Our designing capability and ability to use behavioral sciences and Human-Centered Design (HCD) approaches help us transform bold ideas into actionable interventions to solve complex developmental challenges.
The development of social and behaviour change (SBC) activities at PCI begins with a thorough understanding of the communities who we work with and the social environments within which they operate. The project teams use a mix of formative research methods like ethnographic immersions, participatory learning techniques and rapid assessments combined with use of extant research and secondary data to uncover the informational, cultural, social-normative, economic, environmental, and other barriers that prevent the communities from reducing harmful practices and adopting healthier behaviours. This understanding helps the management teams to refine the context and develop a clear Theory of Change (ToC) for every project, often guided by theoretical models such as the Socio-Ecological model, Integrated Health Belief model, Theory of Planned Behaviour, Stages of Change model, Self-Determination theory or the more recent Cognitive-Behavioural theories. While on the one hand the ToC gives the project teams a clear understanding of the causal linkages between the proposed interventions and the resulting outcomes, on the other hand, it lays down the project’s overarching framework for monitoring its progress and performance and evaluating the impact in terms of achieving the behaviour change objectives.
Equipped with an understanding of the minds and hearts of our target segments, the project teams set out to work with the communities to co-design, test and refine creative solutions by actively involving them at every step in the process. Different stages of this human centred design approach borrow copiously from theoretical constructs like the nudge theory and behavioural economics to develop solutions that are feasible, effective, sustainable, and scalable. The solutions co-developed with the active participation of the communities not only ensure a high degree of ownership by them but also are found to be more effective because they embody the perspective of community members and the social environment within which they operate. The project managers thus become more of facilitators empowering the communities to initiate sustainable behaviour change with shared success. Successful projects tend to go on the autopilot mode of a cyclical and adaptive approach to program management, constantly learning and improving the performance from the implementation-feedback loop.
Even when they prove to be very successful, the SBC interventions seldom remain static – often, they evolve with time and contemporize for emerging segments. For example, many of PCI’s successful behaviour change interventions have evolved into newer digital avatars for the younger, social media savvy and networked segments. Using the advances in gaming, artificial intelligence, cloud networking and mobile telephony, the digital interventions go beyond raising the awareness of audience by engaging them at every step of the journey from awareness through liking, conviction, and adoption.