Imagining behavioral change – Smart meters, dynamic pricing systems, service offerings supporting low2no carbon foodprints

Session Title

Imagining behavioral change – Smart meters, dynamic pricing systems, service offerings supporting low2no carbon foodprints


Jan-Christoph Zoels, Experientia

Session Type: Presentation

The presentation will introduce conceptual frameworks, insights and visual prototypes from a recent, collaborative project of Arup, Sauerbruch Hutton and Experientia for a Low2No carbon emissions competition for Helsinki Harbor. Sitra, the Finnish innovation agency, selected the winning team out of 74 initial entries, for their C_life — City as living factory of ecology project. The aim is to construct an urban zone with low or no carbon emissions in Helsinki, Finland, by 2012.

While other team members devised the architectural and financial strategies for the project, Experientia’s responsibility was to address the delicate theme of how to initiate behavioral change to support a sustainable style of living in this completely renewed urban district. Starting with the concept that people, their contexts, social networks, habits and beliefs are crucial tools for creating sustainable change in behaviour, Experientia explored ways to offer people control over their consumption and to see the effects of their actions on the environment.

Using their expertise in designing valuable user experiences, Experientia’s strategies to empower people’s change include: developing engagement and awareness programs, through services aimed at creating social actions based on green values; using technology to assist people in making decisions, such as energy metres and dynamic pricing systems; producing positive reinforcement loops (with incentives and benefits) for people who live, work and visit JŠtkŠsaari; and using the community as a knowledge network to share best practices.

The competition highlighted the need of stakeholder participation and replicability of the selected ideas. The presentation will focus on showcasing initial research insights and smart meter prototypes to support behavioral change.


Jan-Christoph Zoels is Experientia’s partner in charge of user experience. Originally from Germany, he lived for many years in the USA, where he taught at RISD, and was director of information architecture at Sapient and a senior designer at Sony. Until recently he was a co-founder and senior associate professor at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, where he ran the business innovation workshops called Applied Dreams.

In his work Jan-Christoph focuses specifically on people’s experience of mobile services and applications, and on using information technology to support simplicity. He advocates a strategic integration of user experience modeling, design, prototyping and iterative testing to improve the desirability of products and services.

In his consulting activities he specializes on experience prototyping, foresight scenarios, design and service concepts.

Previously he was director of information architecture for Sapient (New York), and senior designer at Sony Design Center USA, responsible for strategic product development. He holds four patents. He has taught at Rhode Island School of Design, Jan van Eyck Academy in Maastricht, Samsung’s Innovative Design Laboratory in Seoul, and Domus Academy, Milan.

During the last three years, he was a keynote speaker at Lift 07, atMobile Nation: Creating Methodologies for Mobile Platforms conference in Toronto, BMW’s Marketing Innovation Lab Forum in Munich, Germany, at Banff’s New Media Institute and at multiple conferences and design colleges.