- The New York City Office of the Mayor has extended the city's behavioral design research initiative through the end of next year. The New York Behavioral Design Team (BDT) has worked with behavioral design lab ideas42 on multiple city projects since January 2016.
- The team has used behavioral science and evidence-based governance while working with more than a dozen city agencies to come up with solutions to city challenges. The methods have been used to prompt change in areas such as health and education.
- The BDT received an undisclosed amount of funding through the Laura and John Arnold Foundation.
The BDT received the funding when it was determined to have successfully caused positive changed in New York residents' behavior. The two year trial will further the team's data and research work.
"Our first two years proved the concept of an embedded City BDT with cost-effective solutions to difficult policy problems," Matthew Klein, executive director of the Mayor's Office for Economic Opportunity, said in a statement. "Our next phase, set to run through the end of 2019, will be focused on institutionalizing behavioral design, data usage, and rigorous evaluation across City agencies and scaling proven interventions from the first phase."
Behavioral science relies on small differences in the design of a process, service or program to influence how people decide to act or participate. Proponents say using behavioral science is a quick and inexpensive way to improve programs and policy effectiveness, thus making it a good way for governments to make a difference, even when they're under financial constraints.
New York's BDT has helped on projects including increasing the number of city employees who received flu shots, encouraging timely SNAP recertification and increasing the number of low-income students who took the gifted and talented admissions test. Earlier this year the city announced that it used behavioral science principles with its text message reminder program that helped to improve the incidence of people appearing for court dates.
Using data, research and design to positively influence people's decision-making processes holds promise for a wide array of city services, especially those that are often overlooked or underused. It could also lead to more equitable delivery and use of municipal programs and services.