2 Ways to Change Human Behavior (or Getting People to do What You Want Them to Do)
Design is all about people. More specifically, it is often about changing the behavior of people. To create a successful retail architecture destination, town center destination entertainment destination or resort destination, you need to change the behavioral patterns of people. You need to influence them to choose to go to your destination instead of another.
There are two ways to change human behavior: we can force people to act as we want (the IKEA approach) or we can design a place, based on an understanding of human nature, that will encourage people to intuitively decide to do as we would have them to do (Apple’s approach). IKEA’s approach creates resentment and drives folks to find a shortcut, a way to game the system. Apple’s approach creates devoted followers and evangelists who happily choose to do as Apple likes….. and bring their friends.
So don’t ask designers to think like bureaucrats or politicians, don’t ask them to force people to do as you want. Don’t ask them to think like designers, either. Designers typically design based on the way people ought to think (in their esteemed opinion), not based on the way people actually think, on what they want, what they need.
Tell your designers to spend time with people – real people with families, bills and clothes that aren’t black. Tell them to do as Apple has done – design products that real people want. Require your designers to design for a quality of life as real people, not just affluent singles and eccentric artists, but real, normal people, define quality of life.
Does that mean designers cannot change the way people live? Of course not. Effecting change is generally our primary task. It means that rather than forcing change, smart designers create change that people want, buildings and places and cities that people want, that will enhance THEIR lifestyle – and are environmentally responsible. People were, after all, satisfied with Windows and dumb phones until Apple created an operating system and smart phone that people wanted.
Designers tend to define quality of life as we think it should be, design to that standard, then wonder why so few live in the worlds we create. A Hobbesian cynic defines quality of life based on the self interest of people as THEY define it, and designs so that change is in the self interest of real people. A Hobbesian cynic is wise. Works for smart phones and laptops…..Cloud Lake Resort, Chengdu, China by GlobalDesign Workshop