Behavior change it is, if you are wondering what’s hot in the consumer space. I see this as a game changer , with organizations now looking beyond satisfying the explicit needs of users. Simply put, as a product or a services company, you have the power to change the behavior of your users. Apple, Google and Facebook are great examples of how well they understood the behavior modeling and persuasive design and successfully applied it in their products. Numerous products such as FitBit and DailyFeats-Jawbone UP use similar concepts to make people fit and healthy, bringing about a change in their long term habits, resulting in better health and lifestyles. We will talk about these products in the coming posts, in detail, but in this post I focus on the ‘persuasion and behavior design’ boot camp that I attended recently.
Persuasion and Behavior Design Boot Camp by Prof. B.J.Fogg
Last week I participated in the 2-day Persuasion Boot Camp held at San Francisco, USA. The workshop was conducted by Prof. B.J.Fogg, Director of Persuasive Technologies Lab, Stanford University. It was a great experience, learning directly from Prof.Fogg, who is an eminent thought-leader on this subject. In this post, I will briefly touch upon the next 2 paragraphs with my views and then give a few snippets and key takeaways from the workshop. I wish to share with you the learning from this workshop and also my experience applying it. Watch this space for interesting stuff to come in the future posts. For complete set of photos from this workshop, please visit www.facebook.com/texavi
Essence of Boot Camp in few words
I give below a few points briefly on how the workshop was conducted, why I think its different from others and the important takeaways from the boot camp. To start with, the following one-liners summarize the learning.
- Its all about users’ behaviors, not just product’s features
- Solutions, not just problems
- Focus on creating solutions quickly
- Ideate, initiate & Iterate
- This model aligns with the agile development and lean startup
Myths and misconceptions, shattered
The workshop helped address a few myths that we have about product design, development, human psychology and behavior design. I mention below a few misconceptions prevalent in the industry that we should be wary of .
- Blind trust in excessive academic research
- Focus on features is important for products
- Attempts to motivating people on a continuous basis without simplifying the tasks
- Focusing on attitudes, instead of behaviors.
- Everything big is good – big ideas and big initiatives are always successful
- Its difficult to make people adopt to new behaviors
Great content and context
The workshop was refreshingly different not only in the content but also in the context and delivery. Open-house discussions and interactive brain-storming replaced the more traditional ways of presentations. I can say that the highlight of the boot camp was that there was little or almost no usage of computers and Powerpoint presentations. Going by its apt title, the boot camp did its job aiming to make the participants experts in the specific areas. Prof. Fogg chose the topics very carefully and was even more meticulous in their delivery. He ensured that the core concepts are registered in the minds of boot campers using intensive hands-on sessions and role-plays rather than relying on typical pedagogic methodology.
Nice ambiance and a perfect setting
Far from the maddening buzz of the urban landscape, the workshop was conducted in serene ambience. Held in a beautiful guest house located by the riverside, the place was the best fit for learning and sharing . Also Healdsburg is a place surrounded with fertile land and so there is no dearth of natural vegetation. Every household here grows vegetables and fruits and no wonder you get the best quality natural products, direct from nature. This place also boasts of some fine vineyards and wineries around. All of these provide a great backdrop and a wonderful setting for the workshop.
And to wrap it up…
- Good use of different rooms and sometimes outdoors kept the workshop alive and participants active
- Outdoor activities and exercises were nice, thanks to the pleasant weather
- Perfect blend of individual and group exercises made the sessions insightful and interactive, as well
- Assignments right after discussions ensured that we applied the concepts to understand better
- Interactions with alumni and previous bootcampers helped understand the value of the boot camp
- Last but not the least, nice food and to top it all, a grand dinner arranged by the local wine trader