Why do we humans behave the way we do? How do we understand, are impacted by, and use technology, products and services? How can technology be a support to changing a behaviour? Parallel to developing new (technical) solutions, it is necessary to understand and to ground this development in people’s behaviour.
At RISE, we use a range of scientific and/or design-oriented methods to understand the interplay between people and technology of different kinds. Such an understanding can be as important in a process to improve an existing technology/service/product/physical environment (for example, the city), to in a process of developing something new. For something to become truly useful to the user, it is often a prerequisite to have a good understanding of the individual’s or group’s needs, attitudes, and context.
How households can reduce their energy consumption, is one example of a challenge where it is necessary to understand human behaviour related to activities and practices that use energy. Without an understanding for how tenants, for example, do their laundry or cook food in their everyday life, and what is possible for them to change in these practices, there is a risk that new solutions will not support change, or worse, lead to a negative behaviour instead.
Another example of a challenge where behaviour issues play an important role, is change processes where one wants to introduce life cycle thinking in an organisation or innovation for transition. There are several complex questions in these processes, including technical and informational aspects, but research shows that information alone rarely leads to a changed behaviour. In order to succeed with large change processes, it is therefore key to also understand and include the individual’s perspective. At RISE, we can help to deepen the understanding of behavioural aspects through studies of/together with relevant target groups. But we can also help to include individuals or groups of people in the development of for example technology or urban environment, to identify the best conditions for a transition to a more sustainable society.
We have competence in methods from disciplines such as sociology, psychology, and design. These involve for example interviews, questionnaires, observations, workshops and/or focus groups with target groups. We can perform both qualitative and quantitative analyses of collected data to identify important insights, questions, knowledge gaps or challenges that are key to understand in order to make a service/system/product etc as successful as possible. Depending on the study, we can make design guidelines related to an observed behaviour.
The experts at RISE who work with behaviour and behaviour change have a large interest and knowledge in both people and technology. We are experienced in studying behavioural issues related to different technical areas, and how to set up studies so that they match our collaborators’ needs and questions. Given our unique position at RISE, our activities are grounded in research and at the same time applied.