Elon Musk is a master of behaviour change. His ability to set goals and reassess them towards a final solution to a wicked problem is pretty awesome. I’m sure he hires some brilliant folks too, it’s what smart people do 😉 I’d like to invite you take your time and go read the article which so evocatively and succinctly captures the magic of decision making by a master such a Musk. It is so craftily captured by waitbutwhy in this awesome drawing of how Elon makes things transform from wants, to goals, to strategies.
Goals and strategies, its always been about the motivations and the moves needed to execute on them. The path of behaviour change is a strategy that many of us apply to ourselves, our tribes, and into the world. Always striving to have a growth mindset we often pursue a series of behaviour changing paths. In obtaining external goals we also see individuals and organisations seeking to change and influence behaviour for the greater good or for their own gains.
The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting. – Sun Tzu
How might we subdue our own change challenges by applying Tzu’s principle of not fighting?
We might do so by understanding the motivations for behaviour change on individual and group scales. I’ll be focusing on the individual this week and in preparation I wrote a bit about how motivations tie into the structure of behaviour change success. I learned that insight is drawn from the source of desires. The ‘why’ behind a motivation can make our brain prioritise burning the requisite calories in order to sustain it. Today, on the plane on the way to lovely Portland I hand wrote this wee piece about behaviour change from another frame.
Have you ever been on the receiving end of a thoughtless interactor? Have you ever been approached by a person whose thoughtlessness in their communication to you created irritation? An interaction that simply bamboozled you in its obliviousness and immediately annoyed you? Someone who just made you shake your head in disgust and ask:
- Why are you emailing, texting, or calling me at inopportune moments?
- Why are you sending massively verbose documents and requiring feedback via email?
- Why do you think that I don’t want to interact with you?
As a thoughtless interactor could it be that you are on the receiving end of these negative client/customer* situations?
- Because you haven’t taken the time to get to know me enough to gauge how I will take your message. Stop charging ahead with what you want from me before you understand me.
- Because you keep making more work for me. Stop adding things to my to-do list and make it easy for me to talk to you.
- Because I don’t like your thoughtless approach to getting what you want from me. Stop and think before you create an interaction.
Basic human interaction design principles centre around lessening the ‘cognitive burden’ on the client or customer of the interaction. Many daily interactions could be better with a small dose of human interaction common sense!
Basic interaction design principles would encourage us all to:
- Understand the client/customer & their world
- Know your role in interacting with the client / customer
- Craft your messaging, medium, & response required from the client / customer to fit or exceed their expectations
- Follow through & follow-up to create follower-ship (the making of advocates)
- Be fun, different, & a breath of fresh air (apply the power of positivity)
Let’s all be thoughtful interactors! Huzzah!
*Remember that everyone you interact with is your client or customer in one way or another. When in doubt follow the chain of customer-ship.
The cumulative effect of design is epic. I am not going into the can be, should be, would be. Simply the cumulative effect of design is epic.
When you first glance at something and you instantly understand it then it is legendary. All that Apple hub-a-lub is exactly what it is because there was an epic effect created by layers and layers of design, technology, and human insight. It is the insight I am interested in most of all.
I am obsessed with design for humans and interactivity. I am specifically trained an focused on the understanding of people and their needs and motivations, but because this is a business world we live in I am spending more and more time integrating what customers want and the businesses goals. It sounds so simple as I write it down here, but it is not.
Business goals and customer wants are simple enough to reconcile when you are directly catering to you customers in order to extract the cash, but modern business is ever so much more complicated. For example what is your “customers” are really your employees? You want them to perform their task as efficiently as possible but they hate the tools you provide to accomplish the task. Your customers could be the volunteers who work with your organization. How do you get people to stay engaged and happy working for free?
It is the cumulative effect of design that makes software seem like your buddy, your work seem like play, and makes your days bearable and sometimes if we are lucky better for us all.
I found a great article today at 3quarksdaily titled At the Intersections of Design, Ethnography and Global Governance By Aditya Dev Sood. I highly recommend reading the whole extensive article.
Here is my favorite excerpt:
Both Design and Ethnography require one to look at the world in a visionary way: to see with one’s mind’s eye the subtle and hidden relationships that are not always visible on the surfaces, but discerned in the interaction of people and things. To see the way things are, however, is not precisely the same as to be able to see how they could be. I often think of the ideal dynamic between ethnographers and designers as akin to the heat cycle of the internal combustion engine. For the process to work right, we have to be able to move from people to product and back again, but as of now, we mostly train people to become virtuosos of material-cultural production with an amateur or folk knowledge of culture and social behavior. Or conversely, we train specialists in observing culture, who are painstakingly shy of actually producing new cultural artifacts in the world. To extend the metaphor of the heat cycle, this means that the sum of Design and Anthropology can be plotted as a line that courses back and forth without creating an area, a polygon, corresponding to new value. In the professional sphere, of course, designers and ethnographers do work together to create such value, but they must first learn one another’s languages and ways of working.