Operation TLC – reducing energy bills at Barts Health NHS Trust

Turn off, Lights Out, Close Doors

Operation TLC is a campaign I was recently working on with Global Action Plan for Barts Health NHS Trust. The campaign was designed to engage with the Trust’s hospital staff to encourage them to reduce their energy bill by communicating the benefits of carrying out each action. Operation TLC stands for Turn off (unnecessary equipment), Lights out (when possible), Close doors (where possible). These actions were determined following various research to understand where energy was being lost but also where the patient experience could be improved. For example, not only does closing doors help to reduce drafts and keep warmth in, it means that patients experience peace and quiet during their stay, especially at night time.

The campaign aimed to be simple to carry out, quick to understand and accessible. The three actions could be adopted by everyone through out their working day around the hospitals.

Here is a video (containing footage I shot) which explains what Operation TLC means to range of Barts Health staff,

To celebrate NHS Sustainability Day and to help raise awarness of the campaign, a team of volunteers stood outside a number of the hospitals to encourage ‘High Fives’ in support of Operation TLC. You can see photos here from outside the Royal London Hospital:

Operation TLC

Operation TLC

Operation TLC

1,200 people were reached that day simply by high fiving everyone that entered the Royal London Hospital and St Bartholomews Hospital. The day contained a range of events from Global Action Plans ‘eco interactive’ displays, workshops, site visits and energy saving stand. The Guardian newspaper wrote a great piece about how the day empowered and encouraged innovation: NHS Sustainability Day: empowering and encouraging innovation

The Guardian, NHS Sustainability Day

You can read more about Operation TLC here in the Global Action Plan website: Operation TLC – Nudging in the NHS

The team were very pleased with the results of the campaign and how well engaged the staff were but there’s nothing more satisfying than to win an award for all the hard work.  Barts Health NHS Trust won the HSJ Award for Improving Environmental and Social Sustainability. More information can be found here on the Sustainable Development Unit website: HSJ Awards 2013: Improving Environmental and Social Sustainability
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iBehaveSex: Increasing condom usage among men through tech

iBehave logo

Changing behaviours for good, in general can be an incredibly powerful way to encourage new habits and change attitudes. There are particular societal issues where behaviour change is commonly used and recognised as a valuable tool. Behaviour change is often used to protect our environment, to help reduce climate change and more and more to benefit our health.

Behaviour change contains a broad range of activities and approaches which focus on the individual, community, and environmental influences on behaviour. If you’re not familiar with how to achieve this, I recommend having a read of BJ Fogg’s website where he explains the importance of motivation, ability, and trigger.

Behaviour change can be achieved through simple messaging, focused communications, engagement and empowerment. But, to add an interesting angle to behaviour change, iBehave is looking at how technology can be used to benefit our health:

iBehave is a meetup focused on the usage of technology as an enabler of behaviour change by enabling behavioural transition from risk behaviours to those akin with positive health outcomes. Our mission is to provide an OPEN INNOVATION ecosystem designed to:

1. Enable the achievement of game changing health outcomes by showcasing, encouraging and accelerating technical innovations where game mechanics related techniques can be used to drive behaviour change and compliance.

2. Foster a community of companies and individuals interested in enacting behavioural change in the healthcare industry through game mechanics related behaviour change techniques.

iBehave hosted a MeetUp on 26 March titled ‘Increasing condom usage among men through Tech – how do you change behaviour?’

Dr Julia Bailey, a clinical senior lecturer in Primary Care at UCL and Damian Hampton, head of technology for Illumina Digital gave an insightful presentation about project SexUnzipped: a website about sex, relationships and sexual health for young people over 16. 

  • Did you know that STI’s cost the NHS a £1 billion a year!?
  • Did you know that gonorrhoea will become untreatable in the future with the resistance to antibiotics?

The presentations were excellent at setting the scene, gave us a better understanding of how technology is currently being used to change behaviour around sexual health and created an opportunity to ask questions. Following the presentations, the behaviour mechanics that attended the MeetUp broke into groups to take part in an innovation session to unlock ideas on how technology can address the challenge of ‘Increasing condom usage among men through tech’.

ibehave innovation groups

Here are some of the questions put to the behaviour mechanics that attended the innovation session:
–How do you get a man to decide he’s going to wear a condom before things start getting heated up?
–How can we get women to veto sex without a condom?
–How can we reduce/eliminate the embarrassment, time and cost to getting condoms?
–How can you use technology to “sex educate” our target audience?
–How would you incentivise our target audience to engage with the content?

iBehave innovation session

And here is a little video which explains what the behaviour mechanics thought of the event:

Interested in coming along to the next MeetUp? We’ll be discussing obesity in low income communities on 13 May – it will be provocative. It will be interesting! Be sure to sign up through the MeetUp page to guarantee your place.

