R&D X Sway

Making climate change tangible

Turning individual habits into collective impact

By and large, climate change activity focuses on lobbying and big action — major systemic change. And whilst it’s prevalent in the news, there’s very little about what personal action we can each take to reduce our demand. For many, it can feel like it’s someone else’s problem to fix or it’s just too big to comprehend. But, as we’ve learned from the success of other lateral services, such as Couch to 5K, taking a personal approach to large societal problems can be hugely successful.

Sway is a service concept born out of R&D at Else and designed to help people form new habits that reduce their demand on the world. No matter what your commitment level — from not knowing where to start, to being stuck with what to do next, Sway encourages simple behaviour changes to create new habits by continually finding new ways for you to improve the way you live.

It takes effort to be ethical

We live in a world where convenience is king but rarely does greater convenience result in long-term sustainable ways of living. Being sustainable and ethical in our choices takes effort. And it’s hard to navigate what will make a true difference with no real tangible measurement for our efforts.

Sway calibrates the experience to what means the most to the individual. By answering a few questions to determine lifestyle and where your concerns are, you’re given ideas that will improve your impact across home living, food and transport.

Sway is built around the idea of committing to challenges, each challenge can be completed across different time-frames. Using behavioural nudges and gameplay techniques we get people started on a simple 7-day Sway that touches on different aspects of impact reductions. These low-effort changes, if adopted longer-term, will make a big difference. From this entry point, you may change one thing. You may change many. The more actions you take, the more opportunities are revealed.

There is a lot of activity now forming to address climate change. But as many key individuals and scientists have said, it’s just not soon enough. We think that Sway has a clear place in helping to change behaviour, to make people think about living their life primarily through convenience, without first looking at the consequences.

Climate Change is going to play a significant priority in businesses over the next 10 years. And we challenge people to think harder about what part they can play in making planet Earth a more sustainable and fulfilling place to live.

Four principles that underpin Sway

Sway holds huge potential that goes way beyond an app

Being a service for good by becoming a ubiquitous data layer. Helping customers make smart, ethical decisions within existing shopping experiences. And evaluating our shopping patterns to create more opportunities for behaviour change – one example of this would be how Sway has the potential to be integrated into the Tesco grocery service.

Design Intelligence Award & Interaction 21

Our work on Sway was shared at the IxDA Interaction 21 Conference as a roundtable discussion. It was also recognised as one of the top UK entries into the Design Intelligence Award and awarded highly commended as a finalist.

Else insight

Behaviour change for good

Sway was based on behavioural change principles from the MINDSPACE theory. Read more about this in our insights piece on behaviour change for good.

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