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Behavioural science tackling UK litter epidemic

Behavioural Science tackling energy consumption through WBS nudgeathon


Nudgeathons are two-stage crowdsourcing interactions in which decision groups draw on insights and methods from nudge theory, augmented by design thinking and drama theory to devise implementable solutions to major behavioural policy problems.

Our case study Nudgeathon here focused on how to reduce energy consumption on the University campus. The goal was to leverage the combined power of diversity, expert knowledge, “insider” knowledge, and open group interaction to create new ideas for reducing consumption, stress test them and implement them on the University campus.

How it works

The Nudgeathon process is as follows. Teams of stakeholders are formed. These differ from focus groups in that the teams are diverse and chosen carefully to reflect a wide range of perspectives on a problem. Ideally, a Nudgeathon team will include stakeholders (e.g. students living in halls of residence, professional services staff and managers who understand the organisational context), and experts in behavioural science. In the structured stakeholder group interactions within the Nudgeathon meetings, participants have an opportunity to explore perceived barriers to change and “surface” them, while subjecting them to the critical analysis of others.

We established six diverse teams of students, designers, University staff and behavioural scientists who came together to address the challenge which was to develop solutions for reducing energy consumption in the halls of residences on the University campus. The primary outcome was 50+ ideas ranging from dynamic feedback reports, smart reminders and thermal imaging of the halls.

A winner was selected with the goal being to implement the idea on campus. A summary report was also produced.

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