The Campaign Company specialises in social research and behaviour change. This is your guide to what we’ve been reading. Here’s what’s coming up this week:
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Hello and welcome to the TCC Weekly – the Friday bulletin for people who know their gerrymander from their filibuster.
This week we’ve got a Behaviour Change section speculating on young people and voting, and an Engagement Hub looking at the curious case of Glasgow’s heroin addiction clinic. Plus, our Values Lab looks at revenge and retaliation through the prism of core motivations.
And of course, there’s Charlie’s Attic, the internet’s most roomy miscellaneous category.
David Evans
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‘Why youngsters voting spreads like wildfire’

In an election where the UK’s super-stark age divide has come out (as noted by Matthew Goodwin), a piece this week discusses why millennials lie to each other. The article reports that “Most millennials say they feel pressure to keep up with their friend’s spending – and of those, nearly half say that social media posts of friend’s vacations and lifestyles contribute to that pressure.”
Perhaps this isn’t totally unrelated to UK politics’ growing age divide, and the shock Corbyn surge. Young people are particularly reliant on social networks and particularly aspirational and concerned by the views of others. Maybe once the Corbyn surge began it effectively reached critical mass and took on a life of its own… There are countless other reasons too, of course, but the rapid spread nature of young people’s interactions and ideas is surely a particularly important factor.
On the topic of young people, meanwhile,
this story from Exeter reiterated that young people are anything but herd animals. Boys at a school in the area were so frustrated by having to wear trousers that they ran a coordinated campaign where everyone came in in skirts. It’s the sort of thing where all the expertise about social norms tells us teenage boys would run a mile – so it represents a good example of young people acting as leaders rather than followers of change.
Image taken from original source
Also this week:
  • The difference between terrorists and control groups – the former see accidental harm as worse than deliberate harm
  • NHS procurement and the nudge effect
  • Mind-changing makes people think you’re hypocritical and ineffective, new research finds – begging the question of what might have been if May had been ‘not for turning’ on the “dementia tax”
‘Engaging around drug clinics’
Image taken from original source
A story from Glasgow caught our attention this week. It concerns complaints about the lack of consultation around a new area for heroin users to inject. While the policy itself is interesting – and potentially progressive – from a public health point-of-view, there’s been criticism from residents for a reported lack of dialogue.
Issues like this can become controversial, especially if decision-makers frightened of NIMBYism avoid from engaging. But danger is this allows misinformation to spread. In Glasgow, for instance, the fact that the heroin use area was strictly for over-18s, referred by doctors and supervised by medics, was key. As one councillor pointed out “clarity” over the age restriction and target client base was essential.
Foundation V in the
New Conversations guide (p.61-65) is useful here in helping think about laying the groundwork for engagement.
The Values Lab is based on the Values Modes segmentation tool – created by Cultural Dynamics and used by TCC – which divides the population into ethics-driven Pioneers, aspirational Prospectors, and threat-wary Settlers. Take the test here to see which you are.
‘Payback in the Petri dish’
A Reddit thread this week went viral after a man in California claimed online to have planted a set of giant redwood trees throughout his neighbourhood. The plantings were said to be an act of incredibly drawn-out revenge on the local mayor for ordering a tree in his garden to be chopped down. The story turned out to be a hoax, but the fact it went viral suggests there’s a big appetite for revenge in online communities.
We thought we’d put payback under a turned off Bunsen burner in our Values Lab (revenge being a dish best served cold), to see what the three tribes felt about reprisal.
“If somebody does me a bad turn I don’t get mad, I get even. I believe that everybody has their weak points – you just have to find them.” Pioneers Prospectors Settlers
% who say this statement is ‘like me’ or ‘very like me’ 10% 17% 16%
The findings are interesting, showing that Pioneers are significantly less vengeful than the other two groups. Pioneers perhaps pride themselves on their lack of individualism – which is the area Prospectors major in – so perhaps the respective figures for these groups is unsurprising. Settlers, with their sense of communitarian solidarity, are somewhat more surprising for their lack of magnanimity. However, perhaps Settlers’ fear and suspicion of outsiders leads them to be more willing to exact revenge.
Overall, the statement is fairly chilling – so it’s a relief that under a fifth identify with it across each of the three groups!
Elsewhere this week, Mark Jackson writes
an interesting piece on values and Labour, following the election. The final paragraph contains some especially interesting nuggets: “To build on this result, Labour needs to discover a new vision that can appeal across income, class and educational lines and speak to the whole of the country.”
And finally this week, Charlie’s Attic, where revenge is served at a temperature somewhere between tepid and luke warm: 
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