Would you do something if it was easy, attractive, social and timely?
I think most of us would answer yes.
That’s what got me thinking about how to apply the EAST Framework – the four simple principles for applying behavioural insights to policymaking – to our housing challenge.
The UK Behavioural Insights team, also unofficially known as the Nudge Unit, now operates internationally after being established by the UK Cabinet Office to improve public policy interventions there.
The team developed a framework setting out its approach and insights. It simply says that if you want to encourage a behaviour, you need to make it EAST - Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely.
So I am challenging myself now to think about housing using the following questions.
How do we make delivering and building new types of affordable housing easy and reduce the hassle factor?
How do we make it attractive to build and deliver more choice of housing types at different price points? How do we design rewards and sanctions for maximum effect to achieve that outcome?
How do we make it social to live differently in denser communities and use the power of our community and business networks to make that a reality?
And how do we implement any policies in a timely manner, picking the right time to prompt people to make changes? How do we effectively identify the barriers to speeding up actions?
That is quite a list. However, the thinking approach has helped me visualise the way forward. Hopefully, it will inspire all our partners too. We have a lot of momentum across the SmartGrowth Partnership following the release of our latest research on housing demand and need looking ahead 30 years. Now, the task turns to a Housing Action Framework that will make a difference.