Youtube Facebook Twitter RSS Email Back to top
Youtube Facebook Twitter RSS Email Back to top

login  sign up
search the site
Home Team News
January 22, 2018 Monday | Last updated on 19/01/2018 1:23PM (Singapore)
 
Latest :
previous next
Home Team News
Features
Home Team News
Home Team News Home / Features / Say Hi to BI (Part 1)  
Published: 05 Jan 2018 11:32AM (Singapore)
Share this Share via FaceBook Share via Twitter Share via Email Print Friendly Page
Home Team News
 
Say Hi to BI (Part 1)
Home Team News
The nudge comes to the Home Team – unlocking the potential of Behavioural Insights (BI), a powerful strategy for achieving win-win outcomes.
 
By Mike Tan
Home Team News
Home Team News
Home Team News

Home Team News
GRAPHIC: Home Team News

When it comes to enhancing policies and services in the Public Service, one of the strategies being employed by public agencies is Behavioural Insights (BI), more commonly known as “the nudge.” Simply put, BI harnesses evidence-based insights to come up with interventions that help us make better choices for ourselves.

Recognising the potential of BI to score both small wins and transformational change, agencies such as the Land Transport Authority, the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, the Ministry of Manpower and the Public Service Division have established their own BI teams in recent years.


The “Aha” Moment

According to Dr Lal Nelson, Director of the Research & Statistics Division at the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), his own introduction to BI was an “aha” moment. “I learnt about BI at a sharing session at the Civil Service College in 2013,” he recalled. “I immediately saw that BI could be applied to almost any part of the work that we do at MHA, and help to make our safety and security policies more citizen-centric.”

Formed in Jul 2015, MHA’s BI Unit first worked with the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) on how to encourage members of the public to take part in the Community Emergency Preparedness Programme (CEPP). Other projects soon followed, and the team has since supported over 20 projects and trials, sparking even more “aha” moments.

Here are three things you should know about BI and how it’s being applied by the growing cohort of BI practitioners in the Home Team.

1. BI is About Understanding How People Really Behave

One challenge of designing and implementing policies is to encourage users to make better choices for themselves (which, incidentally, often also serve a greater good). The solution has traditionally been to offer users more information, in the assumption that doing so will induce them to make the rational choice.

Clearing our own trash, paying a fine, queuing up, not smoking in public – these are behaviours that we know are desirable and good, but which we may not necessarily do. Indeed, BI research has shown that most of the time, if we’re uncertain about an issue, we make impulsive, instinctive choices. This results in a lose-lose situation, one that benefits neither users nor the greater good.

BI offers a better alternative that’s based on how users actually make decisions. For example, in 2014, MHA’s BI Unit worked with the SCDF to encourage members of the public to sign up for the CEPP (while the programme is popular with schools and companies, few members of the public sign up for it on their own). Through a randomised controlled trial, the team found that they not only had to appeal to people to sign up, they also had to make it easier for them to do so.

Home Team News
To study how BI could encourage more people to sign up for the CEPP, the team tested different BI interventions, including sign-up forms and reminder cards. PHOTOS: MHA

2. BI is Evidence-based

Central to the BI methodology is its focus on testing different approaches (through randomised control trials, for example), collecting data on them and assessing their impact. According to Dr Lal, this emphasis on tests, trials and measures gives BI an edge in coming up with strategies that really work.

“The BI methodology allows us to test different interventions over time, and then collect evidence about which is the best one,” he explained. “That makes it a very good tool for evidence-based policymaking.”


3. BI is Already Making a Difference

MHA’s BI Unit has supported over 20 projects. “We started with those that offered quick and easy wins,” explained Dr Lal. “For example, by making slight changes to how we framed certain compliance letters, we got a reasonable shift in behaviour. This reaffirmed our belief that BI can improve the ‘last mile’ delivery of our policies and programmes.”

Having completed projects and trials with the SCDF, the Singapore Police Force, the Singapore Corporation of Rehabilitative Enterprises and the Singapore Prison Service, Dr Lal is eager to apply BI to projects with a potentially larger impact. “Our early projects and trials yielded good lessons and helped us to build our BI capabilities,” he said. “Now, it’s about moving up one level and supporting projects where the outcome is a behavioural change that reduces harm to society, and saves lives.”

Here’s to more “aha” moments for MHA’s BI Unit!

Check out Part 2 of this article next week to learn how the Traffic Police used BI to improve its public correspondence, as well as BI’s application in other projects.

Share this Share via FaceBook Share via Twitter Share via Email Print Friendly Page
 
back to top back to top
   
Home Team News
 
More Features:
 
SGSecure: Faces of the Community
   
It Will Never Happen Here: Cyber-terrorism
   
Being Proactive: The Key to Protecting Ourselves
   
 
Home Team News
 
comment If you have a comment to share, please send it to us at [email protected]
 

 

Home Team News
Home Team News
Home Team News
Home Team News
Also On This Site
Home Team News  
SGSecure: Faces of the Community
Home Team News
One Emergency Preparedness (EP) Day; many heartwarming stories. Home...
Home Team News
Home Team News  
It Will Never Happen Here: Cyber-terrorism
Home Team News
Our reliance on technology in our daily lives not only makes us more...
Home Team News
Home Team News  
Being Proactive: The Key to Protecting Ourselves
Home Team News
It’s all about knowing how to apply the principles of Protective...
Home Team News
Home Team News  
Through the Eyes of a Cohesion Programme Specialist
Home Team News
It’s all about emphasising the “Team” in Home Team! Ever wondered...
Home Team News
Home Team News

Home Team News FaceBook Page
Home Team News
     
Terms and Conditions | Privacy Statement   Copyright © 2018 Ministry of Home Affairs. All Rights Reserved