Extreme environments, behavior changes and being able to do more when allowed to do less

Interesting blog post by trackchanges that looks into how new environments, especially when extreme, lead to changes in behavior. Continuum sent a Programm Development Associate and a Principal in Human-Centered Design to West Point to undergo day one of basic training. Read the full report and watch the video below.

Another thought: At West Point the recruits are subject to extreme situations and extreme constraints. As a result they change behavior and perform at or above their maximum. Likewise, a designer or innovator is at their best / most creative when working under constraints. As Charles and Ray Eames said “Design is all about constraints.” I would consider this when interpreting the findings the two designers had at West Point.

Check out the full article and video below.



Designing from the Trenches

Posted by Alanna Fincke
Recently, Continuum staffers Devorah Klein, Principal in Human-Centered Design, and Caitlin Toombs, Program Development Associate, braved a day of basic training at the famed West Point military academy in Hudson Valley, New York. Why, you ask, would these two subject themselves to such torture? They were lucky enough to attend a practice R-Day.

R-Day is the first day of training for the new class of recruits, done each year in the summer. The real R-day is run partially by the more senior cadets, so for a rehearsal, West Point opens up their doors once a year to a select few brave civilians, who allow themselves to be the guinea pigs for a dry run.

The Continuum team wasn’t just in it for the extraordinary stories they’d get to tell us when they got back. Klein and Toombs were interested in how R-Day—so tough that you are supposed to fail and fail fast—could affect behavior change. After all, change is hard. And the military knows a thing or two about effectively managing behavioral change.

How can going to extremes, beyond your personal limit, help you make dramatic changes in your life? What could they teach us about adherence and compliance—and, more importantly, about human behavior?

Find out what they learned in Devorah Klein’s video.

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