1. The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy approached IDEO with a daunting challenge: reduce the number of unplanned pregnancies in the U.S. for women between the ages of 18 and 29. In other words: try and alter one of nature’s most powerful urges. Given the tension between today’s media-driven culture, religious mores, and biological imperatives, the project called for delicate and persuasive storytelling. The lesson: translating stories into high-impact messages—with the weight required to modify behavior—requires precisely the right tone.

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  2. As credit cards are increasingly vilified - treated as a disease, demanding abstention - the question must be asked - ‘how did something so neutral become so polarized?’. We believe that it’s this neutrality, or illusion of neutrality, which is at the heart of the problem. The illusion of neutrality and the lack of personal control which is it’s bedfellow, isn’t unique to credit cards, nor to the financial service industry. From big box retailers who see themselves as simply the bridge from supplier to purchaser, to utility companies who envision their service as one of pipes and nodes - a sense of identity as infrastructure allows industries to avoid implication in the range of unhealthy and unsustainable behaviors that permeate our now. You can’t be Switzerland in this battle, and it’s important to pick which side you’re on. Design can help you step out of the shadow of neutrality and tread into the choppy waters of behavior change.

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  3. How can organizations spur system-wide changes in people’s daily habits? In the 1990s, Western businesses introduced new tools, rules, and norms to the Russian market to transform Russians’ hygiene habits, with great success. By examining this and other examples, a framework for changing behavior at the systemic or societal level emerges. While habits are indeed hard to break, seeing the challenge through the lens of an actionable framework can help organizations start successfully inspiring change in people’s daily choices.

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