Ecoinomy launches new website

For those that aren’t familiar with Ecoinomy, they are a behaviour company whose aim is to motivate employees to be less wasteful in the workplace.  Their online system encourages behaviour change by creating communities of employees who are rewarded for saving money.

Ecoinomy home page www.ecoinomy.com

Ecoinomy home page http://www.ecoinomy.com

Creating behaviour change takes time. It is not a matter of telling people to do something different or about removing items that encourages bad habits. It is about empowering people to feel they are making a difference that they benefit from.  Making changes alone often feels pointless and goes unrecognised but making changes as a group where you can see a tangible difference can be incredibly motivating and rewarding especially if there is an element of competition involved. This is what Ecoinomy does!

Ecoinomy has two offerings – the eco.system which is aimed at organisations who have more than 250 people who would use the system and eco.logic which is aimed at departments, project teams or companies with less than 250 people who would use it.  Both work in a similar way – a cause (charity, community group, event etc) to save money for is agreed, people join the system and enter their cost savings into the system.  A carbon calculator estimates the amount of CO2 saved and the money calculator adds up the money saved.  A percentage of this money goes to the chosen cause.

It’s a win, win, win situation – the company saves money by the employees consciously changing their habits (whether it’s reducing their printing, cycling to a meeting or not ordering biscuits for the next meeting), the employee sees a reason to think sustainably and feels motivated in the workplace and the environment wins because the CO2 emissions are reduced. Once momentum builds on the system and people see new ways to save money, the system becomes invaluable.

There is also a free e.Book ‘Ecoinomics’ on the website which can be downloaded for tips on how to operate in a less wasteful way. The fun illustrations and novel examples are not only thought provoking but also obvious and easy to carry out!

The fantastic thing about innovation like the Ecoinomy systems is that it creates interaction within the workplace and encourages employees to think further than the workplace.  If workplaces can become less wasteful and attitudes changed by employees seeing how much money they can save for their company and cause, then the hope is that those messages will go back to the home and we can live on a happier planet.

 

 

What does it mean to be a creature of habit?

Good habits v Bad Habits

Habits allow us to tackle the everyday challenges we face in life. We have evolved from animals that use their natural instinct to survive. Habits come from repetition; what we did yesterday, we will do today whether it is necessarily a positive or negative decision.

I once heard someone say that habits are like submarines, they are silent and run deep. It would be wonderful to say that habits are not necessarily bad but unfortunately they usually happen because we have not thought of an alternative. We automatically carry out the action our brain tells us instead of doing what we may have actually planned.

The proverb ʻold habits die hardʼ sums up how we find making changes in our lives difficult. How do we know how to change a habit or what to change it to if we have not had guidance or gained an understanding of why?

Creature of Habit

Having a habit defers responsibility for our actions; ʻI drove to work because I left too late to cycleʼ or ʻMy stressful job means I cannot quit smokingʼ are classic excuses for not changing a way of life. We like the comfort of our car or are addicted to nicotine which is why we have not managed to break the habit. Our animal instinct is to naturally do what is easy. Feeling comfortable in society guides our brain to know what we should do verses what we actually do.

The worldʼs behaviours have changed the place we live in, to a large extent, for the worse. Be it eating habits resulting in obesity, travel habits resulting in climate change or consumption habits resulting in an economic recession, a creature of habit has a brain that is on autopilot making decisions through automatic responses.

I have been using design to help people change their habits for a better future and it is clear from what I have observed that habits are formed due to repetition. A creature of habit searches for easy options. It is easier to embrace an action that makes them feel comfortable instead of one that disrupts their daily routine.

Looking at creatures of habit from a positive angle, habits do not only happen but can develop and be changed. Using empowerment to help people gain a deeper understanding of our habits can result in new habits for positive effect. If we understand what motivates and incentivises people to change their habits, good results can be achieved.

A project I have been working on focuses on motivating employees to change their attitude in the workplace. We are incentivising them to build communities around using less energy. This is a good example of how old habits can be changed and new ones created at local level.

New habits can also be created at governmental level. New policies have forced us to create habits; recycling laws mean we are expected to separate out our waste. It could be argued that recycling is now a habit due to repetition where as a number of years ago it was seen as a disruption.

