Working for better behaviours in 2023
With the end of 2023 fast approaching, we wanted to share a quick highlights package of the work we’ve been doing this year, so here are a few headline projects from our key portfolios;
Our evidence review service has been operating at full speed all year, and not slowing down, with much of their work highlighting the critical issues facing us right now in Australia. Issues like the wicked problem of disadvantage in Australia and how it impacts society, and cyber security; how do we get people to protect their digital identity? Trust is both a driver and a barrier to behaviour change here key – not only mistrust of online systems, but mistrust of the government also trying to fix the problem.
In the world of healthcare, we looked for ways to promote healthy communities in general and to increase male participation in the care and support sector in particular. How do we get more male childcare workers and nurses?
With the government spending millions on diabetes and cardio vascular disease, we’ve helped prioritise how those millions should be spent.
One of the biggest projects we’ve been working on (and it’s ongoing), is gender equality in mining industry. It’s a major concern for a large workforce undergoing rapid changes and bringing that workforce up to speed with modern workplace practices.
We’ve created a scaling up toolkit for program managers, so that they can take a small program and make it go big. This works for most enterprises, so that programs can reach a wider audience, a bigger pool of participants or be transferred to another area.
We’ve been applying behavioural science insights to improve hospital processes. Hospitals and health systems are, as we know, at capacity (sometimes over) and struggling with multiple challenges. Any improvements to patient flow or implementation of reforms is a bonus, especially in a sector held together (in the words of a clinician) by good intentions.
The future of healthcare and hospitals is another area of research keeping us busy. Redesigning healthcare to meet the challenges of climate change and sustainability is not going to be easy, but it’s something we can’t avoid.
And speaking of health care, we’re trying to understand how we can increase the number of fosters carers in Victoria. With the need for foster carers greater than ever, how can we reverse the decline in numbers?
Humanitarian issues are more important than ever, and our work with the Humanitarian Advisory Group is bringing insights from the world of behaviour change to humanitarian missions around the world. Let’s hope 2024 brings fewer humanitarian crises into so many lives.
The big news for our Education team in 2023 was winning the Monash Vice Chancellor award for excellence for the Applying Behavioural Science to Create Change microcredential. Over 600 people have been through this course which continues to kick goals.
Our bespoke programs have taken the team interstate to the Gold Coast and Adelaide, delivering the INSPIRE course as face to face workshops to experts in dementia support, as well as tenstate government teams in NSW learning how to apply behavioural approaches to their challenges.
Closer to home we’ve delivered our toolbox series multiple times, earning a ‘Purple Letter’ (the highest accolade you can get) for our postgrad course ENS5520Understanding Human Behaviour to Influence Change again.
Our collaboration with MUARC (Monash’s Accident Research Centre), ‘Applied Behavioural Science for RoadSafety’ is in its 3rd year, attracting students from the police force, road safety and state government. We’re also collaborating with MSDI to deliver their Sustainable Healthcare in Practice course, already in its 2nd year.
And we’ve delivered simulation training as well, bringing the practical side of changing behaviour to a workshop setting.
In terms of new courses, this is the first year running of the SDG ‘MOOC’ – or Massive Open Online Course – with over 6000 people in year 1. It’s in the top 10 courses offered by the SDG Academy, and a great way to gain an initial understanding of the key principles of behavioural science. If you’re at the beginning of the learning journey, this is free, easy to understand and grounded with great case studies.
Looking ahead to 2024, keep your eyes out for another new course – ‘Designing Impactful Change Programs’. It will manifest both online and as an accredited program, counting towards a Monash University qualification. It’s another step on the behavioural science journey, so watch this space.
Many of the environment team were attending conferences in 2023 (such as the recent Australian Circular Economy and NetZero Week in Sydney) where we’re on panels or presenting our research. We’re not only leaders in the field, we have people like Jennifer Macklin recognised as such.
Our environment portfolio has been busy this year, with 45 projects started in 2023, and 21 of those ongoing. So what are some of the wicked problems they’ve been working on?
Unsurprisingly, the bulk of the work is in circular economy space, with biodiversity and disaster risk management also growing in importance. Responsible consumption, household waste disposal and effective container deposit schemes are some of the projects keeping the team busy.
We’re working to improve attitudes and behaviours around household energy efficiency, and generally getting people to care about the environment. Biodiversity is a hot topic at the moment, with policy makers and ministers seeking insights from our work in this area, such as measuring public sentiment towards invasive animal species.
And with so much of our critical infrastructure reliant on the internet, improving cyber security is another area our team is working on.
As we head into the bushfire season, we’re continuing to help authorities refine their communications so they get engagement (and most importantly, behaviour change). Our work with the New Zealand Ministry for the Environment has also got great feedback on both sides of the Tasman.
The challenges we all face won’t go away in 2024, and neither will we. For those of you who have joined us in 2023, welcome to our world, and for those who have been on the journey for the past few years, thanks for staying with us. We have more for you next year, and we look forward to sharing everything we can when we can.
See you soon.
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