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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.

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FIP 91: Alexandra Fiorillo on behavioral science and social impact

Today, we speak with Alexandra Fiorillo of GRID Impact on how to incorporate behavioral design elements into social enterprises to maximize impact.

On this episode:

  • Alexandra defines behavioral design as the integration of the mindsets of the two disciplines of human-centered design and behavioral science. She explains how behavioral science is the study of action-taking and is often very focused on a single moment in time or decision while human-centered design is an empathy-based collaborative process which is used as a problem-solving tool. When these two are combined together, you have a discipline that addresses both how humans actually behave and as well as what their aspirations are.
  • Some of the elements of behavioral science that contribute to behavioral design include biases that create barriers to behavior, such as status quo or default bias. Understanding default bias is important for designers so they can think about how they can develop an active choice set.
  • Alexandra shares some of the ways behavioral design contributes to social enterprises, including helping companies create customer acquisition and retention strategies and develop marketing materials and pricing policies.
  • She goes in-depth on the example of sanitation, noting that just because a toilet is “better” does not mean it is necessarily going to be embraced by customers. Some of the barriers to adopting a new product – especially in the case of sanitation – could include social norms and mental barriers.
  • Another example from the global health field is kangaroo mother care, which Alexandra notes will not be taken up just because it is recommended. In this case, GRID Impact has worked to redesign and test new counseling experiences with families that employ visual story telling methods. As kangaroo mother care use usually drop-offs after hospital discharge, they are also testing a new method of turning the moment of discharge into something celebratory that encourages future use of the method.
  • Some of the practical principles of behavioral designs highlighted by Alexandra include focusing on changing the context of the decision and not the person. She also addresses “nudges” and advises that social enterprises think about incorporating the three principles of nudges: never mislead and always be transparent, always provide people with alternatives, and have a clear reason about why the nudge will ultimately be good for the person that is being nudged.
  • Her final tips are that social entrepreneur leaders should also consider their employees to be their users, focus on redesigning tiny moments, run micro-experiments, make evidence-based decisions, and understanding that some biases can actually be a combination of multiple biases.

Links to Resources:

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