Thinking beyond your service…

Posted on June 12, 2014

Supermarkets in the Netherlands offer their patrons free coffee. There is usually a machine in the store from which you can acquire a caffeine boost, a nice lift in an otherwise soulless experience.  But as you exit the supermarket, this is where the service ends; There are no bins to receive empty cups directly outside the supermarket.  This has lead to customers finding novel places to put the cups.  On the surface this could be looked at as simple littering. But the fact that the customers are looking for deliberate places to put the cups, other than on the ground, suggests that given an alternative way to dispose of them they would use it.  In fact this ritual has almost taken on the status of a game, attempting to fill whole railings with empty cups.  It also creates some interesting questions for creating a collection method that engages people beyond simply throwing their cups away? Its a good lesson as design moves into services to consider the downstream consequence of setting up a new behaviour, and if it creates an opportunity for further engagement.