We often witness a large gap between our intentions and our actions: we may want to act in a certain way, know that we should act in a certain way, and yet we do not change our behavior.
The intention-action gap is, in fact, a major research topic in the field of behavioral science: several strategies are being studied to bridge this gap. Among them, "implementation intention" offers convincing results and interesting perspectives.
Let's start by defining this concept. Introduced by Peter Gollwitzer in 1999, implementation intention is a strategy for habit building and behavior change. It consists of a simple plan: "If situation A, then I will demonstrate behavior A". Thus, it is not the wording of an intention per se ("I want to do this"), but the formulation of the plan for its implementation (the “where”, the “when”, the “how”). In his research, Gollwitzer shows that the use of this strategy increases the likelihood that an individual will achieve his or her goal of taking action, provided that the established plan is precise and detailed enough.
This mechanism aims to help an individual move from intention to action, thus, it is a nudge in the terms of Thaler and Sunstein. Moreover, this nudge has this particularity of being self-directed: an individual setting up an implementation intention nudges one’s self to take action. The objective here is to create an automatic cognitive answer: "If situation A, then I demonstrate behavior A".
To better understand how this nudge works, let's go back to BJ Fogg's behavior model (Behavior = Motivation + Ability + Prompt). Implementation intention acts as a trigger for taking action (prompt), the other two factors being ensured by other means: we can indeed consider that the motivation factor is guaranteed by the very fact of using this strategy to actually take action; as for self-efficacy (ability), it is ensured in theory by the anticipated visualization (mental image) of the carrying out of the action (research is currently underway to test this hypothesis).
Digitizing implementation intention involves two things:
This is what Fifty offers in its eDoing solution.
As the eDoing pioneer, Fifty offers a digitized approach of implementation intention to help its clients' employees bridge the intention-action gap in training and transformations:
These features were developed by Fifty's R&D team in behavioral science. They ensure the relevance of Fifty's scientific approach and make regular adjustments to the product based on the latest research results.
By digitizing the implementation intention in its eDoing product, Fifty is now able to triple the rate of training and transformation implementation for its clients.
Fifty's R&D team is pursuing its research effort to identify levers to further strengthen the effectiveness of digitalized implementation intention, and is regularly published. You can find here their latest publication.