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Design Council launches Behavioural Design Lab

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How design and study of behaviour can help reduce energy consumption

This week the Design Council in collaboration with Warwick Business School has launched a Behavioural Design Lab in London.

The Behavioural Science Group at Warwick is undertaking research on a variety of societal issues including binge drinking, the nation’s economy and energy consumption.

The joint venture between the Design Council and Warwick Business School aims to unite behavioural science and design-thinking to solve society’s biggest issues.

Behavioural science is a newly emerging field that studies behaviour, human choices and wellbeing by drawing on insights from psychology, economics and neuroscience.

Led by Ed Gardiner, the team’s innovative design approaches aim to achieve what government advice or awareness campaigns cannot. Organisations usually rely on information provision of key facts and raising awareness alone to change behaviour. But the lab believes in tackling social issues through solutions which involve multiple partners and research on design of products, services and places that can allow people to make informed decisions. With the help of the Behavioural Design Lab, organisations will be able to understand the role of behaviour in consumerism and energy use.

Gardiner said: ‘We can combine the latest research in behavioural science with design to physically change the way people think, feel and behave for the better. Only when organisations adopt both experimentation and design-thinking will they uncover game-changing ideas.’

In the green sector, the Behavioural Design Lab aims to help people understand the key motivations of installing smart meters in their homes. This way, the Lab can contribute by reducing emissions and promoting competition.

Mat Hunter, chief design officer at the Design Council added: ‘There is growing interest in the power of design thinking and behavioural science to tackle complex issues. This pioneering collaboration will combine theory and practice in order to confront the most pressing challenges of our time.’

Read more about behavioural design, in Changing Behaviour by Design.

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