Max Bazerman, co-director of the Center for Public Leadership; Odette van de Riet, Leader of BIT IenM, the Behavioral Insight Team of the Netherlands Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment; and David Halpern, Chief Executive of the Behavioural Insights Team and Board Director of the Office of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, joined moderator Iris Bohnet, Professor of Public Policy at HKS and Director of the Women and Public Policy Program, and co-Director of the Behavioral Insights Group, in a conversation on behavioral insights. The panel discussed its experiences applying behavioral economics findings, such as "nudge" techniques, to issues of public interest.
BIT uses a simple framework to apply behavioral science to policy: in order to encourage a behavior, make it Easy, Attractive, Social, and Timely (EAST). The sections below give some examples of how this framework can be applied to improve health and health care. Many of these initiatives were tested through low-cost randomized controlled trials; we believe that such trials could be used much more by health care providers and policymakers to improve their everyday activities.
Diagram of cognitive biases clustered by meaning and application
VanMoof bikes were tired of their bikes getting damaged during shipping. "Our co-founder Ties had a flash of genius. Our boxes are about the same size as a (really really reaaaally massive) flatscreen television. Flatscreen televisions always arrive in perfect condition. What if we just printed a flatscreen television on the side of our boxes?" And just like that, shipping damage to our bikes dropped by 70–80%.
Rather than pulling behavioural insights together into a tasty, cohesive recipe, behavioural economics has offered myriad tasty morsels and left it up to the audience to reconcile them. People want choice. People get overwhelmed by choice. People follow what others do. People don’t like to be seen to follow others. People act impulsively. People stick with the status quo. People are lazy. People like challenge. Agghhhh! To be useful behavioural economics needs to evolve from a series of interesting anecdotes to a framework that can help analyse and resolve behavioural challenges. The Williams Behaviour Change Model So that’s what I’ve cooked up. I’ve created your very own behavioural framework that is as tasty as a non-deconstructed sticky date pudding. This model gets beyond behavioural economics for its own sake and provides a structured way for you to interrogate your behavioural challenge and design how to get people to take the action you want.
A key finding of this study was that the young women used a series of visual cues to self-identify if they had drunk too much. “You start losing, like, your eyesight and stuff. Stuff goes blurry.” ICE has designed a series of behavioural nudges (e.g. blurred images in toilet mirrors) that will be employed in situ at pubs and clubs to use young women’s unconscious thoughts and nudge them to self-identify that they may be approaching their limit, thus enabling them to apply drink protective behavioural strategies more proactively.