Orange wall with orange megaphone

How to Communicate Effectively for Behavioural Change

Usually, when we create communications in Western societies, we’re used to telling a story. When you get an email, for example, it usually follows a narrative format. Evidence from behavioural insights actually shows us that this format, while highly familiar, very rarely shifts behaviour.

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People walking in Martin Place station underground. A large monitor shows an ad with stick figure people: one is green, seated, and listening and singing to their music; the other figures are black - one is pregnant, the other uses a walking stick, and the other stands

Using social norms on public transport

Below is an example of how social norms can encourage a change toward a desired behaviour. A sign at Martin Place station, in Sydney, reminds people: ‘Some reasons for needing a seat are harder to spot than others.’ This is known as behavioural insights – the use of behavioural and social sciences like psychology, economics, anthropology and sociology for social policy and services.

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People seen walking, from the back, in Sydney

How to improve justice programs

Reducing reoffending is a state priority in New South Wales. New sentencing reforms will increase referrals to behaviour change programs or other support services for people who are at high-risk of reoffending. Yet non-mandatory programs can often have low participation rates, particularly when programs are new.  

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A group of white peole stand and look at a poster they've made

Emergency decision-making

Flood-related fatalities have been an ongoing problem in Australia since the early 1900s. This post reflects how our team worked through this behavioural issue, and brainstormed problems, during a recent masterclass we ran with NSW State Emergency Service (NSW SES).

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Spillover Effect in the Real World

On this beautiful morning a few weeks back, I presented our team’s study on vocational training to the public sector. I used a fun example of Star Wars characters to illustrate our data on the importance of communicating learning objectives between teachers, employers and students.

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Chess board and timer on a table

Gaming the ice breaker

Our team went to an external event to socialise with colleagues from a company who are frequent collaborators. Most people had not yet met one another. We were put into groups with a mix of four people from the two organisations. This is the first time I’ve seen an ice breaker turned into a competition. It led to mixed results.

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A young man is using a saw while an older man works in the background

Education and training

Our new research shows apprentices who cancel their employment contracts do so because they often feel they are subjected to tough working conditions for little pay (undertaking menial, repetitive tasks and long hours), receiving little guidance about their progress on the job. How can behavioural science help?

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