a CAD nerd. I love pushing the capabilities of each product to the limit. In saying this over the many years of using various parametric modellers such as Solidworks and ProEngineer, I have learnt ways of operation that seem to clarify the design to the program and yield a solution with the least amount of errors or bugs. I am by no-means obliged to stick with a certain way of operation either. I love exploring new forms of CAD technology such as Rhinoceros aided with plug-ins. This process usually culminates in the application of a rapid-prototyping technique. I become almost obsessive about this process as I search for the best possible replication of what was in my head to a physical object.
TEADO an automatic teasmade To me rapid-prototyping, be it CNC, 3D printing or laser cutting, provides a level of accuracy that conventional model making techniques cannot. This way of working is a brief reflection of the way I work. It is by no means a concrete example of all my design projects but more of a guideline that I endeavour to take but, for some reason or another, may modify.
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So that in a nut shell is my reflection. I have gotten to the destination and a sense of painful realization has come over me. The only question left to answer is where to from here. It is one thing knowing where you have come from but another knowing where you will go. In an attempt to clarify my career direction and gain much needed experience I have undertaken internships with Catalyst, working on their new knog blinder range constructing instruction manuals and faceplate concepts, and Hanseatic Marine, developing standard edge details in Pro-Engineer for their 77m long luxury yachts. However I am no closer to the end than I was a year ago. All I hope I guess is that come retirement I can look back and have something that I can say that I created, something that educates and in turn develops new forms of human behaviour.
Thinking about flow monitoring
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After labouring through a 1500 word reflection of myself it seemed as if I knew everything. I had reached a mental point where I was ready to tackle the wild abyss of a 4th year project. I now know what I know, how I do things and am aware of what I can do. A few weeks later and it seems that I am only millimetres closer to the end if the realisation of naivety can be seen as positive progression. Donâ€™t get me wrong, there are a million ways I could justify the completion of the reflection; I am by no means calling it useless. To argue the opposite seems more credible.
Through placing work conducted thus far in the context of an ‘action research’ theory a sad but beautiful sense of realisation and clarity develops. Kurt Lewin is generally credited as the person who coined the term ‘action research’. His approach involves a spiral of steps, “each of which is composed of a circle of planning, action and fact-finding about the result of the action” (Lewin, 1948, p. 206). Suddenly this exercise becomes a way of learning from and through ones practice by working through a series of reflective stages. These stages facilitate the development of a form of ‘adaptive’ expertise. These expertise can be applied to develop more cohesive conclusions. These conclusions facilitate a realisation of the ‘next step’. This process, in itself, becomes a mechanism for research, one that is an iterative, cyclical process of reflecting on practice, taking an action, reflecting and taking further action. Therefore, it becomes obvious that, the research takes shape while it is being performed. Greater understanding from each cycle points the way to improved action.
It seems evident that, to write a reflective piece on research in a time when I lack direction, is the next step. In essence to continue in this cycle I must reflect on the evidence that is collected and analysed and as a result develop a new path of progression.
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Each part of the action research process involves five essential steps, the first being the development of an initial question or problem or the identifying of an area of exploration. In the previous exercise the area of exploration was myself. This then led to deciding what information I should collect i.e. breaking my reflection down into the explanation of practices and capabilities. Next involved the collection and analysation of this data. Finally the reflection lead to a report of subsequent findings and how they could be applied. In order to continue this second cycle there must be a point where I create a new plan for action based on these findings. I left the reflection asking where to from here. Identifying a series of research questions that start to form the basis of my secondary cycle seems the logical position. According to Reil (2010, Developing Action Research Questions: A Guide to Progressive Inquiry section, para. 1), “the best question is the one that will inspire the researcher to look at their practice deeply and to engage in cycles of continuous learning from the everyday
practice of their craft. These questions come from a desire to have practice align with values and beliefs. Exploring these questions helps the researcher to be progressively more effective in attaining their personal goals and developing professional expertise.” She goes onto say, “good questions often arise from visions of improved practice and emerging theories about the change that will move the researcher closer to the ideal state of working practices. When stated in an if/ then format, they can take the shape of a research hypothesis. If I [insert the action to be taken], how will it affect [describe one or more possible consequences of the action]?” Initially my general question may be; How can I change peoples behaviour so as to minimise resource usage? Using the above framework my question develops as follows; If I shift consumer behaviour from efficiency improvement through the consumption of advanced products to resource minimization through the monitoring of existing products, how will it affect our energy and climate
Planning evaluating implementing revisiting
analysing reporting sharing
identifying informing organising
problems? This question suggests an action and possible outcome but it is still vague in the description of the action and in the possible outcome. Further defining the question; If I analyse the rhetorics of resource consumption in what ways, if any, will the information about behavioural nuances help me re-design the ways in which we conduct everyday activities. Now it is clear what I intend to do and what a possible outcome might be. From here I can apply the action research framework defined loosely on RMIT’s Bachelor of Communication labsome wiki as the ‘look, think, act’ routine. “This is a simple yet powerful framework that enables people to commence their inquiries in a straightforward manner and build greater detail into procedures as the complexity of issues increases.” (labsome, 2009, Processes/Frameworks section, para. 1)
trialing collecting questioning
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71% of all scheme water collected is used in households
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The first step, look, involves reconnaissance or gathering of relevant information. This step of the project is conducted within the context of water consumption in Perth.
