The Behavioural Insights Team
The Behavioural Insights Team are behind many of the changes that have been made to address social issues within the UK in the last ten years. As a business, they are designed to affect social change and bring together solutions that make sense for the public. Here’s where they came from, and how they do it.
The Beginnings Of The Behavioural Insights Team
The team began within 10 Downing Street in 2010, as a seven person unit within the government. As a team, they were tasked with using behavioural sciences to maker public services better and easier to use for everyone within the UK. They also aimed to use human behaviour modelling to improve outcomes, and by doing this, allow people to make better choices for themselves.
While they started out as a small team within the UK government, they soon expanded to be a company that’s owned by the UK Government, Nesta, the innovation charity, and the employees themselves. In December 2021, the team became wholly owned by Nesta themselves, making them independent from the government as a whole. The Behavioral Insights Team's evolution and methodologies provide a rich topic for writing essays, especially in fields like psychology, public policy, and behavioral economics. Students and researchers can explore how the team's approach to behavioral science has influenced public policy and decision-making, offering a unique case study in the application of psychological principles in governance.
As such, now there are over 200 people employed by the team, who are located around the world. With more team members comes more insight and expertise, which in turn improves the work done here.
What The Behavioural Insights Team Does
Just like in the beginning in the UK Government, the team have always been looking to improve public services using behavioural sciences.
Right now, the team offers five different services that can help their clients get more out of the services they provide. These are:
Understanding behaviour: This is the bedrock of what the Behavioural Insights Team does. Using behavioural science, the team aims to understand why humans act and think in certain ways. When you understand why people take certain actions, then you can use that knowledge to improve the world around them. That includes improving services, so they can get the very most out of them.
Advising on behavioural strategies: As a client, you want to know not only why people do certain things, but what you can do to change or improve that behaviour. As the team here are experts in behavioural sciences, you can get expert advice on the best steps to take within your business.
Create realistic solutions: With all that theory behind them, the Behavioural Insights Team can them create strategies that are actually realistic. As the team have a good understanding of human behaviour, their strategies will be made with real people in mind, and offer the solutions that you’re looking for.
Teaching clients about behavioural science: The more you know about behavioural science, then the better equipped you are to come up with solutions that work for you and your users. That’s why the team here aim to educate their clients on the behavioural sciences, so you’re more prepared to create your own solutions too.
Test changes made and adapt: The Behavioural Insights Team’s work isn’t done once they have developed solutions for you. Once those solutions are in place, they will then monitor them, and evaluate them to see how well they are working. With those results, they can then make more changes to really fine tune them and give their clients what they need.
Who Are The Behavioural Insights Team?
With over 200 employees now spread out across the world, there’s a plethora of experts that are able to meet the needs of the team’s clients.
For example, on the team’s board of academic experts is people like Richard Thaler, Nobel Prize winner and author of several behavioural science books, including Nudge. There’s also Lord Gus O’Donnell, a former Cabinet Secretary, as well as major academics from several of the most respected universities in the UK.
The executive team right now includes CE Professor David Halpern CBE, as well as Rachel Coyle MBE, who is their global managing director.
As there’s so much expertise on the board, you know that clients can find just what they need, when they come to the Behavioural Insights Team.
The Expertise Of The Behavioural Insights Team
So, what is the expertise that the team brings to their clients here? As they have grown so much from that initial seven person team, you know that there’s a lot of experience and knowledge here to be drawn from.
Their sites lists the areas that the team are knowledgeable and qualified in. You’ll see there are several areas where clients could benefit from their advice in, including the following:
Economy: The team work with governments and regulators to handle issues such as gambling, equality, tax and social security, and more. This is all with the intent of helping people make the right choices for them, and help businesses make better choices for their consumers.
Health and wellbeing: This is another area where the Behavioural Insights Team can help governments, as well as health care workers all over the world. With the expertise here, the team can advise on helping people make healthy choices, improving health policy, and making healthcare more accessible to all.
Government and society: There are many ways in which the Behavioural Insights Team can help in this area. For example, they’re able to advise on local government services, ending youth violence, social capital, and more. It makes sense as they started out as a government agency.
Sustainability: Many businesses are aiming to become more sustainable, and that’s something that this team can help with. They have expertise in conservation, biodiversity, sustainable lifestyle choices, and much more.
Education: Again, this is an area where the team can help thanks to their government background. They offer advice on teaching life skills, and helping people reach their full potential.
As you can see, there are lots of ways that the Behavioural Insights Team are able to help people all over the world, whether they’re governments, businesses or individuals. With a background in public services, their expertise lies in helping people achieve the best in their lives, and get what they need.