The Application of Theory to Intervention Design

Why a Structured Process Is Vital
  • Helena Rubinstein


To design effective products, services, and interventions, we need to go beyond creativity and gut feel. Rubinstein describes a five-step process that can be applied in business that starts with defining the desired behavioural outcome and takes the reader through approaches for doing a behavioural diagnostic, prioritising the influences on behaviour, identifying suitable behaviour-change techniques, ideating products, services and interventions, and prioritising them, and ends with how to test and evaluate them. The chapter concludes by recommending that the use of a systematic process, grounded in evidence and theory, results in solutions that are more likely to be effective and acceptable to the consumer. A structured approach is essential to narrow down to a small number of product and service ideas and interventions that have a higher probability of success.


Behaviour-change techniques Behavioural diagnosis Intervention design Intervention evaluation 


  1. Bartholomew, L. K., Parcel, G. S., & Kok, G. (1998). Intervention mapping: A process for developing theory- and evidence-based health education programs. Health Education & Behavior: The Official Publication of the Society for Public Health Education, 25(5), 545–563. Scholar
  2. Campbell, M., Fitzpatrick, R., Haines, A., Kinmonth, A. L., Sandercock, P., Spiegelhalter, D., & Tyrer, P. (2000). Framework for design and evaluation of complex interventions to improve health. BMJ, 321(7262), 694–696. Scholar
  3. Cane, J., O’Connor, D., & Michie, S. (2012). Validation of the theoretical domains framework for use in behaviour change and implementation research. Implementation Science, 7(1), 37.Google Scholar
  4. Dolan, P., Hallsworth, M., Halpern, D., King, D., & Vlaev, I. (2010). MINDSPACE: Influencing behaviour through public policy. Cabinet Office; Institute for Government. Retrieved from
  5. Maddux, J. E., & Rogers, R. W. (1983). Protection motivation and self-efficacy: A revised theory of fear appeals and attitude change. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 19(5), 469–479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Michie, S., Atkins, L., & West, R. (2014). The behaviour change wheel: A guide to designing interventions. London: Silverback Publishing.Google Scholar
  7. VanGundy, A. B. (2008). 101 activities for teaching creativity and problem solving. John Wiley & Sons.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Helena Rubinstein
    • 1
  1. 1.Innovia Technology LtdCambridgeUK

Personalised recommendations