Category Archives: HAPIexperiences

Habit Change and the HAPIfork

At the Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford University, Dr. BJ Fogg and his students have spent over a decade furthering our understanding of how technology can help us modify our habits. The Fogg Behavior Model looks at behavior change very simply:

Behavior =  Motivation + Ability +Trigger

Fogg Behavior Model

Fogg Behavior Model

In other words, you have to want to change a habit, changing the habit needs to be possible for you to do (ability), and then you have to have something that prompts you to make the change (the trigger).  Motivation becomes secondary and even inconsequential if the ability, trigger and intended behavior are engineered just right.  The tinier the behavior the more likely it will done.

What have we found to be the most important variable? The trigger! People change when they have a “Hot Trigger”  — that call to action that prompts them when they’re exactly in the moment and the place to make the change.

The HAPIfork is a good example of helping people change a behavior by making the trigger for change happen exactly at the moment when they need to make the change. You want to eat slower (that’s the motivation). You CAN eat more slowly; nothing is preventing you from doing so. But you have to concentrate and actually change the behavior. That needs both increased ablity and a trigger. The HAPIfork provides both ability and trigger when it vibrates: “Wait a moment before you eat that next bite.”

There are many things I noticed about the HAPIfork – the first being it’s FUN! In fact, it is like you’re able to play a game with yourself. It can be either discreet or playful – no one knows if I’ve eaten too quickly…. but if I am with the right dining companion we can laugh when I make a mistake. Because you know, it is funny!

And never discount the importance of fun and play in behavior change.  It reframes what we’re trying to do from one of success/failure to play/play again.

I noticed two other things as I ate my salad with the Hapifork.  It brought back sensuality to eating.  What I mean is, it engaged my senses.  – I noticed the texture and the taste and the smell of the greens, dressing, walnuts, goat cheese and bell peppers.  The corollary to sensuality was of being fully present.   If ever there was a technological aid to mindful eating, this is it.

But most importantly, it changes my behavior in a tiny way at exactly the moment I need to make a change. This is what we know is effective. I’m happy that this tool is available for those people who want to change this behavior, and looking forward to the encores!


Remembering What Really Matters During a Kickstarter Campaign

I remember being in the offices of a renowned mobile and software company ten or so years ago after having lunch with the CEO. They had just completed an IPO and as we walked into the main office space, increasingly becoming overcrowded with cubicles, he noticed how many employees were watching the stock price on their screens.

With me trailing behind him, he abruptly stopped and addressed his teams with a sense of urgency that surprised me. He said in a bold voice: “I don’t want to see you starring at numbers on your screen all day – spend your time doing whatever you can to make our existing customers happy.”

Hear hear. At the start of the HAPIfork Kickstarter campaign two days ago, I found myself obsessed with checking the screen constantly, even during meetings. The addictive nature of a campaign that has $$’s attached to it is impossible to ignore. After day two, I stopped and returned to a quick check every other hour, as a way to quickly check the progress but not be consumed by it.

That said, a campaign of this nature takes on a life of its own. After four hours, the Kickstarter HAPIfork campaign was 10% towards reaching its $100K goal and on day three, we are at 42,544 at the time of writing this blog post.

Here’s a glimpse of my addictive screen grabs on Wednesday and Thursday. Continue reading

It’s Your Lunch – Enjoy It!

I asked one of my close friends to try out the HAPIfork. He’s a very gracious yet highly “go-getter” person, a Type A Driver VP of Sales, well over 6 feet tall who puts away a high-energy, big man’s amount of food. I sincerely wondered whether the fork vibrating as he ate quickly (er… very quickly) would make him want to chuck the fork across the room.

His response was that it was definitely annoying. He wasn’t sure what to do when it vibrated – I suspect he was eating so quickly that he couldn’t slow down enough for it to wait 8 seconds between bites. (The forks that are for sale will have adjustable intervals.) But he added that he liked the idea of slowing down mid-day, of really enjoying his lunch. He felt it was something he cherished that he didn’t always remember to do.

I like the idea of slowing down and smelling the roses in the middle of the day.

It was he who suggested “It’s your lunch – enjoy it!” Because it was his lunch, and — even someone who hates being held back by anything or anyone — extracting all the value he possibly could from his lunch was very appealing.

As it turns out, Larry Magid had the same type of experience.

HAPIfork Dissassembled

The prototypes have been in the hands of some of the more lucky HAPILABS staff, and that includes me!

How the Fork Works

In short: pretty simply. I turn it on by depressing a button at the base. Then I eat with it, just exactly like using a regular fork. It vibrates if it goes into my mouth more frequently than its setting (currently 8 seconds). If it vibrates, I wait a little bit before the next bite to make sure that it doesn’t vibrate again. Mostly it just reminds me, “Another forkful already?”

My Experience So Far

First, yes of course I’m biased! But I’ll give you my impression and you can decide to be as skeptical as you wish.

Well as it turns out, I think odd things! For example, one time when the fork vibrated I caught myself thinking “NO – wait! That’s not fair! That last bite was tiny – I have more room in mouth….!”  And then I realized, “Oh just hang on, the point is not to stuff as much food into my mouth as fast as possible after all, is it?” Hmmmm.

HAPIfork dissassembled

The HAPIfork comes apart easily for washing.

It feels a little bit like what I guess my roommate’s dog experienced during clicker training. I don’t really have to work hard at being mindful, because the fork reminds me to be mindful at a visceral level, like body awareness. Of course I get my rewards when the fork does NOT vibrate, so it’s not exactly the same. So it is like the fork is training me to be more mindful automatically. I know that sounds like a paradox, but so it goes.

The Fork

So many people have asked about cleaning the fork that I have a photo here of it disassembled. The outer casing is dishwasher safe.

The inner part of the fork slips out easily.

I also am a picky person when it comes to the weight of the utensil. I  was a little bit concerned about the circumference, but despite the fact I have small hands (I’m just under 5′ tall, or 1.51m), it was fine to eat with and I liked the weight.

Yikes! HAPI-imposters!

We’re everywhere, except a few times, it’s not us! There are contests and competitions – there are even people posing as us on Twitter! (wow!)

So, let’s be clear:

In general on social media, we’re HAPILABS. That’s on facebook, pinterest, and youtube as well as other social media sites as, google+, and others.

Any other sites are set up by other people and are outside our control. If you have any questions, please add in the comments. I’ll update as we find things that are confusing, but again – contact us if you have questions.