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© BJ Fogg 2019

Fogg Behavior Model

Ability - Make behavior easier to do

The Fogg Behavior Model has three main elements, one of which is Ability. In order to perform a target behavior, a person must have the ability to do so. That seems obvious, of course. But designers of products and services often assume people have more ability than they really do.

There are three paths to increasing ability.

 

You can train people, giving them more skills, more ability to do the target behavior. That’s the hard path. Don’t take this route unless you really must. Training people is hard work, and most people resist learning new things. That’s just how we are as humans: lazy.

Another option is to give someone a tool or resource that makes the behavior easier to do. For example, a cookbook makes cooking at home easier to do. 

Another option is to scale back the target behavior easier so it is to do. This is the approach I advocate in the Tiny Habits® method

 

Please note:

In talking about Behavior Design, I sometimes replace Ability with Simplicity. I hope this isn’t confusing. By focusing on Simplicity of the target behavior you increase Ability. 

Below is a 12-minute video that explains my framework on Simplicity.

 

Warning: This video is just me talking, with a few graphics. Nothing fancy. That said, I think the content is good. But it’s not HBO. (That’s me playing ukulele at the start.)

Key insight: Simplicity is a function of your scarcest resource at that moment. Think about time as a resource, If you don’t have 10 minutes to spend, and the target behavior requires 10 minutes, then it’s not simple. Money is another resource. If you don’t have $1, and the behavior requires $1, then it’s not simple.

Here’s a model that shows these five factors. Your weakest link determines what makes a behavior hard to do.

Dr. BJ Fogg founded the Behavior Design Lab at Stanford University, where he directs research and innovation. In addition, he teaches industry innovators how to use his models and methods in Behavior Design. The purpose of his research and teaching is to help millions of people improve their lives. 

BJ is the author of Persuasive Technology: Using Computers to Change What We Think and Do. He is the co-editor of Mobile Persuasion: 20 Perspectives on the Future of Behavior Change. 

To see more of BJ's work, go to BJFogg.com