Quant Self Intervention

Assignment 5: Quant Self Intervention

  • About:
  • Design or prototype an intervention that would help you to change your behavior based on the data you’ve gathered. Technical or community or social based interventions are fair game.
  • You will:
  • make your intervention tangible; make it visual or physical in some way.
  • justify how your intervention works and why it is convinving for you and why it might (or might not) be a useful strategy for others.

Your intervention should either:

  1. respond to data you submit regarding a goal you want to achieve the next couple weeks OR
  2. that prompts you to interact or reminds you to submit data or self-log in some way.



Nobody likes an intervention. So designing your own intervention is needless to say a little difficult. Mostly because it involves you admitting that you have habits you want to, or at least need to change.

So, sometimes it can be necessary.

Some background: I recently received my gold member card from Starbucks, not that I really need an extra piece of plastic in my wallet, I mean who does. But it did prompt me for some introspection, since I don’t actually drink coffee (in the traditional sense), but I do need a place away from the ITP floor, and from home, to sit and work. Not just any place however: It has to be a place where I can sit in the window, and where people won’t bother me, but that is busy enough, that I feel the “buzz” of the place, to prompt me for quick focus.

Also, it has to be somewhere I can sit for a long time, without feeling the need to buy “more”. So back in DK I’d go to Espresso House (Danish version of Starbucks) a lot, because they have these frapuccino’s which take a while to drink, ie. allows you to sit for a good while. Now even though Starbucks version of the mocha frap is not as good (in my opinion). I still brought the habit with me here. I also sometimes get lunch there (crappy lunch + I always get the frap as well, never just lunch, there are better places for that).

Back in DK I had a rewards card, so I’d get a 10% discount every time.

Here I have the Starbucks app.

Unfortunately for Starbucks, the app lets me track how ofter I go.

So I logged in and counted, because I know I have been there A LOT recently.



17 purchases (some free because of rewards), since March 1st. That is more than half the amount of days in a month. That is a lot (of money too).

In comparison december + february makes 13 purchases together.

(Got the app in november).

Yeah, this is obviously too much for me.


Intervention design

I can think of 3 designs that would work for me.

1: a pop up whenever I open the Starbucks app, prompting “do you really need that sugar”, “drink cocoa at home”, “find better lunch” etc. This would be the least useful, since my brain automatically does this. However, forcing me to stand in line since I can’t use the app might just work to discourage me.

2: A geofence whenever I go near a Starbucks. A loud noise or something overruling my Spotify (I always listen to Spotify when I am there, or when I am on the street). I rarely take my drink to go, so this would be useful.

3: An intervention of the biological sense. I’m all about the wearables, and telling me that my blood sugar is through the roof – visualizing the negative effect on my body, might be the only intervention that will truly work.


None of these solve the underlying issue, going out to have a place to work, and the “drinking keeps me focused”. But I can’t think of anything that could solve that. If I could I’d be doing that and not going to Starbucks.