Decision-Centered Design for Developing Social Good Technologies
Technological interventions for improving resiliency and sustainability in the face of health and environmental threats inevitably make assumptions about the behavior of the people who must respond to those interventions. Unless those assumptions are realistic, the interventions may fail. The social and behavioral sciences are critical for informing the development of interventions. Decision science approaches problems through three interrelated activities: formal analysis of the choices a fully informed actor would take, descriptive research to examine how people actually behave in those circumstances, and interventions to create attractive options and help decision makers chose among them. Each activity requires collaboration with technical experts (e.g., physicians, climate scientists, engineers, computer scientists, designers) and continuing engagement with decision makers. I apply a decision science approach in a variety of domains related to resiliency and sustainability, including reducing the risks of preterm birth and preparing for sea level rise. This talk will illustrate the approach through examples of my work on designing, developing, and evaluating interactive technologies. When successful, decision science can facilitate creating resiliency- and sustainability-related interventions that are behaviorally informed, realistic, and respectful of the people for whom they seek to aid.
About Gabrielle Wong-Parodi
Gabrielle Wong-Parodi is an Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU). She applies the decision science approach to design, develop and evaluate human-centered interactive interventions to improve community resilience and sustainability in the face of environmental and health threats. She has applied this approach to multiple topics including indoor air quality, preterm birth, energy conservation, energy development, sea level rise, and natural hazard resiliency. Dr. Wong-Parodi is also a faculty affiliate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in the Behavior Analytics group and at Stanford University in the Peace Innovation Lab. For the past few years, she has also served as CMU's social science research liaison for Skoll Global Threats. Dr. Wong-Parodi holds a B.A. in Psychology and a Ph.D. in Energy and Resources, both from UC Berkeley.