Lower than average rainfall has contributed to a sharp drop in stream flows into dams. This has resulted in substantial decreases in the average yield from dams and an increase in the reliance on groundwater and desalinated water supplies. Of all the scheme water consumed in WA, 71% of it is in the residential sector. Collectively households still have the greatest potential to make a significant contribution to reducing water use. In the Perth residential water use study 2008/09, it was found the average person in Perth used around 106 kilolitres of scheme water per year in the home remaining one of the highest water using cities in Australia (Water Corporation 2009). 52% of this scheme water was used indoors, away from the gaze of the public eye, with showering accounting for 22% of overall use. Current government initiatives to save water in the shower involve the implementation of water efficient shower heads (Perthâ€™s free water efficient showerhead replacement program). In 2008/09 water efficient shower heads accounted for 54% of all showerheads up
from 35% over the past 10 years. This partly reflects the Waterwise Rebate program, where almost 23,000 rebates where claimed for water efficient shower heads. However it is estimated that there are still over 450,000 inefficient showerheads in the metropolitan area. The study also found that the average shower duration was 6.7 minutes leaving further water and energy savings to be made by reducing the average shower duration to 4 minutes or less. This could potentially save up to 9 kilolitres per person, equating to 8% of overall usage. This would result in total savings of approximately 15.5 gigalitres of water per year in Perth.
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Looking at why people consume, Shove (2003, p. 406) offers a more holistic insight into how practices are formed privately and behind the bathroom door; “Focusing only on the discourse of bathing, that is on explicit and documented reasons why people wash, bathe and shower as they do, the dominant themes of the last hundred and fifty years afford contrasting justifications in terms of social significance (is bathing a marker of elite status or does it signify membership of “ordinary” society), therapeutic or preventative qualities (is bathing about working with nature or about keeping nature at bay), and positioning as pleasure or duty.” She goes on to develop a table that identifies three contrasting interpretations that seem to legitimise showering practices.
TABLE 1 Positioning Bathing
Positioning in terms of:
self and society
body and nature
pleasure and duty
Hydrotherapy and gentility
Sanitation and social order
Comfort, convenience and commodification
Bathing signals membership of an elite class
Bathing signals membership of civilised society
Bathing is about image and appearance
Focus on the curative aspects of immersion in water
Focus on the preventative aspects, soap and water required
Focus on curative aspects, especially restoring natural balance
Pleasure, ease of use, the spa in the home
Duty to protect own health and that of others
Bathing and showering embody different aspects of pleasure and duty
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This table suggest that at any point in time, routines and habits are (loosely) held in place by a distinctive combination of theories and justificatory concepts. There is a strong emphasis on image and appearance, on the curative and therapeutic properties of invigoration and on a distinctive blending of pleasure and duty.
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Through this preliminary research I have defined the problem to be investigated and the context in which it is set. I also describe what all the participants (government, business and individuals) have been doing. This step is merely fact finding and prepares a â€œrational basis for planning the third step, and for perhaps modifying again the overall planâ€? (Lewin 1948, p. 206).
