If you are reading even this first line—I get who you are. You are part of an esoteric tribe—of innovators, designers, interventionists, thought leaders—those who positively change behavior as a profession, as a life mission. Yet while you derive meaning and purpose from what you do, the rest of the world doesn’t always understand what you do. (And you probably have the damnedest time teaching them!)
One of the best start-up CEOs I know, Patrick, gets it. Last week, he had reached out about our team designing the behavior change aspect of his health tech product. Coming off of a successful exit as CTO of his last company, this is not Patrick’s first rodeo—so in no time he already has built an A-team of talented advisors, engineers, and designers. He described an impressive list of their accomplishments thus far.
“But,” he said, “We know that we need to change key behaviors in order for this to help people so I thought of you—you’re like the special ops of healthcare design.”
We are not alone.
I would argue that there are a bunch of us — that engagedIN is just one clan within a larger tribe of “Behavior Changers” scattered throughout the health and wellness sector. I see them everywhere: a behavior scientist who designs incentives, a super creative hospital marketing group in Vermont, innovators helping save consumers and energy at a public utility, the head of employee well-being designing new approaches for a jumbo employer. These folks are hidden in plain sight—visible only to those who climb the same mountain.
My mentor and behavior change expert, David Lewis, used to have a saying that describes the mutual recognition among people who are trying to change the world for the better. He called it “you know that I know that you know that I know.”
In my own experience, it’s obvious when someone from this tribe is speaking on the same panel at a conference or innovating from inside of a large company or creating a best-in-class technology or using a powerful concept in their communications. They typically have some sort of leadership role peppered with words like innovation, strategy, employee experience, well-being, entrepreneur and engagement. Or sometimes they go completely stealth with a generic title like “product head”.
Regardless, I “see” them – and I know they “see” me.
Ok, but so what?! Here’s what:
engagedIN is opening a neuroscience-design training facility, CHANGE, on 160 acres of redwood, trails, clear streams, and sunny knolls in the Santa Cruz mountains dedicated to OUR TRIBE – for the furthering of creative, behavior change solutions that truly help people. So far, we have gathered dozens of the most innovative leaders in behavior change, neuroscience, and design to provide guidance and faculty on our initial courses.
Now, we are adding to this core group. And, we want your guidance:
IF you feel this is YOUR tribe – that what was described here resonates with, maybe even calls to YOU, we want to invite you to co-design CHANGE with us. Take this survey to weigh in on what our first course should be, who you think should teach it, what you think you may want to offer, and other out-of-the-box ideas you may have.
I want to sincerely THANK YOU for the work you do—and for pushing through all of the doubt, frustration, and constraints every day. In the words of Jeff Bezos, “You have to be willing to be misunderstood if you’re going to innovate.” You are NOT alone!