Design for behavior change

In one of my early blog entries (“Small car? Half priced parking!”) I talked about finding the right incentive to change people’s behavior. The case was cheaper parking for smaller cars.
Now, it seems, there’s an emerging field called ‘design for behavior change’. This field touches upon the exact same thing: finding the right incentives as a motivation for a new behavior.
This is very exciting stuff – not only when looking at mass behavior change (like getting kids to wash their hands in kindergartens and schools) but also looking to change the behavior of your customers.

A good example is something that has existed in web sales for a very long time: sites giving away free shipping if your purchases reaches a certain amount. I for one, find myself filling the basket until I reach the free shipping limit, and to me this proves, that it’s possible to work with incentives that motivate certain purchase behavior.
I’m sure this could be exploited in many new ways especially if combined with some of the social media services.

But I think there’s another part of ‘design for behavior change’ that could be equally exiting. It could be a great mission for product design companies to make products that have built in incentives towards the purchase (e.g. the purchase contributes to global causes, or to local community causes like a new playground) and at the same time motivates the customers to a certain new behavior through the design of the products (e.g. doing something great with your kid, getting more exercise, reduce waste or conserve energy). Of course the product should also fill a need and meet a market, but that goes without saying.

Maybe this could be a path to success for some?