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Over half of all household water user is consumed indoors
0 0 0 Early flow sensor concepts
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Water resource providers and policy makers are making demand more efficient
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The next step, think, forces me to explore; what is happening here? (analyse), and to interpret; how/why are things as they are? (theorise). Applying this to preliminary research leads to the analysis of current models.
According to Strengers (2011), up until recent years governments and utilities have faced the urban water shortage challenge through a ‘build and supply’ paradigm whereby resource engineers build more dams, pipes, power stations and power lines to meet escalating consumption. Now, in addition to increasing supply, water resource providers and policy makers have shifted to ‘demand management’ schemes through consumer education, consumption feedback, energy and water pricing schemes, and technologies designed to make demand more efficient. These existing attempts to promote water conservation have been loosely based around two broad ‘models’ of human behaviour (McKenzie-Mohr et al. 1995; Rolls 2011). The attitude-behaviour model, which is based around the idea that an individual’s behaviour, is determined by their attitudes towards a particular issue, such as conservation, and that their behaviours can be changed by influencing their attitudes. This model assumes that individuals may not be aware of the psychological fac-
tors at play in their decisions. The rationaleconomic model (also known as the rational choice model). This model is based on the assumption that, to influence conservation based decisions, a consumer requires only information relating to financial and performance advantages of alternative choices to enable them to act accordingly. This model assumes that users are aware of the relevant information (or are willing to seek it) and are aware of the consequential impacts of their choices.
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William Stanley Jevons
Finally I am brought to the last stage of the routine, act. Here I have a chance to formulate solutions. I can start by considering how and why practices change, and what we can do to facilitate further behaviour change.
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As Strengers (2011, p. 39) states, “demand management mainly focuses on making existing ‘needs’ more efficient, rather than questioning their transforming existence.” During 19th Century, economist and logician William Stanley Jevons found that better steam engines made coal a more cost effective fuel source which lead to the use of more steam engines which increased total coal consumption. The growth of use consumed any resource saved through efficiency. In making demand more efficient we may see temporary savings in water consumption (Australia’s water consumption has fallen considerable since the introduction of strategies such as water restrictions, targets and efficiency measures (Harper, 2006)), but due to this ‘rebound’ effect, users may respond by consuming more. We need to shift our focus to that of consumption behaviour.
Traditionally consumption behaviour has been largely treated as a “static phenomenon or as something that can be predicted and managed in it’s course and direction.” (Strengers, 2011, p. 40) However behaviour follows neither a static nor predictable path. As Fogg (2009, p. 1) states, “behaviour is a product of three factors: motivation, ability and triggers...for a user to perform a target behaviour, he or she must be sufficiently motivated, have the ability to perform the behaviour and be triggered to perform the behaviour.” All three factors must be present at the same instant for the behaviour to occur. To develop a solution that focuses on monitoring user behaviour, all three factors must be considered.
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Peak Motivation Trough Motivation
M O T I VAT I O N
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Previous attempts to manage water consumption behaviour have assumed that motivation is always up or can be boosted up. Instead, Fogg states that motivation operates in a wave like manner with an individual experiencing periods of peak motivation, where they are temporarily able to do hard things, and periods of trough motivation, where they are temporarily unable to do hard things. As a result motivation levels can be coupled with ability to form a relationship. As the motivation wave goes up people have the ability to do harder behaviours and as it goes down theyâ€™ll no longer be able to do those hard behaviours.
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Fogg outlines three categories of hard behaviours. First there are hard behaviours that structure future behaviour i.e. setting up a schedule or default. A user should have to work hard to avoid that behaviour in the future. Next there is hard behaviours that reduce future barriers. This should make future behaviours easier to do. Finally there are hard behaviours that increase capability. Here you are not structuring or reducing barriers to future behaviour as you are training the user to become more capable to do that hard thing in the future. What you donâ€™t do at moments of high motivation is get people to perform simple, one-off behaviours. Instead these moments of high motivation should transition people so future behaviours become easier to do. Fogg also outlines three categories of easy behaviour. These include structured behaviour (defaults that are already prearranged, tiny habits (little simple things that you do on a regular basis that require virtually no effort at the time) and baby steps (tiny things that you can do). When motivation goes down all of these easy
behaviours are still possible. When we create products and people feel like they have failed we have done them a big disservice. What we have done is make them less capable of succeeding in the future. What we need to realise that sustaining motivation over a long period of time is unrealistic. We need to help or facilitate success at the most desirable behaviour that match motivation levels. Using this as a framework I can start to devise a new paradigm in which â€˜intelligentâ€™ devices can facilitate behaviour change.
