Using Behavioral Science to Make Organizational Change Lasting and Effective

Using Behavioral Science to Make Organizational Change Lasting and Effective

Using Behavioral Science to Make Organizational Change Lasting and Effective

Asking people to interpret statistics and numbers is not the most efficient way to communicate information – after all, scientific studies show that humans are notoriously bad at interpreting them. Coupling behavioral science insights with strategic design is key to gaining and retaining heightened public attention to government-provided data.

Framing and priming are two effective techniques to present data to inspire action.

Framing involves analyzing how individuals make different decisions based on how an organization presents the information to them. This works largely because the brain creates mental shortcuts by using relative comparisons and not absolute judgments. Government agencies can use framing by:

  • Presenting information in a positive way – People are more likely to have a strong bias towards things they believe are more positive. Present data and statistics clearly and positively, using an optimistic, “glass half-full” approach

  • Tracking progress for a long-term goal – The closer people are to reaching a goal, the more motivated they become to complete it. Present a visual timeline with key steps taken and upcoming goals. In turn, the public feels they can hold the government more accountable, and that they are involved in daily decision-making. This increases their desire to consume data

  • Setting the context for the information – Context is an important element of framing. Individuals tend to anchor their thoughts and decisions to the first piece of information they receive, regardless of relevance. When releasing and presenting data, first identify the most important idea you want to relay. Make that idea the first statistic the customer sees

Priming is a technique where organizations unknowingly expose individuals to a stimulus that may subconsciously influence their behavior or understanding of a subsequent task or information.

To use priming to nudge customers or citizens:

  • Remove trigger points from information – This increases positive reception of data. For example, removing a currency symbol from a price can increase spending by twelve percent.1 When presenting data, remove all unnecessary and extraneous information. Make your numbers clear, your graphics easily understandable, remove signs, and create a key elsewhere on the document or website or presentation for reference

  • Appeal to sensory priming – This influences behavior. By appealing to sight, sound, smell, taste, and touch, the government can incorporate use a variety of channels to deliver a message. In presenting data, create a sensory appealing presentation. Think through your presenter, give your audience tangible ideas, and create a short and powerful demonstration

By using behavioral science to recognize what makes data easy to understand and why, government agencies and data analytics teams can test ways to present and visualize their data to better inform the public and facilitate decisions for the good of society.

About Arc Aspicio
Arc Aspicio enhances the future of our nation by creating bold ideas and bringing them to life. A consulting and solutions company, Arc Aspicio solves problems by applying our integrated capabilities in strategy, design, data, human capital, behavioral science, and technology. The company passionately pursues our vision to be the hub of creativity where people take action to change the world. To do this, employees collaborate with clients and partners to create solutions using a human-centered approach. Innovation is not possible without action. The company focuses on strategy first, then takes a hands-on approach implementing ideas to achieve results. Join Arc Aspicio and our Strategy Innovation Lab (SILab) by creating and sharing ideas to inspire people to change the world. Follow us on Twitter @ArcAspicio @SILabDC and learn more at www.arcaspicio.com.

Contributors

Sarah Graff |

Sarah Graff is a Junior Associate at Arc Aspicio. Sarah has experience in business development, strategy, stakeholder engagement, and policy analysis. Sarah holds a B.A. from The George Washington University in Global Security Policy.

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