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Sustainable design for mainstream people
Sustainable design for mainstream people
Sustainable design for mainstream people
Sustainable design for mainstream people
Sustainable design for mainstream people
Sustainable design for mainstream people
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Sustainable design for mainstream people


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  • 1. Connecting with Mainstream People
    Designing sustainable products, services, and programs
    that engage them
    Dave Flotree
    Program Manager
    InContext Design
  • 2. Use these levers to affect change
    Green consciousness has hit Mainstream America, will action follow?
    Acting from values and visceral requirements – not “green” or “efficiency”
    Values: don’t waste, be frugal, stay safe, political identity (e.g., no foreign oil)
    Light on in empty room is waste, but floodlights outside are for safety not waste
    Requirements: convenience, comfort, quality, and aesthetics – no “sacrifice”
    Listening to trusted influencers
    Family members, friends, and trusted personalities trigger change
    Trusted resources influence purchases: contractors, Consumer Reports, store
    Adopting community norms
    Seeing people in my community change encourages me to change
    Research findings & demonstration projects have validated the power of community
    Seeing the consequences of actions – or not
    My energy use is invisible, I don’t know how I should change even if I wanted to
    Even when I know my energy use I have to care enough to change old habits
    Money – but only big cost change motivates behavior change
    Utility bills are an acceptable cost of living – unless there’s a big spike
    Still, savings can feel like a little reward – appliance rebate feels good
    What shapes mainstream green behavior
  • 3. Example: deciding house temperature
    Negative influences
    Positive influences
    Reveal Influences
    Field data reveals motivators of choice
    Positive and negative influences result in decisions
    Understand how choices for your product are made
    Set an energy-saving house temperature (winter)
    Influence of others
    • My neighbors keep lower night temperature than I do
    • 4. We don’t have young children who need warmer temperatures
    Influence of others
    • We’re entertaining guests and assume they want it warmer
    • 5. We have an infant who I think needs warm nighttime temperature
    • 6. I want to make sure the pets are warm
    • 7. My parents never kept the house comfortable growing up, I don’t want that
    • 8. The family member who likes a higher temperature wins
    • Install programmable thermostat
    • 9. Arrive or leave house
    • 10. Going to sleep/waking up
    • 11. Family situation (children, pet) change
    • 12. Comfort, sensitivity, change (exercise, massage, put on different clothes)
    • 13. Change what parts of the house are in use
    • I’m okay with putting on a sweater if its chilly
    • 14. I just exercised so I don’t want it to be too warm
    • 15. I like to sleep in a cool house
    • 16. I maintain lower temps (64) because that’s what I grew up with
    • I don’t want to wear much (shorts in winter, massage session)
    • 17. I don’t want to feel chilly
    • 18. I like to sleep in a warm house
    • It costs more to turn up the heat
    • 19. It saves on the utility bill to program setbacks
    Design for the drivers of choice
    • Programming the thermostat doesn’t save enough money to be worth it
    • 20. I don’t want to risk broken water pipes from freezing
    House usage
    • No one is home during the day
    • 21. I’m not in certain rooms/areas of the house
    House usage
    • The thermostat is not in the room I use, so temperature control is poor
    • The thermostat is placed where I pass it often
    • 22. I can program energy saving temperatures and forget it
    • The thermostat is hard to get to
    • 23. I don’t know how to program it
    • 24. It’s a hassle to program, I just set it to a comfortable 68-70 degrees
  • Practical/essential product requirements are the starting point
    Dishwasher: big enough to only run once a day
    Car: big enough to haul my gear
    Hot water tank: big enough to fill our large tub
    I want a tankless heater because it’s endless, not because it’s green
    Green products had better meet existing requirements first
    I don’t think CFLs last very long and require special disposal
    I like front-load washers because they match my European aesthetic
    Green features must be simple and actionable
    I will only do optional things—conserve—if it is easy and fits my life
    I’m just as likely to keep the default settings
    Mainstream people won’t pay (much) more for green
    I didn’t buy the most energy efficient furnace because it cost $2000 more
    I know CFLs save over time, but they cost too much upfront
    …Unless I’m determined to have green products and know I’ll pay extra
    Products must support the essential requirements first –Green is only a nice-to-have requirement
    Green products are products first
  • 25. Values are connected to emotion and behavior
    Understand core values and how they are expressed in your market
    Engage people in terms of these values – the message will have more power
    Influencers affect what people do
    Find the influencers that matter to the target population, and influence them
    Reach people when they take action: remodeling, appliance shopping
    Community is a better unit for change than individual
    Change in groups looks like significant impact – and competition can motivate
    Leverage the power of the peer group to show where you stand in the group – norms
    Find the Hub of change: people and influencers belong to communities – start there
    Fit to life is critical
    Optional behaviors must be easy with minimal experiential and financial cost
    Target new behaviors that easily fit into life first – follow lessons of recycling
    Meeting essential requirements is the value products & services provide
    Offer exceptional function value – that draws the buyer – then invent green solutions
    Emphasize desired function + enabling a core value
    Start with a deep understanding of your customers
    Insights for design
  • 26. Solving the problem of design
    Design the optimal match:
    • Products,systems, services that fit with life
    • 27. Design must support and extend consumer intent
    The Consumer’s
    Behavior Model has:
    Visceral values & requirements
    Lifestyle & convenience needs
    Individual & community influencers
    Product & service expectations
    The Producer’s
    Product/Program Model has:
    Channels & messaging
    Product usage model
    Behavior change program
    Real value delivered