M O T I VAT I O N
A target behaviour will only be achieved if a user has the right amount of motivation and ability.
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At this point I must state that by no means was this process linear. The organisation of various steps is purely to provide you, the reader, with a cohesive document. The modification of the original question is only possible through completion of this planning. Thus this process is conducted whilst working backward through the routines, repeating processes, revising procedures, rethinking interpretations, leapfrogging steps or stages, and sometimes making radical changes in direction. However what is important is the undertaking of a reflection. According to Riel (2010, Final Reflection section, para. 1), â€œthis is where you will take stock of your overall learning process during your action research. It might be helpful to think of a reflection as a set of connections between the past, present and future. If this section is only a summary of events that happened, it is inadequate as a reflection. A reflection provides a deep understanding of why events occurred as they did, and how those outcomes helped you address your over arching question. At the conclusion of a good reflection, you should ideally know more than you did when you began. If you have not gained new insights about the problem and your problem-solving action, it is likely that you are only summarizing. Reflection is a powerful learning experience and an essential part of action research.â€?
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Monitoring everyday practices
Resource CONSUMPTION & EVERYDAY PRACTICES Australia is the worlds driest inhabited continent. Yet, on a per capita basis, we are one of the highest consumers of water in the world. Lower than average rainfall has contributed to a sharp drop in stream flows into dams. This has resulted in substantial decrease in the average yield from dams and an increase in the reliance of groundwater and desalinated water supplies. Even with a decrease in consumption over the last 10 Years, Perth still remains one of the highest water using cities in Australia.
From the late 19th Century to the first three-quarters of the 20th Century Australia adopted a ‘build and supply’ model, whereby resource engineers provide additional pipes and infrastructure to meet escalating consumption
The overriding ethos is one of meeting what are taken to be nonnegotiable consumer ‘needs’ production
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From the last half of the 20th Century and early 21st Century models have shifted towards a ‘demand management’ system through consumption feedback, financial incentives, market mechanisms, education and efficiency measures
There is a clear gap between consumer beliefs on individual responsibility to conserve energy and day-to-day usage behaviour
In focusing on either empowering consumers to reduce their demand or designing more efficient supply systems and household technologies, demand managers reinforce a production/consumption divide and overlook reasons why people use resources, how these ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ are constituted and how they are changing within the broader context of everyday life where day-to-day practices, such as bathing, cooking, laundering and house cleaning, take place.
Underlying premise of my investigation becomes the management of what people do and why they do it. In doing so new forms of expectation and ‘normality’ may emerge that appear just as mundane and inconsequential as the ones we take for granted.
Devise a list of prescriptive practices that should be recommended or enforced
mind the gap Identify opportunities for assisting with the re configuration of practice components
71% Of all scaheme water collected is used in households
The average person in Perth uses around 106 kilolitres of scheme water pear year in the home.
Over half of all household water use is consumed indoors
The problem is that we view water conversation behaviour as a set of broad models. First, the rational-ecenomic model is based on the assumption that, when provided with the ‘right’ information about the costs and benefits of consumption, individuals will make rational and autonomous choices that result in more efficient resource use. This assumes that users are aware of the relevant information, or are willing to seek it, and are aware of the consequential impacts of their choices. Second the attitude-behaviour model is abased around the idea that an individual's behaviour is determined by their attitudes towards a particular issue, such as water conversation, and that their behaviours can be changed by influencing their attitudes. This model, more often, assumes that individuals may not be aware of psychological factors at play in their decisions.
In order to understand and influence water conservation we need to focus on the internal and external influences. When we model behaviour as a function of process and characteristics which are internal to the individual we focus on attitudes, values, habits, personal norms, psychological motivations, differing needs for status and identity and emotions.
Approaches which study behaviour as a function of processes and characteristics external to the individual focus on factors such as fiscal and regulatory incentives, institutional constraints and social practices. Important external influences are the rewards and penalties related to the behaviour, the behaviours and attitudes of others, the prevailing social norms and positive or negative experiences related to the behaviour.
