ThinkBehaviour: 8 practical tips

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There's lots of talk about behavioural economics. But how do you practically apply it to sustainability?

Many books and presentations focus on specific aspects and heuristics, such as social norms and reframing.

This deck doesn't attempt this. Instead it provides initial guidance and suggestions for CSR and Sustainability professionals who want to start applying behavioural economics within their organisations. What should they do differently? Which practical steps should they take?

We hope it gets you thinking.

For a copy of the deck, please get in touch via: http://prime-decision.com/contact/

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ThinkBehaviour: 8 practical tips

  1. 1. Think Behaviour Practical tips for CSR and Sustainability February 2012Copyright © 2012 PrimeDecision
  2. 2. You’re aware of behavioural economics It graces mainstream bookshelves, conferences and government initiatives social nudging norms framing biases heuristicsCopyright © 2012 PrimeDecision
  3. 3. So now what? You may have heard some fascinating anecdotes, but…  Where does it fit within your existing sustainability or CR strategy?  What practical steps can you take in order to start applying behavioural economics within your business?Copyright © 2012 PrimeDecision
  4. 4. This slide deck:  Provides 8 pieces of practical adviceCopyright © 2012 PrimeDecision
  5. 5. This slide deck:  Provides 8 pieces of practical advice  explains behavioural economics  goes into specific heuristics or behavioural biasesCopyright © 2012 PrimeDecision
  6. 6. Our advice: 1 Seek out shades of grey 5 Fight siloes 2 Re-categorise 6 Find the action 3 Observe 7 Post-rationalise 4 Create paths of [least] resistance 8 Keep it in context
  7. 7. #1Seek out shades of grey
  8. 8.  CSR folks tend to be highly committed and aware of the social and environmental consequences of their actions. They behave as they do because they genuinely care…
  9. 9.  CSR folks tend to be highly committed and aware of the social and environmental consequences of their actions. They behave as they do because they genuinely care… …and so believe caring is necessary for behaviour change to happen.
  10. 10. Spectrum of attitudes…I care deeply Um, sure I agree, I just F#%k theabout it. forget sometimes… OK planet! most times…
  11. 11. Spectrum of attitudes…I care deeply Um, sure I agree, I just F#%k theabout it. forget sometimes… OK planet! most times…  If people are in this grey area, then contextual factors are likely to hold more sway over their actions. So park ‘changing their attitudes’ and instead focus on facilitating their new behaviours.
  12. 12. #2Re-categorise
  13. 13. Your sustainability objectives areprobably sliced up by theme.  Energy conservation  Waste reduction  Recycling  Philanthropy  Transport  Responsible sourcing  Employee engagement  Etc.
  14. 14. Why not experiment withthose categories?
  15. 15. For example…What behaviourchanges can ourpeople make? Investments Behaviours What technologies and infrastructure changes do we Influence need to invest in? Which behaviours and choices should we encourage in others?
  16. 16. It may help you see opportunities differently. Try asking:  What are the most impactful Investments Behaviours behaviour changes that employees or customers could conceivably make overnight? Influence  Which behaviours occur within a context that I control?  What are the recurring actions that lead to excessive wastage or energy consumption?
  17. 17. #3Observe
  18. 18.  We know you’re busy. Deadlines, meetings, emails… SlideShares… But simple exercises can be surprisingly useful.
  19. 19.  Pick a nearby environment associated with one of your objectives – it could be the office canteen. Make time to sit there for 20 minutes. Watch at a distance. Observe what people do.
  20. 20. Just 20 minutes can changeyour perspective.
  21. 21. #4Create paths of [least] resistance
  22. 22. Don’t assume all change is hard.Deciding to eatcake is easy whenyour colleagues arescoffing some.
  23. 23. It’s often a question of ease… What are the What are the barriers to doing barriers to doing it the ‘new way’? it the ‘old way’?
  24. 24. It’s often a question of ease… What are the What are the barriers to doing barriers to doing it the ‘new way’? it the ‘old way’? Put energy into identifying and removing obstacles to the sustainable behaviours you want to promote. Even the smallest changes can be significant enablers.
  25. 25. It’s often a question of ease… What are the What are the barriers to doing barriers to doing it the ‘new way’? it the ‘old way’? Tread carefully when creating obstacles to existing habits. Although potentially disruptive, this approach should be used very sensitively.
  26. 26. #5Fight siloes
  27. 27. Do you have a gulf between insight and application?
  28. 28. Behavioural insights are generated through surveys and analysis.Market research
  29. 29. A totally separate team reads the research findings and comes up with strategies that communicate messages to the target audience, in order to change behaviour. Public A brief or engagementMarket research report and/or marketing
  30. 30. Insight islost intranslation + The campaigns add new variables into the mix (communication vehicles, messaging, design etc.) before the validity of the original insights has been tested.
  31. 31. A better approach? One unified processAnalyse behavioursDevelop hypothesesPilot strategiesMonitor the impact on behaviourContinue to refine…
  32. 32. #6Find the action
  33. 33. Business metrics with quantifiable impact
  34. 34.  Attitudes are notoriously hard to measure – and surveys can be subject to misuse and abuse. While action-based metrics don’t capture all the subtleties, they have some discernible advantages…
  35. 35.  Fewer variables The actions people take in any particular situation are finite – did they do X or not? Less complexity Knowing ‘why’ and ‘what’ people feel is incredibly complicated. Implications of actions can be More efficiency measured and so can their value to the business. Taken seriously ‘Resources’, ‘waste’ and ‘cost’ require no translation.
  36. 36. #7Post-rationalise
  37. 37. Think about a recent holiday booking. Yet after the trip you find yourself saying: You may have chosen the hotel because you were absolutely shattered after four “Ah yes, the hotel was hours of internet searching and ended up amazing. It was all about the going for the review you saw first on Trip food really – they have an Advisor which mentioned a nice balcony... absolutely incredible chef” The beauty of narratives
  38. 38. Behaviour is widely recognised as being shaped by attitudes.Yet behaviour also shapes and reinforces attitudes.
  39. 39. Your customers might not havechosen your product – or abehaviour – because of itssustainability credentials.But it can still become a part oftheir narrative and justification.
  40. 40. #8Keep it in context
  41. 41.  Neuropsychology teaches us that behaviours are fluid. People modify how they act according to their environment.
  42. 42. Be wary of relying on behavioural profileswhich treat people in a vacuum.Remember: people are always in a context.
  43. 43. To recap: 1 Seek out shades of grey 5 Fight siloes 2 Re-categorise 6 Find the action 3 Create paths of [least] resistance 7 Post-rationalise 4 Observe 8 Keep it in context
  44. 44. Thank you for your time. PrimeDecision specialises in helping organisations to create sustainable behaviour change. prime-decision.com twitter: @primedecisionCopyright © 2012 PrimeDecision

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