Have you ever noticed the phenomenon of the overnight sensation? Suddenly an actor has a starring role in a blockbuster film and becomes famous. A writer signs a huge contract for a debut novel, and people queue up to buy or borrow it. Or an obscure musician releases a chart-topping album and suddenly you can’t escape their songs on the radio. One thing I’ve noticed more and more is that from the perspective of the artist, these sudden successes aren’t sudden at all. Often they come after years of working and making the right connections that lead to the one big shot. The truth is: Overnight success is a myth. Continue reading Seizing the Opportunity: Career Advice from the Boss
Many times in life you might not be someone’s first choice for a job or a role. Often we may not even know it. You rarely know if someone else was offered your job before you were. You may have gotten your place in university off a wait list. It can feel demoralizing to realize that you weren’t the initial favorite for something you wanted to do or be. The good news is, with time, what was once someone’s second choice can start to feel like the inevitable and only choice. Behold: Continue reading Second Place? Don’t Sweat It
OK, so maybe Stephen Colbert wrote this list of tips for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart interviewers working on field pieces and not people like me who are doing field research for less entertaining purposes. No big deal. I read this list of advice in The Daily Show (The Book): An Oral History and knew it was just as useful for my type of research as it is for theirs. This is great advice for developing a rapport with someone, getting good information, and bringing a conversation back to a point. So without further ado: Continue reading Advice for Field Research From Stephen Colbert
It may seem like a minor thing, but visual displays of corporate values can help employees to internalize those ideals as they go about their work. I’m very interested in the cultural artifacts that make corporate values apparent in the physical workspace–much as Johnson & Johnson does with the display of its Credo in its offices around the world. While having highly visible values doesn’t guarantee that employees live into them, it does help to socialize those values and ensure a base level of familiarity. And when everyday behaviors do align with the physical artifacts that are the topmost level of organizational culture, that’s when the magic happens. Continue reading Making Corporate Values Visible: Livestrong
At this week’s Habit Summit in San Francisco, I talked about the role of engagement in creating new habits. I called my talk “Highway to the Habit Zone” not just to reference Kenny Loggins, but to emphasize that if you don’t engage people in an experience, they won’t experience enough repeated exposure to the cue-response-reward cycle to truly develop a habit. Continue reading Engagement Powers the Habit Cycle
As someone whose primary mode of transportation is on foot, I’m probably more annoyed than most by people who don’t clean up after their dogs. A day stepping in dog poop is pretty much a day ruined. That said, I get why it happens sometimes. A lot of areas don’t have convenient trash cans, and people may not have plastic bags to pick up the poop. Shit happens. Yes, that pun was 100% intended. Continue reading Want a Clean Park? Think Ability Support
No matter how well-designed, well-researched, and well-implemented any given product or experience is, it will never work for 100% of people. This is true for health interventions, consumer products, financial services, you name it. And while it sounds pessimistic to say that, the reason why is both obvious and (at least to me) interesting: Everybody is different. Continue reading Why Great Design Will Never Be 100% Effective
What constitutes a meaningful choice for one person may not be meaningful to another. When I presented with Raphaela O’Day at SXSW a few weeks ago, we talked a lot about packaging decisions in a way that made sense to the person making them. This is where competence and autonomy intersect; a choice can’t be meaningful if a person doesn’t have the knowledge or expertise to make it well. Continue reading Making Choices Meaningful: At the Intersection of Competence and Autonomy
A question I’ve been thinking about more recently is, what makes health behavior change so special? And surprisingly enough for someone who’s spent over a decade focusing on health behavior change, I think the answer is: It’s not. The more I explore other behavior change challenges, the more I see that designing for health isn’t really different from other types of behavior change interventions. Continue reading What’s Different About Designing For Health?
The big thing on my mind right now is preparing for my presentation at SXSW next Saturday. My J&J colleague and pal Raphaela O’Day and I are going to be discussing “Moral Issues in Designing for Behavior Change,” and how we grapple with them as psychologists who design and create interventions to improve health and healthcare.
Continue reading Moral Issues in Designing for Behavior Change