TOTAL OVER TIME
PRACTICE OVER HABIT
During 19th Century, economist and logician William Stanley Jevons found that better steam engines made coal a more cost effective fuel source which lead to the use of more steam engines which increased total coal consumption. The growth of use consumed any resource saved through conservation. Instead of monitoring time a new paradigm in which we co-monitor resources and behaviours needs to evolve.
Habit is a product of social history - of education, upbringing and social experiences. The problem is that habits now start to define our practices. To define habit through practice we need to collectively reconfigure the material infrastructures, rules and/or common understandings of existing practices or facilitate the exchange of practical knowledge about how to undertake them. Through routine performance, new practices can be sustained and transformed into habit.
Feedback needs to engage with the changing expectations and parameters of normal everyday life. By focusing on what can be counted, saved and shaved (litres), rather than the meanings, feedback may mask and legitimize the practices water consumption implicates. A new system, where perceived ‘needs’ to maintain certain standards and the ritual associated with showering are fundamentally engaged, needs to be developed.
Mid semester Poster
SCHEME WATER USE
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Australia, home to over 22,330,000 people
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Australia is the driest inhabited continent in the world. As a result current water resources face growing pressure from an increase in households and consumption levels resulting in widespread urban water shortages. Both governments and utilities have developed models to help face these challenges; From the late 19th Century to the first three-quarters of the 20th Century Australia adopted a ‘build and supply’ model, whereby resource engineers provide additional pipes and infrastructure to meet escalating consumption. The last half of the 20th Century and early 21st Century saw the shift towards a ‘demand management’ system through consumption feedback, financial incentives, market mechanisms, education and efficiency measures.
This has been good as a starting point but we have now reached a point where a new paradigm is needed. A closer analysis of both these models reveals an overriding ethos of meeting what are taken to be non-negotiable consumer ‘needs’. What we are left with is a relationship in which the utilities’ role and responsibility is to maintain and provide supply, while consumers’ primary role and fundamental right is to consume. In focusing on either empowering consumers to reduce their demand (Queensland’s target 140 campaign and Melbourne’s target 155 campaign) or designing more efficient supply systems and household technologies (Perth’s free water efficient showerhead replacement program), we reinforce this production/consumption relationship that overlooks reasons why people use resources, how these ‘needs’ and ‘wants’ are constituted and how they can change within the broader context of everyday life where day-to-day practices, such as bathing, cooking, laundering and house cleaning take place. There is a clear gap between consumer beliefs on individual responsibility to conserve water and day-to-day usage behaviour.
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Focusing on this gap between intention and behaviour, I intend to develop an intelligent device that facilitates the management of everyday usage in the shower using Foggâ€™s (2009) behavioural model as a framework. Through my reflection I was able to realise that part of me is driven by the construction of a tactile object. As a result the nature of the project will be driven by a technical product outcome in mind.
MIND THE GAP
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There is a gap conservation responsibility and day-to-day usage gap
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First a trigger, be it audible, textual or physical, needs to be identified. The trigger is something that tells people to perform a behaviour now, and without it the target behaviour will never performed. According to Fogg (2009, p. 3) successful triggers have three characteristics; â€œFirst we notice the trigger. Second we associate the trigger with a target behaviour. Third, the trigger happens when we are both motivated and able to perform the ability.â€? Fogg goes onto identify three types of triggers. Firstly a trigger can come as a spark. If users lack motivation to perform a target behaviour, a spark can designed in tandem with a motivational element. For example text or graphics could, compare user behaviour to his/her community, igniting feelings of social acceptance/ rejection, highlight behaviour consequence, igniting feelings of hope/fear, or couple behaviour with rewards or economic data, igniting feelings of pleasure/pain.
Secondly a trigger can be a facilitator. The goal of a facilitator is to trigger the behaviour while also making it easier to do. This could include facilitating the user to lower the temperature or duration of the shower through a one click process. Like sparks, facilitators can be embodied in text or graphics. Finally a trigger can be a signal. A signal acts as a reminder such as a traffic light that turns red or green. It does not motivate but simply indicates when a behaviour is appropriate. Through a signal a user could be reminded to turn off the shower when an appropriate time is reached or lower the heat if current temperature settings are not required. The trigger forms the most important part of the intelligent device. With the trigger located inside the shower we can facilitate the user to perform a target behaviour at the kairos the opportune moment to persuade. Triggers can be coupled with behaviour to form immediate responses to water consumption practices.
