The power and potential of Behavioural Design: practice, methodology, and ethics

Camilla K.E. Bay Brix Nielsen*, Philip Cash, Jaap Daalhuizen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Behavioural designers adopt practices from both design and behavioural science. Yet methodological discussions are fragmented across these fields. In response, this paper – for the first time – examines and draws together research on decision-making and methodologies applied to behavioural design via a systematic review. We identify three major themes challenging current understanding of behavioural design: Complex behavioural design space, Systemic behavioural design, and Behavioural design empathy and ethics. These themes give rise to a fundamental reconceptualization of the behavioural design process captured in our ‘Behavioural Design IM-PACT process model’. This model integrates a fuzzy front and back end around a co-evolutionary development process. Through this, we explain how design and behavioural science practices can be synthesised to deal with wicked behavioural problems in a complex context where a long intervention afterlife is inevitable. This highlights the way towards more integrative behavioural design with major implications for researchers and practitioners across fields.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-39
Number of pages39
JournalJournal of Engineering Design
Early online date13 Mar 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 13 Mar 2024

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