Kevin Green Finding Impact

FIP 92: Helping People Make the Right Choices with Kevin Green from Rare

We have Kevin Green from Rare, who leads their Center for Behavior & the Environment. He’s a whizz at qualitative and quantitative social research methods and behavior-centered design – and he’s on the show to talk us through using behavioural design in practice, so a real life example of how it was put into practice to motivate fishing communities to conserve their fishing resources so they didn’t deplete it and it would be around for future generations.

On this episode you’ll learn:

  • When applying behavioural design, you’re applying the best science available about people, what motivates them, how they make decisions – so what makes them tick – paired with the best knowledge available about the field you’re working. in. So for Kevin, that’s about the ecology of the resources and ecosystem they’re trying to protect.
    They knew that for fisheries to be sustainable, they need to limit the amount of fish taken out of the water at different times and allow the fish to renew. They also needed to motivate small communities to work together and self organise, to set rules themselves and enforce them, for their own benefit. Above all, they needed to lead that process themselves.
  • Existing tools we have had to solve big problems like these is through 3 tools: (1) we rely on policies to force people to do things, (2) incentives or disincentives to get people to do things, or (3) give information or data and hope they’ll change. These tools haven’t always done the trick. They assume people operate as rationale human beings. Wrong. Humans are emotional characters. Behavioural design comes in handy here.
  • We can use the behavioural design process. First step is to do empathy-based research with representative communities, understanding their motivations, needs and barriers through households surveys, in-depth interviews, participant observations, and focus groups. Once all this research is collected, you come up with a point-of-view of behaviours you think people need to adopt to fix the big problem.
  • After many pilots and empathy based research, Kevin and team figured that renewing coastal fisheries comes down to four categories of behaviours to restore and manage coastal fisheries: (1) fishers join a local register, to they get officially involved, (2) they need them to participate in self-organised management committees; (3) fisher comply with their own rules about what, when and how can be fished and fishers; (4) fishers have to collect and submit catch data.
  • We use behaviour design to think about how we can get the fishers to adopt and sustain the above four behaviours. They drew from the best knowledge about what motivates human beings to come up with: (1) making fishing something to be proud of; (2) give them the sense they’re part of a group so they have a reason to cooperate; (3) make doing the right thing observable so there’s a social benefit in doing it, and; (4) reducing the hassle to doing the right thing.
  • There are many triggers of human behaviour, like the four above. They are emerging all the time from different fields of science all bringing out new insights that predict how humans will behave.
  • Not to forget that this goes hand in hand with the physical infrastructure that needs setting up for these behaviours to be adopted. So in the above example, work needed to go into marking out the no-fish zone, there was a place to hold the community meetings, registers were setup, people knew where to record their catch, etc.

Links to resources:

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