M O T I VAT I O N
Facilitator high motivation low ability
Signal high motivation high ability
Spark low motivation high ability
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The next major factor in our framework is ability. According to Fogg (2009), to increase a userâ€™s ability, itâ€™s not about teaching people new things or training them for improvement rather, we must make the behaviour easier or simpler to do. First element of simplicity is time. If the target behaviour requires time which is not available, then the behaviour is not simple. For example if it requires time to pause a shower routine and then wait for the water to heat up again, the behaviour is not simple because the user has other demands on their time.
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Time is an element of simplicity
M Next element is money. For people with limited financial resources, a target behaviour that costs less money will seem simpler than one that does. For example if people are aware that it requires more money to have a hotter shower than that behaviour is not simple. Some people will sometimes use money to save time.
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E N O Money is an element of simplicity
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The third element of simplicity is physical effort. A behaviour that requires physical effort may not be simple. For example if a user wants to pause a shower and must turn the taps off and then fiddle with settings to resume their shower at the same temperature, that behaviour is not simple. However, if the user can press a single button to pause and resume while maintaining constant levels of heat, thatâ€™s simpler because less physical effort is exerted.
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Physical effort is an element of simplicity
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The next element is brain cycles. If the target behaviour requires us to think hard about the target behaviour then it is not simple. To collect cold water at the start of the shower requires the user to remember a bucket, something which is easily forgotten when their mind is consumed with other issues. Thus the target behaviour is not simple and unlikely to be performed.
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Brain cycles is an element of simplicity
The fifth element of simplicity is social deviance. Social deviance is going against the norm, breaking the rules of society. If a behaviour goes against the social norm, then that behaviour is no longer simple. A user will find it simpler to complete a shower that is less than or equal to the community average than one that is more.
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I V E
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Social deviance is an element of simplicity
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The final element of simplicity is routine. People tend to find behaviours simpler if they are routine, activities they do over and over again. An easy routine may be to have a shower that is 1 degree cooler than the last. If the user does this little thing on a regular basis that requires virtually no effort, over time, it will grow to itâ€™s natural size; success leads to success. This success gives them motivation to do harder things.
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Routine is an element of simplicity
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This brings me onto the final factor of the framework. Ultimately we can make the behaviour as simple or easy enough to perform and trigger the user at the most opportune moment. However all of this is to no avail if the user lacks motivation. Motivational levels are constantly cycling through areas of peak motivation, periods where we are temporarily able to do hard things, and areas of trough motivation, periods where we can not do hard things, forming a wave like phenomenon. As motivational levels go up people can do harder behaviours, however constantly asking people to perform practices which require high levels of motivation seems unrealistic. Furthermore, why ask people to adopt a water conservation practice that they will certainly fail at? Not only does this make us feel like a failure but, in doing so, we are less capable of succeeding in the future. I am not proposing making every water conservation practice easier and more capable of completion. Instead, through intelligent devices, we can become aware
of user motivational levels and harness whatever motivation exists at that moment. UltimatelyÂ you can always get somebody to do something if it is easy enough. The job of the designer is to make the user succeed at the most sustainable behaviour that matches their current motivation level.
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Success gives you motivation to do harder things in life
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Flow sensor with adaptive interface
A R T E FA C T
After identifying this framework what will this intelligent devices look like? How do you design for these kinds of solutions and what do you need to put it together? To answer these questions I am using Fabricantâ€™s (2010) Design for Awareness model to break the artefact down into four key elements; collect, process, report and reflect.
