Design-driven campaigning for behaviour change

A Case Study

good friends has been working with Mercy Corp, helping them take a customer-centric approach and develop a market for clean energy in Timor Leste.


Most people in Timor Leste do not have access to electricity

To meet their energy needs, families can spend up to four hours a day collecting firewood and over a third of their income on kerosene – a financial burden that carries serious health and environmental risks.

We helped Mercy Corps develop a market in clean energy

Mercy Corps asked us to develop a behaviour change campaign and help them build clean energy markets from the ground up.

Our Approach

Be user centered

To do this, we help Mercy Corp gain a deep understanding of the needs of users and to build consumer awareness of clean energy products.

Co-design with stakeholders

We helped the programme manager set up a and lead a local design team in Timor Leste so that Mercy Corp could work together with users and other stakeholders.

Provide remote support

We trained the team in user-centric design methods and provided remote support, guiding the programme manager in Timor Leste through the entire process from our office in Berlin.

The Process

To begin with, we helped the local design team to question their assumptions and really understand the needs, hopes and aspirations of potential customers. We guided them through a range of qualitative research methods and real world observations, including spending a night in a household, observing how people use existing lighting practices.

In the second step, we helpd the team to synthesise their research and define the core problems that need to be addressed.

Together with the local design team, we created as many ideas as possible how many to solve the key problems.

Once the team in Timor Leste had decided which solutions to take further, we began to make low-cost, quick prototypes here in Berlin so that the team test their ideas with real people in Timor leste.

By putting working prototypes in the hands of users as early and as often as possible,  we can spot problems early on and improve our ideas based on users feedback.


A national trust mark

We realised that the key barrier to purchase was the perceived poor-quality of existing solar lamps. So we developed the ‘Solar Energie’ brand as national mark of quality for selected products. A simple, visual logo was developed that maked it easy for local retailers to replicate themselves

A cross-media campaign

Based on the claim ‘Good light, good life’, we developed a national campaign around series of key use scenarios that illustrated the benefits of solar energy and explained how the products work. The campaign was bought to life in print, radio, television and a touring roadshow.

A distribution and support network

Together we designed the sales and distribution network for solar products. Community advocates acted as local sales representatives and a mobile sales team allowed us to reach even the most remote villages.


“In the energy world, it was really our flagship programme.”

Watch our interview with Will Baron, Programme Manager for the Energy For All project.

Contact us
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