Lessons for behaviour change communications in the age of austerity

'to the rescue' by fergaloid

Last week was One World Media Week, a week-long programme of events around the One World Media Awards.

I made it along to two of the fringe events organised by the Institute of Development Studies at the Royal Society, ‘Media as a Tool for Development’ and ‘White Man to the Rescue? International Development in the Media’. Discussions at both meetings ranged across international development issues, but it was behaviour change campaigns proved a consistent theme.

The delegates were mainly from academia, NGOs and broadcast and press media. Yet behaviour change communications is also a major theme for government. Having worked in both sectors, it struck me over the course that in this so-called age of austerity that there were many lessons government can learn from the way NGOs conduct their campaigns. That said, on reflection, there are lessons that civil society can learn from government.

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What might service transformation learn from the world’s most fearsome mammal and a wax-eating bird?

honey badger and honeyguide

My fiancée and I are hoping to go on an safari honeymoon in Africa later this year.

If we go, I would really like to see a honey badger and a honeyguide.

The honeyguide is a bird that likes beeswax but can’t break into bee hives. What it does is catches the attention of a honey badger, which loves honey but isn’t so good at finding the hives.

Off they go together, the badger following the bird till they reach the hive. The badger then rips open the hive and both get their reward.

Both these independent organisms can exist without beeswax and honey and without one another, but they combine their skills in a wonderful manner to achieve a shared goal.

These special symbiotic relationships happen throughout the natural world. I think that they ought to happen in the world of public services too, especially in the context of citizen engagement with public services online.

Continue reading “What might service transformation learn from the world’s most fearsome mammal and a wax-eating bird?”