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Design for Awareness (Fabricant, 2010)
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When we talk about the collection side of the device we focus on data collection or technological reconnaissance of user profiles, lifestyle and shower activity. The beginning of this involves user recognition, a way to ascertain who is using the shower and their consumption history. This could be done through detection of pre-existing personal smart devices, personal chips or through user input. From here we need to identify motivation levels. Intelligent devices may be able to monitor user lifestyle patterns and start to predict trends in levels of motivation. For example by simply inputting information about personal events such as a friends birthday into a calendar on a smart phone, an intelligent device may be able to then predict motivation levels the next day based on past experience. Likewise, motivation levels could be manually assigned by the user. Throughout the shower a variety of sensors can collect data relating to water consumption habits and rituals. Temperature levels can be easily collected through a simple digital temperature probe.
Flow rate is also monitored through a simple water flow sensor. Coupled with the duration of the shower accurate measurements on volume usage can be deduced.
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Smart phones can identify users
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Next, to give this device intelligence we need a central processor, a means to process information collected throughout the shower and prescribe a system of actions or solutions. It is not so much the existence of the processor but what it does that makes this device intelligent. The collection phase allows the device to intelligently prescribe shower length and temperature based upon data from past experiences, be it from the broader community or the current user, corresponding to current motivation levels. With this intelligence comes a wide range of possibilities. Traditional heating methods have an associated standby heat loss whereby heated water is allowed to cool through storage, wasting all its heat and energy. Current showering methods allow this cold water to fall unused whilst waiting for desired temperature levels to be reached. To further boost the efficiency of consumption habits water that does not meet the prescribed temperature levels can be stored in a separate reservoir awaiting incorporation into the showering cycle when required.
Furthermore, shower cycles can be paused without the worry of having to re-set temperatures dramatically reducing the effort, time and thought processes involved. This suddenly makes water efficient practices such as â€˜Navy showersâ€™ more achievable by decreasing the level of ability required.
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Intelligent device allows cold water to be collected and stored
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At the core of this device lies its ability to report. This feedback provides the user with a way of seeing what they are doing in situations and understanding it. In order to be successful the device needs to make the information the most salient to the user. As Brown (2012, Eco-Friendly Dishwasher section, para. 4) puts it, â€œinformation is interesting and valuable...people are interested in learning, but more importantly, they are often interested in the results of learning.â€? Building an adaptive interface into the product can enable the user to become more efficient and better informed, highlighting the invisible flows of water built-in to pipes, taps and drains. However, by focusing on what can be counted, saved and shaved (litres), rather than the meaning of it, feedback may mask and legitimise the practices water consumption implicates. Through an adaptive interface data can be combined, compared, analysed and thus turned into more digestible meaningful information in the form of visual representations and trends.
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Water consumption is graphically visualised
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Finally the most important element of this device is to allow the user to reflect. Here is where the change occurs. It involves a combination of all the three preceding elements coupled with a trigger to facilitate behavioural change. Users are suddenly given the ability to actively engage with water conservation efforts. Water temperature and shower length can be offset against community trends providing comprehensive feedback on resource use. As Fabricant (2010, p. 50) states, “people don’t like to set ‘policies’ for themselves...and we’re not very good at following them even when we try.” A simple light or sound could indicate when desired lengths are reached with a symbol such as a smiley face indicating more sustainable temperature levels. Furthermore conservation efforts can be broadcasted via a social network. “The most effective triggers come from other people.” (Fabricant, 2010, p. 54) Humans are so aware of standing out that it has a tendency to magnify our efforts (e.g. the classic tomato sauce stain on the shirt). By broadcasting conservation success, no
matter how small, we are facilitating a natural growth which hopefully leads to further and bigger success. Furthermore, by coupling water conservation efforts with a game, this device has the chance to evoke feelings of pleasure and instil an essence of fun into the practice. As CEO of Striiv, Dave Wang, explains, “gaming mechanics are a proven way to change behaviour. Pretend there was no game [in FarmVille] and there was just a spreadsheet that changed as you clicked buttons. It would be no fun and no one would ever do it. But you just put this game layer on top, and all of a sudden people can’t stop." (Schwartz, 2012, para. 4) Suddenly we have the ability to make conservation addictive. What emerges is truly exciting; a paradigm where water conservation isn't just about fleeting occurrences of high motivation but a routine in which water conservation efforts constantly grow.
