We want GRET staff to have a basic understanding of human-centered design and behavior change so that they can design more user-centric projects with more impactful outcomes.



Designing for Impact 

GRET Cambodia has worked for 32 years to improve the lives of Cambodians through a variety of interventions and programs across multiple sectors including WASH and waste management, nutrition and health, agricultural value chains, and many more. However, program success on behavior change has varied. Some projects do well initially, but the results aren’t long-lasting. The GRET team wanted to learn how to use human-centered design principles to create projects that would have a measurable impact on beneficiaries’ behavior over a longer period of time.

With this in mind, 17 Triggers designed a 3-day training workshop for GRET project staff with a multi-layered goal to shift their mindset to be more human-centered, introduce the skill-set needed to understand and change behaviors and, ultimately, provide tools that participants could use to immediately start creating —and implementing— impactful, human-centric interventions.

Shifting Mindsets

The workshop kicked off with a short quiz and activity called “How to Make Soup” to help participants rethink what it means to be wrong and to understand why being “right” isn’t the objective with human-centered design (HCD). The GRET project team saw how HCD allows for many potential solutions to be “correct” and how the goal is to center the wants and needs of the users at the core of the intervention to design for their needs.

I was so excited to learn human centered design! I realized that changing people’s behavior is not easy because it takes time and we need to put ourselves in the shoes of the beneficiaries to better understand how to improve their practices”.

– Vichheka Ly, Behavior Change and Communication Officer

Building Skill Sets

Methodologies including persona development and customer journey mapping helped participants understand their users in a new light, while the Elephant, Rider, Path framework revealed how multiple influences —including rational, emotional, and environmental influences— work together to drive behaviors. Using tools like the Barrier Deep Dive, and a variety of behavioral worksheets, 17 Triggers guided the GRET team through strategies that would help them direct the Rider, motivate the Elephant, and shape the Path to change user behaviors.

Creating Solutions

The team practiced using a series of divergent and convergent tools to think big and wide when generating solutions, but also learned to focus and narrow down promising ideas. A Pattern Breaker tool was introduced to help the team come up with unique and out of the box solutions, while a viability matrix helped the team assess the quality of their ideas to make strategic decisions on which ideas to take forward. After a quick lesson in “failing fast,” the team started bringing their ideas to life through a series of rapid prototyping cycles: make, test, learn, iterate. 

“The training provided me with easy tools, such as the path, rider and elephant, to develop an approach and tools for changing the behavior of customers, especially on solid waste management and access to water and sanitation.”

– Kimheng Ly, Deputy Project Manager

By the end of the workshop, participants had explored multiple different strategic directions for their interventions and had a couple of viable, internally tested intervention ideas. Most importantly, the GRET team had a brand new approach for how to design projects to be more user-centric and a toolbox of skills and frameworks to help them achieve the impact they were looking to make.