Designing for behavior change can be looked at through many lenses. As the implementers of interventions, products and services designed to modify the decisions and behaviors of others, we can adopt a “Doing to,” “Working with,” or “Working for” mentality. The people on the receiving end of our interventions can perceive this frame of reference, and this can have a great impact on the initiation, engagement and outcomes of designs we put in place.
While the current popular discourse revolves around fixing or capitalizing upon our limited cognitive, emotional and motivational resources through varying levels of authority and control, humans are self-organizing systems who may need little more than support of their autonomy and growth potential to enact tremendous change in their lives. With this in mind, delivering interventions that preserve human agency and foster authentic functioning can seem like a radical (yet welcomed) approach.
But how might we do this? What kinds of systems can be implemented to achieve individual and group level change while preserving a sense of volitional engagement? Games and Gameful Design (but not “Gamification”) offer a promising approach to creating the conditions whereby people are willing, active participants in initiating and sustaining meaningful change efforts.
In this talk, I’ll articulate theory and evidence-based methods and models for evaluating and implementing the ways by which games and play shape our psychological processes and influence behavior and subjective well-being.