Designing Motivation - Changing Human Behaviour Using Game-Elements (G-MOTIV) was about researching and applying new approaches to behavioural change based on motivation by using game elements. We have conducted research on the motivational effect of game elements in changing behaviour. Our multidisciplinary team of scientists and designers worked on developing intelligent PSS prototypes in the fields of health care and human resources, resulting in structural behavioural change. Achieving lasting change is difficult; people are often poorly motivated to change their status quo! In the domains of healthcare and human resources, this resistance leads to large financial costs for society and reorganization costs for companies. Currently, people are ‘helped’ to change using therapy, training and coaching, however these often only result in short-term effects.

To tackle this issue we needed to help people achieve long-lasting, desired behavioural change. We turned to knowledge evolving from the serious gaming industry. The game elements of fantasy, challenge and action-consequences are known to be powerful tools for motivation.

What questions were answered?
Teams from 5 universities, creative partners, service providers and application builders have worked together to answer the question: How can game elements affect user motivation for behavioural change?

What have the teams achieved?
Case-validated generic knowledge that can be applied to PSS applications aimed at changing human behaviour.

Timeframe and communication:
G-MOTIV has started in 2011 and finished in 2015. The project has generated innovative scientific knowledge in the forms of peer-reviewed journal articles, PhD theses and industry-conferences. Throughout the project, we have communicate information and results via this website.

Who was involved?
Scientific partners: Delft University of Technology, University of Amsterdam, Vrije Universiteit, Erasmus University and the Technical University Eindhoven;
Creative partners: Design Academy Eindhoven, Monobanda, IJsfontein, RANJ, Novay
Service Providers: Berenschot, Humanitas, Parnassia
Application builders: Novay.

Project leaders
Dr. Valentijn Visch, Delft University of Technology
Prof. dr. Paul Hekkert, Delft University of Technology


  • Strategic Creativity Series 04 Susana Cámara Leret Designing with young addicts and healthcare professionals in a rehabilitation clinic requires a deep understanding of the everyday situations they face, especially when the anticipated designs aim beyond the mundane at more speculative and uncharted territories. This publication brings together a wide range of perspectives of that journey, with stories about how the design of a set of smells influenced the youths’ treatment and how the design of fictional ‘companion species’ allow people at the clinic to see and discuss their daily environment in new ways. Download
  • The in-between: an experimental venture into the position of the designer Camara Leret, S.; Raijmakers, B. Increasing interdisciplinary collaborations between art, design and science, draw  attention to the need of elucidating the position of the designer. Such stance is hereby identified as an in-between position, characterised by its exploratory nature, which contributes to the experimental practice of design as a whole. This interstitial position for design, is furthermore identified as an empowering one, which can open up doors to novel opportunities and outcomes, by enabling designers to engage within the processes that construct meaning.  Download

Kindred Spirits series

The Kindred Spirits series consists of design fictions proposals that explore current relationships between patients from Mistral rehabilitation clinic, staff and their facility. The series presents two design outcomes, co-created with the patients from the clinic. These Kindred Spirits were inspired by the patients’ daily experiences, aiming to envision and understand alternate possibilities for the systems and services offered in the clinic. Design fictions can challenge existing preconceptions regarding the use of objects and their environments. The staged interactions these design artefacts present often lead to critical discussions, which expand on the role of technology in society, and consider wider needs and expectations derived from its implementation. The Kindred Spirits series contextualises this discussion, exploring the creation of collective future visions by embedding the design process within the everyday experiences of the patients.
The work began through sensory interviews, where each patient was asked to draw a map of the clinic’s location and select three spaces, based on their smell, sound and colour. Photographing, collecting and recording different samples of smells, sounds and personal anecdotes at each location, the team walked through the clinic whilst discussing individual experiences. These exercises show that patients’ perceptions of the clinic often clash with the activities held there: the joint living / dining room for example, where patients spend 80% of their time, was perceived as the most stressful and anxiety causing area by the majority, due to an excessive amount of noise.
The insights on the sensory landscape of Mistral prompted a series of creative, speculative sessions. These did not aim to find a solution for the patients’ personal afflictions, but hoped to provide the necessary distance and objectivity to ignite a critical reflection on the clinic’s environment. The idea of ‘focus points’ emerged, as interventions in the different spaces that could provide a physical / mental space for reflection and introspection.
Imagining the kind of interactions that could result from living alongside these fictional species, we began to flesh out the concept of the Kindred Spirits, focussing on commonly overlooked behaviours of the patients in relation to their environment and to each other. The term ‘kindred spirits’ is an expression in the English language that alludes to someone who shares beliefs, attitudes, feelings, or features with oneself. Each of the Kindred Spirits therefore discloses a different set of ordinary encounters that reveal implicit desires and needs of the patients. The following design proposals metaphorically represent two circumstances and conditions that patients encounter in Mistral. Each Kindred Spirit was materialised with the collaboration of medical illustrator, Maartje Kunen. Imagining these daily encounters in the context of Mistral provided the patients and staff with the aforementioned ‘focus points’, to collectively address desired behavioural patterns and routines, building confidence in the treatment and rehabilitation.
Story Kindred 1 — Hertzog
“Sometimes you can’t hear your own mind” (Mistral patient, 2013)
“Spending time in the living room is sometimes difficult; there is too much noise and that has become disturbing to us [the patients]. We all meet there and everyone talks at the same time, which leads to people yelling over each other’s voices. Unable to relax, you often need to leave the space because it’s difficult to concentrate on your own thoughts. ‘Hertzog’ reacts to sounds. When disturbed with the excess noise, it crawls out of its resting place, emitting different sounds from each extremity. When I pick it up and listen to it, it calms us both. I hear a beating tone, as if both frequencies emitted by Hertzog were mixed by my brain; it relaxes me and the sound soothes my thoughts...”
Story Kindred 2 — Gaz
“Smelling makes you want to talk” (Berend Hofman, Mistral 2013)
“There is a small room in which we have our first meeting in Mistral. The clinicians ask to talk about yourself and what you want to achieve here, but this causes stress. The room has a window that does not open so the air feels dense and uncomfortable. ‘Gaz’ likes to lie here and listen in to our conversations. Its tail is full of nerve endings and it is has a highly evolved sense of smell. Sometimes the conversations can get stressful and you become tense talking about yourself. After some time, you calm down. Then you realise that the smell has changed in the room... It’s softer, similar to Zwitsal [baby soap]; it reminds me of my little brothers. We start to talk about the smell...”

The SMK is evaluated and a journal paper is prepared. The prototype was exhibited at:
- Feral Experimental: New Design Thinking. Exhibition. UNSW Galleries, Paddington, AU (2014).
- the Innovation Estafette (section Smart Cities) at the RAI Amsterdam (2013).
- during Dutch Design week 2013
- during travelling exhibition Design United (2013/2014)