Aspirational Communication, an approach that seeks to motivate and mobilize people to support a cause by connecting it to the audience’s aspirations for their own lives. I specifically suggest a six-step framework based on the approach that can help social movements to drive durable attitude change.
Jamie Robins and I have written a book that provides a cohesive presentation of concepts of, and methods for, causal inference. Much of this material is currently scattered across journals in several disciplines or confined to technical articles. We expect that the book will be of interest to anyone interested in causal inference, e.g., epidemiologists, statisticians, psychologists, economists, sociologists, political scientists, computer scientists… The book is divided in 3 parts of increasing difficulty: causal inference without models, causal inference with models, and causal inference from complex longitudinal data.
the report sits uncomfortably with evidence that information needs vary across contexts; a 2018 review of awareness raising interventions across different target populations found success varied markedly.  The same message that will draw attention from policy makers may not resonate with the public and care providers around the world.
We realized we were using insider language to describe innovation (as exemplified by internal blog post titles like “Using GIS Technology to Map Shelter Allocation in Azraq Refugee Camp”), rather than communicating what innovation looks like and the benefits it would bring to UNHCR staff (for example, “How UNHCR Used Creativity to Improve Journalistic Accuracy and Collaboration, One Step at a Time”). So, we hit the reset button and asked ourselves these four questions before crafting our internal communications strategy:
What do we want to change? What do we want to be true that isn’t true right now?
Whose behavior change is necessary to making that happen? Who has to do something (or stop doing something) they’re not doing now for us to achieve that goal? (This is about targeting a narrowly defined audience whose action or behavioral change is fundamental to your goal.)
What would that individual or group believe if they took that action? In other words, what does that narrowly defined audience care about most, and how can we include that in our messages?
How will we get that message in front of them? Where are their eyes?
Released in March as part of FrameWorks Institute’s 20th anniversary, the Explanation Declaration asks communicators to help people understand the “how” behind issues and see that how as a critical part of engaging and empowering people to take action.
Together, Look Back on Progress to Date and Decide What Adjustments Are Needed (45 min.)
What is made possible? You can help groups reflect on a shared experience in a way that builds understanding and spurs coordinated action while avoiding unproductive conflict. It is possible for every voice to be heard while simultaneously sifting for insights and shaping new direction. Progressing in stages makes this practical—from collecting facts about What Happened to making sense of these facts with So What and finally to what actions logically follow with Now What. The shared progression eliminates most of the misunderstandings that otherwise fuel disagreements about what to do. Voila!
Context analysis helps you to understand the elements of an environment and
a group of potential users so that you can design a better technology project. It
should involve key stakeholders, including implementing partners, donors, local and
national authorities, and community members.
We suggest five key lines of inquiry that context analyses should consider:
People: Levels of education and literacy, information habits and needs, access to
disposable income for equipment, electrical power to charge devices, and airtime
and data to run them, and network access;
Community: How membership of specific groups may affect access to technology
and communications habits. For example, a nomadic clan may have attributable
characteristics shared by its members, and variations in levels of access and
freedom within the clan differentiated by gender and age.
Market environment: An understanding of the key players, legal and regulatory
issues, the mobile market, including both cost and distribution of agent networks,
and the infrastructure, including commercial mobile infrastructure such as the
availability of short-codes and APIs are all critical to making good design decisions.
Political environment: understanding governance and control of, and access to,
communications infrastructure by government and other actors
Implementing organization: Many interventions have failed because staff were not
able to maintain technology, because power or access to internet were not strong
enough, because staff capacity was low or went away, or because the intervention
was not supported by a broader culture of innovation and adaptive learning.
Life course changes disrupt old habits and may create a mood for more change.
An intervention to promote sustainable behaviours was tested among 800 households.
Behaviour change was more likely if participants recently had moved house.
The results were compared with non-movers and a no-intervention control group.
The ‘window of opportunity’ lasted up to three months after relocation.
Sunstein and Thaler used the example of a high school cafeteria layout to demonstrate how small changes in our environment can influence our behavior, and we’ve discussed how a well-laid out office space can improve program participation rates. The example and our observations inspired MDRC’s Center for Behavioral Science (CABS) to create an interactive training session on the power of physical space to provide nudges. We asked training participants — staff at workforce development programs that help people find and keep employment — to try organizing their space with different goals in mind by designing a hypothetical high school cafeteria. Workshop participants received paper cut-out icons for all the essential materials — salads, hot food, snacks, desserts, beverages, cash registers, tables — and were asked to organize a logical cafeteria environment.
But the directions had a catch. Each group received a unique goal: arrange the materials to maximize either:
News media often frame refugees as a burden or threat to a community, where humanitarian stories often frame refugees as helpless people in a far-off land in need of help. Both narratives — while sympathetic — consistently situate refugees as outsiders. Our job as communicators is to shift the narrative from “us” and “them” to “we.”
Government and environmentalists need to understand this. To achieve change, you needn’t legislate so everyone adopts new behaviours simultaneously: you simply need to ensure every desirable new behaviour (veganism, installing solar panels, not flying when you can travel by train) reaches that level where it no longer looks weird. If just 10 per cent of attendees refuse to fly to a meeting, it becomes essential to offer videoconferencing, at which point a further 10 per cent will opt to attend the meeting remotely. If 10 per cent start taking trains to Frankfurt, it will pay to launch a European sleeper train service, at which point another 10 per cent will take the train. Once someone on your street has solar panels, you’ll feel happier installing your own.
The biggest single influence on whether people drink Guinness in a pub is whether there is already someone in the pub drinking Guinness. A lot of socially beneficial behaviours work the same way. It’s not that we don’t want to do them — we do. We just don’t want to be the weirdo who does it first.
A Field Guide to “Fake News” and Other Information Disorders explores the use of digital methods to study false viral news, political memes, trolling practices and their social life online.
It responds to an increasing demand for understanding the interplay between digital platforms, misleading information, propaganda and viral content practices, and their influence on politics and public life in democratic societies.