EDUCATING HOUSEHOLDS ABOUT everyday energy savings to help mitigate the impacts of climate change



Energy saving is a concept concerned with reducing the amount of energy that we use. Climate change poses a very real threat to humanity, and while the world is actively working towards implementing more sustainable processes and energy sources, we can still do more within our households to save our planet and ourselves by saving energy.

Using service innovation principles and methodologies, this project aimed to create a way of educating Perth households as to how they can save energy. This project is considered a wicked problem. Wicked problems are complex and not able to be solved via a single, finite action. In order to tackle the wicked problem of energy saving, we used something called design thinking - which is both a mindset and methodology that is particularly effective for clarifying and addressing such wicked problems.  Using design thinking, our team (made up of 3 postgraduate design students) engaged in research and investigation, and concept development in order to tackle this wicked problem. This process in broken down in the design thinking model below.


People playing a board game on a table.

To guide our research and design work in this project, we developed the following three objectives:


Help the Perth public reduce their impact on the environment through saving energy at the household level


Educate the people of Perth as to how they can save energy and the benefits of doing so


Collect research to understand the barriers to people conserving more energy, and determine how these barriers may be overcome


In service design projects, it is important to consider the wide range of stakeholders that could have an interest in the project, or who the project could have an impact on. This stakeholder map shows the connections between the people, groups, and entities that are connected with saving energy.

Stakeholder map for energy savings.
Stakeholder Map (hover or tap to magnify)

Ethnographic research is a human-centred research approach which is concerned with the motivations, actions, opinions, perspectives and experiences of people. Ethnographic research favours qualitative data over quantitative data; it is more concerned with why people think certain things than with how many people think that thing, as an understanding of ‘the why’ is what is needed to most effectively address the needs and wants of the people being designed for. In order to glean insights from our interviews, we used empathy mapping. Empathy mapping is the process by which data from interviewing is categorised in order to identify patterns.


This concept map shows the connections between the huge range of ideas we generated from ideation and brainstorming activities. Concept mapping allows us to see which ideas are connected and could work well together in order to select a comprehensive system of touchpoints which work well together. The two systems we chose for this project are highlighted in blue and yellow.

Concept map with links between various ideas.
Concept Map (hover or tap to magnify)

Viability mapping is a tool used to understand and evaluate the effectiveness and validity of the pool of concepts we generated. Once plotted on the map, it can be seen which concepts are the strongest and most likely to be effective in making an impact on household energy reduction, and which concepts will not.

Viability map of generated concepts.
Viability Map (hover or tap to magnify)


After determining which concepts would be most effective in achieving our goal of assisting with household energy savings, we needed to explore these concepts further in order to test them and gain a more tangible understanding of them. We did this through low-fidelity prototyping.

Our first concept we needed to prototype was the board game. This concept was designed to be a multiplayer board game that households (or students at school) could play together in order to learn about energy savings in an entertaining way. Set in a house, this game would involve players moving around the board in order to be the most energy efficient player in that house. For this game, low fidelity prototyping involved designing how the game would work, and included consideration of the aim, mechanics, components, and (most importantly) how to embed energy saving education into the gameplay.

Our second concept was an advertising campaign, designed to be accompany the roll out of the board game, to promote the game and make the public aware that they will be receiving a copy in their mailbox soon. This campaign would have a focus on portraying the board game in a way that the public can gain a basic understanding of how the game works and its purpose prior to receiving it.



The final board game we have developed is titled “Who DoesWatt?: The Energy Saving Board Game.” While originally, we had thought that a question-based game asking players questions about energy saving would be the most educational, we realised that – based on our research – people would be unlikely to know the answers to questions related to the novel ways they can save energy. Additionally, if the gameplay was based mostly around knowledge on energy saving, we realised this could fail to engage people in comparison to board games which are based around fun gameplay.

Game box and instruction manual.Game box.Back of game box.Assorted game components.Character pieces.Character tokens.Savvy Savings cards.Action cards.
Board game hi-fi prototypes

So, through all this ideation, we ultimately determined that the best design for the board game would be a territory-based game, where the gameplay was not based around learning about energy savings, and instead learning about energy savings just happens passively. The focus shifted away from characters, habits or abilities, and instead focused on the wide variety of ways people can save energy in their households.

Who Done Watt? essentially works  as follows:

  1. Players need to make their way around the board to the numbered spaces around the board.
  2. Each numbered space corresponds to a way to save energy. Through saving energy at that space (by placing a token), players can take ownership of these spaces.
  3.  If players own enough numbered spaces in a room, they control that room.
  4.  At the end of the game, players are awarded points based on the rooms they control – and the player with the most points wins.
High-fidelity board design.
Hi-fi board design (hover or tap to magnify)


The advertising campaign concept did not significantly change in purpose or design from the low fidelity prototyping. The overall purpose remained as advertising the Who Does Watt? board game, communicating its entertainment value, educational value, and how people could expect to get a hold of it. As the game has been designed as something which will be provided freely to the public, to get the game into the hands of the public, it was envisioned that it could:

  • Be provided to schools so students could play the game and be educated about how to save energy while at school, and
  • Be sent out in the mail so that all household scan have access to it

In this way, people would have the game delivered, with all the instructions and necessary components to begin playing. However, to ensure people are prepared for receiving the board game in this way (and avoid any confusion, or people just throwing it away assuming it is junk or not meant for them) this advertising campaign would inform people about the purpose of the game, and how they can expect it to be in their mail. To do so, we have created three examples of advertisements:

  1. TV ad
  2. Billboard ad
  3. Social media ad


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Haffenden, Damien. 2022. “How Much You Can Cash In On Your Old BoardGames and Video Games.” 7News Stories, August 19 2022. https://7news.com.au/stories/how-much-you-can-cash-in-on-your-old-board-games-and-video-games/

JESHOOTS. 2017. “Smartphone Phone Call Message.” Pixabay. https://pixabay.com/photos/smartphone-phone-call-mes- sage-2212963/

jcomp. 2021. “TV in Living Room Mockup.” Freepik. (AccessedNovember 14, 2022). https://www.freepik.com/free-psd/tv-living-room- mockup_12909296.htm#query=smart%20tv%20mockup&posi-tion=4&from_view=keyword