Pauline Winckler

Is behavior change achievable through design intervention using the example of a networked mirror?

Lecturer: Dipl.-Des. Michael Kneidl

This bachelor thesis examines the question of whether behavioral change can be achieved through design as a form of intervention. The question is explored via an example of a networked mirror aiming at reducing individual everyday life plastic usage and consumption.First, a situation analysis aims at providing first indications regarding the factors determining a plastic dominated everyday life and its derivative consequences. The overall goal is to understand the empirical background, i.e. the needs of different protagonists. The study provides information on the use of plastics, focusing on tourism and the management of the hotel industry.Second, to grasp the underlying theoretical foundations, this thesis draws from theories of behavioral economics, learning theory models and game-based approaches. Stemming from these theoretical considerations, the question arises which role design can play and which particular effects design can achieve in behavioral change. Generally, the study finds that to achieve behavioral change as factors of a reduction of plastic usage as well as long-term ecological effectiveness, design optimization of communication processes presents a fruitful opportunity to induce such change.Third, a concept for a plastic-free hotel is suggested as a practical implementation example of intervention via design to reduce plastic usage. The concept integrates guests into the service process through an individually tailored use of digital technologies triggering behavioral change to reduce plastic and waste. The concept developed is to be understood as a twofold service – used by the hotels themselves and also offered to guests. A functional communication stream between the hotel and its guests translating the hotel‘s philosophy, content and efforts to the guests, resembles a crucial element of the concept. Presenting various touching points between the guests and the hotel in the form of unpackaged services as well as choice models regarding the hotel’s operation is expected to trigger new experiences and induce behavioral change. Being able to consciously choose sustainable hotel services influences each guest‘s contribution to waste reduction. A constant feedback mechanism regarding the personal contribution to waste and plastic reduction is intended to trigger a change in awareness and long-term behavior modification.To evaluate whether the expected changes take place or not, evaluations, comparisons as well as tests will be conducted. By doing so a first evaluation of the real-world applicability of the concept can be established and is then put into context of current and future hotel-specific workflows.