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

Ecoinomy home page

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.