“The Hidden Talents of Everyday Things”

Creative #habitdesign for Behavior Change

There are a lot of technologies being developed in the digital health/mobile technology landscape to address the problem of “medication adherence” (which of note, should be reframed as the problem of “poor healthcare design”). Lots of money has been invested in companies like Mango Health (Gamification for adherence), RxAnte (predictive algorithms for identifying adherence rates), and the Proteus Pill (the pill with a sensor that sends information to a mobile app when the pill hits the bottom of the stomach).

But we are getting push notification fatigue from our mobile phones, so I thought I would share 3 new creative uses of #habitdesign for Behavior Change that could be more effective and be implemented in a much less costly manner. Designer @kellianderson would call this:

Check out her amazing work in this TED talk!

Example #1: The use of passwords for #habitdesign

Check out this article by Mauricio Estrella: How a password changed my life.

He used passwords to remind him to change his behavior. Think about it, how many times do we type our passwords everyday multiple times a day?

He typed this everyday for a month:




And he describes its effects:

And guess what happened….I quit smoking overnight. This password was a painful one to type during that month, but doing it helped me to yell at myself in my mind, as I typed that statement. It motivated me to follow my monthly goal.

Example #2: Autocomplete Statements for #habitdesign

Luke Wrobleski sent this genius tweet:


What if you iPhone/Android had all sorts of autocomplete statements for when you are replying to an email or sending a tweet or Facebook post on your iPhone?



#keepupthegoodwork! (We always need more encouragement and less nagging reminders!)

Example #3: A coffeemaker for #habitdesign

I have to thank @Iodine for this example:


Who can live without their coffee in the morning? A much more effective reminder than a push notification from a mobile phone!

What creative examples do you have using the “hidden talents of everyday things?”

For more about creative applications of technology to address “poor healthcare design” check out this article of mine on the Pillpack Pharmacy!

I tweet and blog about design, healthcare, and innovation as “Doctor as Designer”. Follow me on Twitter and sign up for my newsletter.