GreenDot Behaviors Preview

By the Stanford Behavior Wizard Team

An overview of GreenDot behaviors and techniques for achieving them.

GreenDot Behavior Overview

green dot behaviorIf you want someone to do a new behavior just one time, you are seeking a Green Dot Behavior.

Examples include:

  • Health: Eat quinoa for the first time.
  • Environment: Install solar panels on a home.
  • Commerce: Register online for a new car insurance policy.

Green Dot behaviors are often used in the beginning stages of complex behavior inductions. For example, if a company is interested in creating a loyal, repeat customer, they might start off with a small introductory offer. This can then lead to more extensive, prolonged relations and, eventually, habitual purchasing behavior.

The main challenge that we face while triggering a Green Dot behavior is a lack of ability. Since Dot behaviors occur only once, the subject must have enough knowledge to successfully complete the action on the first attempt. Otherwise, frustration, and quitting, may occur.

To achieve a Green Dot Behavior, three elements must come together at once. As the Fogg Behavior Model describes, you must Trigger the behavior when the person is both Motivated and Able to perform it. If any of these three elements is missing, the behavior will not occur.

  1. Couple the trigger with a motivational or facilitative element.
  2. Increase the ability of the subject by explaining the novel behavior in terms of one that is familiar.
  3. Increase the motivation of the subject by explicitly highlighting the benefits of the action.
Our Resource Guide for Green Dot Behaviors explains specific techniques and tools for inducing novel one-time behaviors. It also highlights successful programs and online systems that exist for this.

About Resource Guides

Our Stanford team created these Resources Guides to help people working on behavior change projects. We can make it easier for you to:

1. Learn about a specific type of behavior change

2. Create solutions for achieving that behavior

In the past, most designers and researchers guessed at solutions for changing behavior. And frankly most attempts failed. Today, rather than guessing at solutions, people who use our Resource Guides will have clear guidance.

Our Stanford team will continue to improve each of the 15 Resource Guides.  We welcome your input.

BJ Fogg, Ph.D. (
Director, Persuasive Tech Lab @ Stanford University



The Behavior Guides were created in 2010 and we are no longer updating or selling them.

There is still lots of useful information in these guides. If you’re interested in obtaining a specific guide, please email us ( and let us know in which guide you’re interested and why. We may be able to share a copy with you.

We hope you’ll also benefit from our more recent behavior design projects at:

–BJ Fogg, Ph.D. (
Director, Persuasive Tech Lab @ Stanford University


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