*Milo is a popular chocolate malted milk drink, and a Milo Dinosaur is a local specialty in Singapore. It’s a cup of Milo served with an extra heaping of undissolved Milo powder on top for extra kicks. One level up from that is the Milo Godzilla, which is topped with ice cream or whipped cream.
Today I met with a former member of NUSSU SAVE who’s now working at the NEA, particularly with the Keep Singapore Beautiful Movement. He was extremely helpful and one of the most encouraging people I’ve come across in this project so far!
I was certainly not banking on any possibility of him saying to me, “Yes, I’ll give you full access to a hawker centre of your choice for your project!” And I was quite right not to be so disillusioned: running hawker centres is a difficult job, and there are many stakeholders involved who I have honestly not thought hard enough about. In short, continuing to pursue a hawker centre would put me up against a lot of obstacles. I’d love to face those obstacles if I had a year to do the project! But I can’t, and I have to do this project right (we are working with real people here!). And doing it right means scaling it down and steering it in a different direction.
The person I met with has had a lot of experience implementing community projects. Besides running through some key points of effective project design with me, he introduced me to a bunch of tools and models to better conceptualize the sociological/behaviour change aspect of my project. One of them was nicknamed D.I.L.O. M.I.L.O. (“a day in the life of…” and “a moment in the life of…”). It’s used to graph out a typical day in the life of one of your key stakeholders, with time (progression of the day) on the x-axis, and level of happiness on the y-axis. It allows you to examine where the high and low moments lie in that person’s day, and to leverage the high moments and tackle the low moments. Another very useful model was the habit loop:
The theory posits that a habit loop forms when there is a cue (something that triggers the habitual action), followed by the routine (the habitual action itself), which is followed by a reward (a positive reinforcement that results from the routine that makes the habit loop continue). Rewards are most effective the more positive and immediate they are. (And they’re usually most sustainable when they don’t rely on constructed monetary incentives.)
My friendly contact also recommended a couple great books to me as well, both written by Chip and Dan Heath.
In Made to Stick, the authors investigate why some ideas thrive while others die. How do we improve the chances of worthy ideas?
Switch is about uniting the two halves of our minds, the emotional and the rational, in order to achieve lasting change, in our companies, communities and in our own minds.
It was really wonderful to see that there are those in governmental capacities who are thinking about people from very human, psychological and sociological standpoints rather than seeing people as merely as taxpayers or statistics for national demographics. There are those who think young people like me are worth their time, and I was grateful for that.
I was definitely given a lot to think about from that meeting. Much more to come! 🙂
Habit loop diagram courtesy of The Emotion Machine.