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Water conservation efforts are published to a social network
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As Winston Churchill famously once said, â€œThere is no doubt whatever about the influence of architecture and structure upon human character and action. We make our buildings and afterwards they make us. They regulate the course of our lives.â€? If we are to march into tomorrow with a renewed sense of optimism, a new paradigm must evolve. Intelligent devices have the ability to encourage and suggest at the most opportune moment creating a fascinating birthplace for a new era of sustainable action. Products are no longer inanimate objects that propagate wasteful use. Instead they should facilitate the sustainable consumption of resources through education, motivation and feedback.
The device generated through this documented research tackles issues that are both broad and engaging. It leaves me with a sense of excitement and enthusiasm for what is to come. The engineering of this product and its associated ecosystem will be by-no-means an easy task. It will most likely require another reflective piece no less daunting than this. However, what I do have is a foundation from which will flow my artefact; a device that has evolved through a cyclical process of action and reflection. More importantly, a device that reflects the evolution of me.
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Brown, A. (2012) Intersection of the Physical and Digital Worlds. Retrieved May 15th, 2012 from UX Magazine Web site: http://uxmag.com/articles/intersection-of-the-physical-anddigital-worlds. Fabricant, R. (2010). Design for Awareness. Retrieved May 15, 2012 from Web site: http://www.slideshare.net/frogdesign/design-for-awareness.
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Fogg, B. (2009) A Behavior Model for Persuasive Design. Persuasive 2009: Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Persuasive Technology held in Claremont, California, 26th - 29th April 2009. Harper, P. (2006) Australiaâ€™s environment issues and trends 2006. Canberra, ACT: Australian Bureau of Statistics. labsome (2009) Action Research. Retrieved 29th February 29th, 2012 from RMIT, Bachelor of Communication Honours Web site: http://labsome.rmit.edu.au/liki/index.php/Action_ research. Lewin, K. (1948) Resolving social conflicts; selected papers on group dynamics. Gertrude W. Lewin (ed.). New York: Harper & Row. MacKenzie-Mohr, D., Nemiroff, L. S., Beers, L. & Desmeraie, S. (1995) Determinants of responsible environmental behaviour. Journal of Social Issues, 51 (4), 139-156.
Riel, M. (2010) Understanding Action Research, Center For Collaborative Action Research. Retrieved February 29th, 2012 from Pepperdine University Web site: http://cadres. pepperdine.edu/ccar/define.html. Rolls, J. M. (2001) A Review of Strategies Promoting Energy Related Behaviour Change. Proceedings of the International Solar Energy Society Solar World Congress held in Adelaide, South Australia, 25th November - 2nd December 2001. Schwartz, A. (2012). Using The Addictive Power Of Gaming To Make You Exercise More. Retrieved May 15, 2012 from FastCo.EXIST Web site: http://www.fastcoexist.com/1679735/ using-the-addictive-power-of-gaming-to-make-you-exercise-more. Shove, E. (2003). Converging Conventions of Comfort, Cleanliness and Convenience. Journal of Consumer Policy, 26 (4), 395-418. Strengers, Y. (2011). Beyond Demand Management: Co-managing energy and water practice within Australian households. Policy Studies, 32 (1), 35-58. Water Coporation (2009) Perth Residential Water Use Study 2008/2009. Perth, WA: Author.
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Charles Skender was born in Perth, Australia in 1990. Undertaking the later part of his secondary education at Hale High School, he studied Literature, Applicable Mathematics, Calculus, Geography, Physics and Art; a decision which has undoubtedly procured his innovative approach. In 2008 Charles enrolled in a Bachelor of Environmental Design (Architecture) in which he obtained a high distinction average. Unsatisfied with the level in which he was able to maximise the breadth of his previous studies, Charles moved to Melbourne in 2009 to embark on his current degree, Bachelor of Industrial Design, at RMIT. Over his three years of study he has strived to immerse himself in as many experiences as possible developing a key design philosophy of sustainability through innovation. His projects attempt to display simplicity, nostalgia and humour while at the same time creating a new user experience.
2008 - 2009 | BA Environmental Design (Architecture) UWA, Perth, WA 2009 to Present | BA Industrial Design RMIT, Melbourne, VIC 2011 | Studied Product Design abroad NTU, Nottingham, UK 2011 | Undertook internship at Catalyst, Melbourne, VIC 2012 | Undertook internship at Hanseatic Marine, Perth, WA
Facilitating behaviour change through motivation monitoring