Change Points

The Change Points Toolkit supports users in developing interventions that unlock unsustainable practices so that alternative, less intensive patterns of consumption can emerge. It is not like any existing behaviour change toolkit. Rather than focusing on the individual – ‘the customer’, ‘the user’, ‘the consumer’ – this toolkit aids users to explore possibilities for ambitious, innovative forms of intervention that engage in the social and material fabric of everyday life.

The toolkit results from collaboration between academics at Sheffield and Manchester Universities, with a wide range of partner organisations in government, industry and the third sector, over a series of funded research projects. The toolkit can be downloaded as a pdf here.

Change Points has been used by many different organisations to explore responses to many different sustainability challenges:

  • Eradicating Unflushables with Anglian Water: The Change Points team co-convened a workshop on “Unflushables 2030?” with Anglian Water, bringing together more than 30 businesses and organisations to examine the complex cultural, political and material dimensions of flushing practices and identify creative new avenues for intervention. The workshop used the Change Points method to consider how to shift hygiene cultures away from disposable and single use products; and how to move beyond behaviour change (education, awareness, labelling as education) campaigns on flushing products to interventions that address social, cultural and infrastructural dynamics.
  • Thought leaders at the Environment Agency: In January 2020, the Environment Agency’s invited Claire Hoolohan to present Change Points at their ‘thought leadership’ workshop, and discuss how it might inform their new collaborative strategy. Claire presented the Change Points toolkit, demonstrating how the approach mobilises social practice theories, a body of work traditionally difficult to apply in policy settings, to identify the plethora of connections that the Environment Agency might make to other organisations driving forward sustainability agendas within the UK. The presentation is available here: https://tinyurl.com/tfmqxhh
  • Responsible recreation with the cross-government Environment Behaviour Change group: Natural England invited the Change Points team to lead a collaborative workshop to understand the systemic nature of recreation (particularly concerning dog walking and foraging). The workshop sought to identify integrated responses to enable responsible interactions with rural environments, working with businesses and organsiations throughout society to popularise responsible dog walking and foraging practices.

Funders:

Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)

Duration:

2016 - Ongoing

Publications:

Watson, Browne, Evans, Foden, Hoolohan, Sharp (2020) Challenges and opportunities for re-framing resource use policy with practice theories: The Change Points approach. Global Environmental Change.

Hoolohan and Browne (2020) Design thinking for practice-based intervention: Co-producing the change points toolkit to unlock (un) sustainable practices. Design Studies 67, 102-132

Hoolohan et al (2018) Change Points: A toolkit for designing interventions that unlock unsustainable practices. The University of Manchester, Manchester, UK Available Online: www.changepoints.net