A creature of habit is simply a being that repeats their actions to the point where they may not think about carrying out that action. If the habit is harmful, awareness and motivation is required to change the habit. If the habit is beneficial, it must be encouraged.

InterSections11 at The Eden Project

I’ve been at the InterSections11 conference run by the DottCornwall team. What an incredibly inspiring, fun, informative and unexpected couple of days.

Reflecting on the event while sitting on the train, all I could think about was how beautiful the Eden Project is – the sun was shining, there was a sense of creativity floating round and the air was clean! I had forgotten how lovely Cornwall is.

Eden Project

The Eden Project made the perfect location for the two day event; social enterprise, innovation and collaboration were three of the main topics discussed. Once I’ve had more time to let everything sink in, I wil blog my favourite take aways from the conference but here is a taster with a few links to get your taste buds going:

– Nick Jankel from WeCreate on ‘innovation and crowd sourcing’ discussing how ‘together everything is possible. We need to adopt new behaviours not new tools.
– Tom Hulme from IDEO on ‘Open IDEO’ on using existing platforms for innovation and how being visual, collaborative, evaluative and fun we can create better together.
David McCandles on Infographics and how we should use ‘data as the new soil’ and use colour techniques to get messages across.
– David Rowan from Wired UK on co-creating with bits and atoms and how if we create the right structure, collaboration can work.
-David Kester from the Design Council on how design can nudge behaviour and boost the economy.
– Charles Armstrong from Trampoline Systems on mapping networks and how you need to measure something to manage it.
– Josephine Green on social innovation and how we are moving from a hierarchical, industrial market to a flat (pancake) socio-ecological era.

It’s worth doing a Twitter search on #intersect for Tweets from the event.

I also discovered how small the world is and met a whole network of fantastic people!

Design Ambassadors profiled on the Design Council website

I have become a design ambassador for the Design Council’s Water Design Challenge.

The challenge is being run by the Design Council in connection with Southern Water and schools in the south east. The aim is to engage key stage 3 students to understand the environmental effects of water usage and use their creativity to find ways to reduce the amount they use. The ambassadors will be working with the teachers but will be there to engage with the students, help empower them, get them to be creative and promote design.

Last year Common Ground won the challenge with ‘The World’s Smallest Water Exhibition’ – a fantastic water exhibition housed inside a porta-loo!!
Common Ground

This year’s design ambassadors have a profile page on the Design Council website which explains why they believe in and why they are taking up the challenge. Have a look at the diverse range of designers getting involved: Design Ambassador Profiles

Are you a social innovator?

How would you define the term ‘social innovator’? The Centre for Social Innovation define it as ‘new ideas that resolve existing social, cultural, economic and environmental challenges for the benefit of people and planet. A true social innovation is systems-changing – it permanently alters the perceptions, behaviours and structures that previously gave rise to these challenges.’ This definition to me is what a sustainable designer does. It tackles the three pillars of sustainability for a balanced future and concentrates on behaviour change.

I used to call myself a sustainable designer but after giving a presentation on ‘creating social cohesion’ for the 15th Sustainable Design Network seminar I tend to say I am a ‘socially sustainable designer’. I see this as encompassing design thinking, service design and social innovation to help make our planet a better place to live. Some people would see this as purely social innovation but I feel it is important to keep the word design included – a designer uses their creativity to solve problems while a social innovator could be argued to make social change. It could be that understanding the design process or being able to realise the end result puts a designer at the forefront of innovation where as an ‘innovator’ is more business focused?

The website ‘Challenge Your World‘ makes the following observation that ‘the term social innovation is both vague enough to attract a diverse following and specific enough to afford its followers a sense of identity. But left poorly defined for too long, I worry that social innovation could lose its followers like chewing gum loses its flavour’.

Social innovation is very important for the current climate. The Big Society needs social innovators to help implement the governments goals.

Collaborative consumption, sustainable design, service design, design activism and co-participation/production are all successful contributers to helping The Big Society idea. There are plenty of people out there already contributing – but do they realise?

For example, my neighbour is setting up a new company to help companies recycle their unwanted goods but she thinks of herself fundamentally as a business woman whereas my cousin is helping reduce food waste yet fundamentally thinks of himself as a chef. I trained as an industrial designer yet now think of myself as a socially sustainable designer. I would call us all social innovators.

There are many people out there doing great things to help our environment which are socially orientated – let’s help them make their ideas happen and promote their work – this takes me back to the Challenge Your World comment about not letting social innovation lose its followers – the design activist in me is always on the look out for new adventures and projects which we, as a society can benefit from.