Launching a Behavioral Science Unit Focused on Citizen Engagement.

Case Study

Context

For societies the world over, the pace of change is accelerating. This rapid evolution is straining legacy government institutions, which struggle to keep up in this agile, iterative landscape. These challenges have been compounded in recent years as governments are expected to do more with smaller and smaller pools of resources from which to draw. In response to these challenges, behavioral science has been proving itself a valuable tool in the public sector. With its experimental, data-first approach, it offers a model for new ways of working within government, ways that are well adapted to the rapid evolution of society. Furthermore, by focusing primarily on communication rather than program structure, behavioral science has offered tangible increases to government effectiveness without the heavy costs that are often associated with such improvements. Together, this new way of working and the momentum built up behind a string of early wins are helping to propel behavioral science as a tool for modernization for governments worldwide.

Approach

When the City of Rome decided to launch an internal behavioral science practice, it approached The Decision Lab as a premier partner to provide guidance in a variety of thematic contexts, including: environment, healthcare, political participation, energy and public services. In addition to helping with individual thematic projects, The Decision Lab has also contributed key inputs into the organization of the internal unit, helping it to establish itself as a light and effective unit that can deliver value to the citizens of Rome for years to come.