Behaviour Change for Sustainability Congress Event Report


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Behaviour Change for Sustainability Congress Event Report

  1. 1. Behaviour Change for Sustainability National Congress Event Report 11-12 October 2010, Doltone House, Sydney Background The inaugural Behaviour Change for Sustainability National Congress was a groundbreaking initiative that brought together global thought leaders, leading sustainability professionals, academics, government and NGOs to share and develop their expertise and understanding around the complexity of change. Over two hundred and fifty delegates and speakers spent two days on a journey designed not only to define the field and test practical applications of behaviour change but also to inspire and challenge their own behaviours and build a strategic knowledge sharing community. Key Event Statistics • 256 attendees
  2. 2. Tools used for evaluation • Online Survey (over 1/4 of participants responded) • Video testimonials (taken on the day) • Social Media activity post-event Nature and extent of learning undertaken at the Congress In designing the Congress program, we decided to focus on experiential learning as this is appropriate to the topic of behaviour change. Participants were asked to ‘step out of their comfort zone’ and be prepared to experiment with a new conference format. We opted for highly facilitated interactive sessions, instead of allocated presentations. The objective was to engage and empower participants through direct dialogue with expert speakers and their peers, encouraging them to share their own experiences and stories rather than looking immediately for answers in theories and models. Through a collaborative effort we aimed to foster a sense of community and on-going support for change. Did we achieve what we set out to do? The format was a new experiment for us too. Feedback has been extremely constructive and encouraging, identifying that with some fine-tuning, the Congress could be exceptional. Only 3% of survey respondents indicated they would still prefer a traditional conference format. 74% indicated that the conference “matched or exceeded their expectations” with a further 23% indicating that although the conference was not as they had expected they still found it valuable.
  3. 3. Finding the right balance The biggest “criticism” of the Congress was around the execution of the fishbowl style discussions and working group sessions. We had anticipated this to some extent given the new format. One piece of constructive feedback we have noted is that there could have been more time allowed for theories and tools. In summary, delegates have suggested: • Adapt fishbowl style to better utilize the expertise of speakers • More focus on theories and models • Tighter facilitation • Hold working group sessions separate to the Congress • More inspirational and practical case studies like Jeremy Rifkin and Sam Graham Felsen A more detailed summary of participation satisfaction (by sessions/speakers) is enclosed. What value did the event add? Connecting people The Behaviour Change for Sustainability Congress was the largest and most diverse gathering of sustainability professionals on this topic to date. 60% of survey respondents have indicated that they will connect with Congress participants after the event. Since the Congress, 53 participants have joined our specific Behaviour Change LinkedIn Group with a further 77 connecting with us through our Behaviour Change Facebook group. Participants are starting to upload their own discussion points and content. We have also seen a 30% increase in followers on Twitter. 84% of survey respondents indicated they would definitely recommend the conference to others. “Good on you for risking it! I like the way it established difference straight away. Big fan of the facilitative approach” “Fishbowls - some worked well; others not so well. Was sometimes hard in time available to mesh the insights and experiences of the "experts" back into the overarching issue. However, the format did make a real attempt to engage - much more so than standard conferences” Anonymous "I hope that what you're doing there becomes a flagship for similar efforts all over the world... these two days that you have come together is critical" Jeremy Rifkin, President, Foundation on Economic Trends
  4. 4. Inspiring Change 57% of survey respondents indicate that the biggest takeaway for them was “inspiration to continue my work and inspire others to change.” Individual testimonials: “It was very uplifting and inspiring by the end of day 2 having established a good feeling that everyone at the conference shared a common desire for real change and progress in supporting behaviour change in all parts of the community.” “The most inspiring and thought provoking conference I have attended in 10 yrs.” “Well done in inspiring people and creating a sense of community in just 2 days.” “It was interesting to see delegates experience the challenge of altering their own behaviours and strategies.” Approaches taken to ensure the Congress was a sustainable event •••• Conference hosted at Doltone House – the first 6 star green star venue in NSW •••• Offsetting remaining emissions from the event through Climate Friendly •••• Event Brochure printed on 80% recycled vegetable based inks, FSC Certified paper •••• Video conferencing used for two international keynote presentations •••• All event resources and materials hosted online only •••• Sustainable restaurant (Danks Street Depot) chosen to host the conference dinner “Thank you so much – the congress was the best thing I have attended or spoken at in a long long time. It has given me renewed passion.” Emma Synnott, Associate Sustainability, ARUP