‘You cannot force people to eat three pieces of fruit a day, but you can try to seduce them,’ says Nynke Tromp, who works as an assistant professor Social Design & Behaviour Change at the department of Industrial Design, Delft University of Technology. After her PhD and working as a social designer in practice at Reframing Studio, she now continues her study to the value of design in counteracting social problems.
Tromp is intrigued by the fact that products change behaviour, often without people being aware of it, and often unintentionally. The central question to her studies is: how can we let this power of design work in favour of all of us and design it to promote pro-social behaviour? Equipped with this knowledge, so she shows, designers bring unique value to the table when counteracting the pressing social issues we face today.
Tromp worked on social challenges like organ donation, political engagement of citizens, and recovery from psychosis. In 2013, she won the Rotterdam Design Prize for temstem, a smartphone application to help people cope with hearing voices (developed at Reframing Studio). Currently, she is engaged in redesigning the complete Dutch mental health care sector, curbing the trade in ivory and rhino horn, and exploring the future of prisons.