Human beings are natural storytellers. Add in the ubiquity and reach of today’s mass media and you have a combination that is almost unparalleled in its ability to affect the way people from all walks of life and all cultures think and behave.
But while we can all intuitively understand this notion of the power of stories and media, a search for rigorous evidence to support it and the real world impacts will turn up little and we feel that behavioural insights can help rectify this.
This year, BIT launched a series of innovative trials to design and test public health campaigns around the COVID-19 pandemic with over 100,000 people in the UK. Using behavioural insights we were able to quickly iterate and test the most effective campaigns that were then launched nationwide.
At the same time, we have been testing the impact of storytelling using TV and radio shows in driving attitudinal and behavioural change on peace-building in Myanmar and Nigeria. We first test and iterate multiple messages in an online environment. We then select the most effective message to be broadcast at scale, continuing to causally assess the real-word impact of these campaigns.
BIT’s innovative approach harnesses the creative ideas of the writers’ room and combines them with the scientific framework of experimental evaluation to allow the public sector to effectively design and disseminate campaigns across all policy areas.