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Building capability in applying and testing behavioural insights

9 December 2019

Our goal is to see behavioural insights (BI) applied in everyday policy and service design across the NSW Government, leading to better outcomes for the people of NSW. We wanted to make it easy for busy public servants to test their BI ideas, so we created a short and practical guide on RCTs, A/B tests and before-and-after studies.

We are building capability in three ways: 

  1. 'Do it yourself’ guides covering our most frequently asked questions, from ‘How to increase service take-up’ to ‘How to encourage digital adoption’. This first guide on 'How to test whether your behaviour change intervention works' is designed to accompany each of these. 
  2. Monthly workshops for public servants covering a mix of BI 101 and masterclasses on our guide topics - these are promoted regularly through our newsletter.
  3. Weekly clinics for public servants to troubleshoot their BI project with a BIU staff member - these clinics can be booked online.

A new guide on testing for government 

Many evidence-based interventions don’t produce the same outcomes when applied to new contexts. Testing is essential to understand whether a policy, program or communication actually works. We wanted to make it easy for busy public servants to test their BI ideas, so we created a short and practical guide.

In three pages, our new guide covers three common testing methods: Randomised controlled trials, A/B testing and before-and-after studies, with a step-by-step overview of each and links to more detailed resources. The guide also helps you choose the testing method that best meets your needs. 

Choosing a testing method

In November 2019, we launched this guide with a workshop on 'How to test’. Fifty employees from across the NSW Government explored the challenges of randomisation, data collection, analysis and ethics, focusing on a real-world case study. 

Workshops and clinics 

Over the next 12 months, we will be running more workshops for government on applying behavioural insights to common policy challenges, such as tackling myths and misinformation and increasing regulatory compliance. Each workshop will come with a 'do it yourself' guide on BI strategies to apply to the challenge, and this guide on testing is designed to help evaluate whether these strategies work in your own context. 

We’re also running a weekly clinic to support government teams using these guides. Public servants can book a 30 min session with a BIU staff member online.

We’d love to hear the results of your own BI projects. Email us.

BIU helps NSW government agencies to achieve measurably better outcomes for the people of NSW by guiding them on how to develop and test behavioural science solutions to policy, program and service goals.

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