Innovative technology by itself is not enough. How do we get people to actually use these tools? How do we circumnavigate the obstacles that prevent people from making better health decisions? The leading causes of death in the world are preventable chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and diabetes, that are caused by lifestyle choices. Improving health requires improving day-to-day decision-making behaviors, such as choosing to visit a doctor or taking prescribed medications.
In the decades ahead, the most game-changing social enterprises will be the ones that incorporate behavioral design into their solutions. We have to start thinking about the cost of traveling to the doctor and the hassle of remembering to take daily medications.
Even the most innovative, easy-to-use technologies won’t be effective if they aren’t reaching their consumer base. Getting people to adopt new technology and sustain behavior change requires an understanding of incentives. Habits are powerful, and human beings are inherently averse to change. We require daily reminders and motivators to adopt a new tool or habit. Incorporating these strategies can help social enterprises embrace behavioral insights to design better solutions.
There is incredible potential for technology to help people work toward the behavior change that’s central to improving health. The most challenging global issues demand creativity and resourcefulness. Social enterprises that want to solve health issues must create solutions with intrinsic behavioral design components. Only then will we begin to see technology really make an impact.
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