Wellington Weighs Up Behaviour Change and Engagement

By Eleanor Howe


Twelve of the E2A Wellington collective met on Friday 20 July to discuss behaviour change – what is it exactly? Is it good? And how does it work with engagement?

Over the hour we discussed what we think the key elements are to successfully change behaviour and heard about some great examples. From our discussion we’ve summarised some things to consider when tackling behaviour change.

  • Enable people; help them to understand they ‘why’ and give them the tools they need to facilitate the change
  • Break down the barriers; take the time to do research and understand the community and what their barriers to change are
  • Don’t assume you know more than the community: just because we, as decision makers, think it’s important it mightn’t be to them
  • Keep people informed about the change, the why and the when: ensure there isn’t a disconnect between when people had their say and the changes they see “is that really what I agreed to four years ago?”
  • Don’t expect change to happen overnight: it can take some time to shift behaviours and it’s the long term process that will really stick
  • Recognise that people are motivated by different things and want to know what’s in it for them
  • Understand the process and know when the change to behaviour will have pushback
  • A construct change or a change in behaviour: acknowledge which lever you’re pulling
  • Don’t underestimate peer pressure: find some early adopters who can be advocates for the change
  • Be conscious of the ‘burning platform’ concept: don’t force change on people, guide them through a well-planned process