The importance of behavioural science
Why is this important?
Change only happens through people. Everyone plays a part in either enabling or constraining change. Time and time again, we see projects have an impact over the course of their funded period – and then often wane over time. Old patterns re-emerge. Conditions and contexts evolve. Further evolution is required.
To create the right impact and change at the right time we need to shift the focus from plans, milestones, and papers to people, their agency and their motivations.
Working with people requires attention to behaviour, group dynamics, power structures, biases, and finding ways of complementing these to incubate change. It is not a quick fix and one size does not fit all. The work of the EHC Think Tank dares to think, be, and envisage the long-term.
In the COM-B model for behaviour change, “to engage in a behaviour (B) at any given moment, a person must be physically and psychologically able (C) and have the opportunity (O) to exhibit the behaviour, as well as the want or need to demonstrate the behaviour at that moment (M)”. The EHC Think Tank strives to involve people and design processes that takes into account the following behavioural change components:
- Capability (skills, knowledge, physical strength, mental state)
- Opportunity (social, physical, environmental)
- Motivation (reflective and automatic)
The work of the EHC Think Tank is also designed based on the psychology of change, addressing:
- Intrinsic motivation: change is motivated by one’s inherent satisfaction instead of a reward, recognition or fear of punishment;
- People-driven change via co-design: all stakeholders, especially those most affected by change, are involved in determining meaningful, workable ways of change directly, starting with and focusing on the ‘who’ instead of ‘what’ or ‘how’;
- Co-production in authentic relationship: transformations happen in relationships with others, we must therefore build and maintain transformational (authentic), not transactional (inauthentic) interactions;
- Power distribution: by working together we distribute power and we aim to create safe spaces where everyone can express their needs and desires without fear of judgement;
- Adaptation in action: taking action is empowering, motivating – we are willing to ‘fail forward’, make mistakes, learn from them, adjust and adapt. We adopt a growth mindset and focus on learning and mastery as well as on shared ownership.