What I'm all about

I always try to do groundbreaking work that will improve people’s lives through behavior change. That's my #1 focus as a researcher and innovator, at Stanford and in industry. Over the years I've created new ways to understand behavior and new methods for designing change solutions. It's a powerful system, and I call this "Behavior Design."

How did I get here? 

Over 25 years ago I was reading Aristotle's Rhetoric when I realized that someday computers would be designed to influence humans. Being a natural optimist, I imagined many benefits of combining persuasion and technology. I decided to explore this area scientifically. 

As a doctoral student at Stanford in the 1990s, I ran the first-ever series of experiments to discover how computers could change people’s attitudes and behaviors. I named this new area "persuasive technology." My research won Stanford’s Maccoby Prize and spawned an international academic conference, going on 10 years now.

After graduation I started working in Silicon Valley, but I also devoted about half my time to Stanford. I founded a new Stanford lab in 1998. And each year since then, I’ve created a new course on a topic that interests me. 

I no longer do industry consulting. Instead, these days I focus on teaching innovators about human behavior--my models and methods in Behavior Design--so they can create products to help people be healthier and happier. 

 
 

Current Projects

My current projects range from research to innovation, teaching to mentoring -- a fun mix. 

At Stanford

We recently changed our lab's name to the "Stanford Behavior Design Lab." Our previous name -- "Persuasive Tech Lab" -- no longer fit our actual projects. Looking back, I see that we started shifting towards behavior design in 2010, when we coined the phrase as part of our Behavior Wizard project.

 

You can still find our previous website with our older work. Our new website is getting built now. We have a placeholder at habits.stanford.edu. It's short and sweet. Check it out. 

 

Our main effort today is the Good Habits Project.  I won’t go into much detail here except to say we are identifying and studying habits that will be (1) beneficial for people, (2) easy to form, and (3) easy to maintain.

In Behavior Design

With my new models about behavior, I am able to map out, step by step, how to design for behavior change. I'm creating a set of flowcharts to illustrate my systematic approach. It turns out there is one overall flowchart (designing & troubleshooting). And then there are seven more specific flowcharts to highlight subcomponents. For example, one subcomponent is how to make a behavior "easier to do.”

 

I map this stuff out because, well, I love this kind of thing. It's feels like solving a fun puzzle—so geeky.

 

I am also writing a book about how everyday people can use behavior design to make their lives better. You can pre-order the book here: TinyHabits.com/book

 

A key point: Behavior is a system. And you can systematically design to change your life. You don’t have to guess. In this new book I share my system, and I show it how helps people change in a set of true and compelling stories. 

Tiny Habits

Right now I'm scaling my work in Tiny Habits. For the last few years, I've coached many people in Tiny Habits each week. At times I was working with over 300 people, helping them create new habits. (I don't charge for this; I just want to share my method.)

 

Finally, I got smarter about how to help more people.

 

"Hey, BJ," I thought to myself. "You don't need to personally coach so many people each week. You can train others to do this." And so I did.

 

Today the coaches we've certified in my Tiny Habits method can use my technology platform to coach up to 100 people each week in less than 20 minutes per day.  I'm testing this solution now, and I'm measuring the results.  So far, my new system is living up to my expectations.

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© 2019 BJ Fogg