Conservation is a good idea, but mainstream people don’t consciously conserve—they consume at home and work, without even thinking about it, in pursuit of comfort and convenience in their lives, focused on their life tasks. Design for conservation should keep these points in mind:
- Above all, people want products that meet their needs. Green features are not most peoples’ priority, only a secondary delighter. So don’t count on them to pay more for the green attributes of your product or service.
Solution: Understand peoples’ essential requirements for your product or service, then design more sustainable solutions that meet them.
- People don’t want more complexity in their lives. They don’t want to have to think about tradeoffs when buying or using things; they don’t want to do research or go to a website for a rebate. They want simple choices with minimum fuss.
Solution: Do the work for them—encourage conservation with minimum choices, in the moment, at the point of use. People leave products at their default settings, so have defaults favor conservation.
- Habits are hard to break. People may be favorably disposed toward conservation messages, but it’s much less likely they are actually adopting conservation behaviors. Lasting behavior change really only comes through a connection to peoples’ values and participation in community-wide action.
Solution: Appeal to naturally conserving values—no waste, be frugal, no toxins—while finding lower-impact ways to address consumptive values such as wanting bright lights on for safety. Identify the communities that matter and cultivate its influencers—trade professionals, religious leaders, media personalities—to motivate new actions.
Start by gathering field data about your target population
With customer data we can help you understand and change human behavior and experience at the point of action – when habit can be broken through product and systems designs, identify which communities are best to target, who the influencers are, and what behaviors are the best to target for change.
Whether you are a utility, a business, a consortium of businesses, or even a business with a green line of products, a deep understanding of your customer population will give you the data you need to vision a strategy that will work, the technology to support it, and the messaging to communicate it.