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© 2021 ideas42 1
© 2021 ideas42 1
BEHAVIORAL DESIGN FOR
COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Abigail Sellman, ideas42 & Adrian Kearns, Ope...
© 2021 ideas42 2
BACKGROUND
• In South Africa, community
engagement in local policy-making is
crucial for effective govern...
© 2021 ideas42 3
BACKGROUND, CONTD
• OpenUp developed a digital tool for community members with
information on how to enga...
© 2021 ideas42 4
BACKGROUND, CONTD
• We needed to take the tool from informing to empowering and
allowing for a citizen to...
© 2021 ideas42 5
ECONOMICS
PSYCHOLOGY
DESIGN
ideas42 used insights from
behavioral science – research
explaining why peopl...
© 2021 ideas42 6
Community members do not consider
themselves as the type of person
who formally participates in local-
po...
© 2021 ideas42 7
Why does this barrier exist?
Participation channels are predominantly
in English, providing an implicit s...
© 2021 ideas42 8
Community members face
hassles to participation.
HASSLES
BEHAVIORAL BARRIER #2
HASSLES
© 2021 ideas42 9
Why does this barrier exist?
Hassle factors like navigating multiple
platforms, finding directions to the...
© 2021 ideas42 10
FROM BEHAVIORAL DIAGNOSIS TO DESIGN
IDENTITY HASSLES
© 2021 ideas42 11
LESSONS FROM EMPLOYING BEHAVIORAL DESIGN
Municipalities appreciated the
behaviorally-designed features
B...
© 2021 ideas42 12
KEY TAKEAWAYS
Drawing on a deep
understanding of human
behavior can make tech
more impactful.
Informatio...
© 2021 ideas42 13
THANK YOU! Abigail Sellman asellman@ideas42.org
Adrian Kearns adrian@openup.co.za
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Understanding the small hurdles that block community engagement, with behavioural design - Abigail Sellman (ideas42) & Adrian Kearns (OpenUp)

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This was presented at mySociety's TICTeC Show & Tell event, which was held virtually on 20th April 2021. More details on the event can be found here: https://tictec.mysociety.org/showandtells/2021

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Understanding the small hurdles that block community engagement, with behavioural design - Abigail Sellman (ideas42) & Adrian Kearns (OpenUp)

  1. 1. © 2021 ideas42 1 © 2021 ideas42 1 BEHAVIORAL DESIGN FOR COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT Abigail Sellman, ideas42 & Adrian Kearns, OpenUp April 20, 2021
  2. 2. © 2021 ideas42 2 BACKGROUND • In South Africa, community engagement in local policy-making is crucial for effective governance • Legislation requires that municipalities ensure community participation • 65.5% of individuals had never spoken to a local councilor • 21.5% of individuals never went to a community meeting but “would if they had the chance” Source: Afrobarometer Round 7 2016/18 , but…
  3. 3. © 2021 ideas42 3 BACKGROUND, CONTD • OpenUp developed a digital tool for community members with information on how to engage in local policy-making. • COVID 19 – its impact reinforced the need for civic tech to ensure public participation. • We needed to establish buy-in from the local municipality. • We anticipated resistance, it has always been a challenge • The municipality has to be “comfortable”
  4. 4. © 2021 ideas42 4 BACKGROUND, CONTD • We needed to take the tool from informing to empowering and allowing for a citizen to actively engage in local government. • We needed to know more about the environment • We needed to know why citizens were not participating
  5. 5. © 2021 ideas42 5 ECONOMICS PSYCHOLOGY DESIGN ideas42 used insights from behavioral science – research explaining why people do what they do – to diagnose barriers and design solutions to improve the digital participation tool. APPLYING A BEHAVIORAL DESIGN METHODOLOGY
  6. 6. © 2021 ideas42 6 Community members do not consider themselves as the type of person who formally participates in local- policymaking. IDENTITY BEHAVIORAL BARRIER #1 IDENTITY
  7. 7. © 2021 ideas42 7 Why does this barrier exist? Participation channels are predominantly in English, providing an implicit social signal of who can/should participate. BEHAVIORAL BARRIER #1 IDENTITY
  8. 8. © 2021 ideas42 8 Community members face hassles to participation. HASSLES BEHAVIORAL BARRIER #2 HASSLES
  9. 9. © 2021 ideas42 9 Why does this barrier exist? Hassle factors like navigating multiple platforms, finding directions to the municipal office, and taking many other small actions can have a disproportionate affect on outcomes. BEHAVIORAL BARRIER #2 HASSLES
  10. 10. © 2021 ideas42 10 FROM BEHAVIORAL DIAGNOSIS TO DESIGN IDENTITY HASSLES
  11. 11. © 2021 ideas42 11 LESSONS FROM EMPLOYING BEHAVIORAL DESIGN Municipalities appreciated the behaviorally-designed features Behavioral design principles can be applied more generally • Local officials were highly engaged when learning about the new features and are eager to see how impacts. • OpenUp plans to measure the tool’s usage and impacts on participation. • The insight to remove hassles can be applied widely to improve the development of civic-technology. • Behavioral insights can help us understand the interrelationship between citizen and officials’ behavior.
  12. 12. © 2021 ideas42 12 KEY TAKEAWAYS Drawing on a deep understanding of human behavior can make tech more impactful. Information alone is often not sufficient for civic-technology to inspire action. Behavioral design principles can be applied widely and help build stakeholder buy-in.
  13. 13. © 2021 ideas42 13 THANK YOU! Abigail Sellman asellman@ideas42.org Adrian Kearns adrian@openup.co.za

This was presented at mySociety's TICTeC Show & Tell event, which was held virtually on 20th April 2021. More details on the event can be found here: https://tictec.mysociety.org/showandtells/2021

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