This week we have two brilliant cohesion reports to pore over in the Behaviour Change section, plus a Values Lab looking in detail at hyper-materialism. Plus we explore the link between competence and motivation.
And of course, there’s Charlie’s Attic, where well-meaning buffoonery vies with evil genius for your attention.
Also, we’re currently in the process of writing a refresh of our LGA community engagement guide, New Conversations. If you’ve used the guide – or even if you haven’t but are aware of it – it would be great if you could complete this short survey to help us make the next version as comprehensive and user-friendly as possible.
Behaviour change and cohesion
Last Friday was our ‘Original Thinking’ event, hosted by the LGA. You can see all the slides from the day – and notes from the workshop – here.
Cohesion is one of the most important but complex areas when it comes to behaviour change and public policy. So, we were interested in two recent reports on the issue.
The first, by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI), looks at behavioural insights and cohesion. One of its conclusions is that there is no ‘typical user’ when it comes to services, and that decision-makers need to provide for “users with a variety of linguistic and cultural backgrounds and service needs.”
The second is this Hope Not Hate report, which attempts – in partnership with Centre for Towns – to make the link between geographical and attitudinal factors. It’s a document packed with fascinating charts and maps (such as the one below, which shows the distribution, across the London area, of signatures for the #FreeTommy [Robinson] petition).
Like the MPI report, this shows the importance – when it comes to behaviour change and cohesion – of really understanding the diversity of opinion and of behaviours and practices among different populations.
Motivation and competence
A recent Britain Thinks briefing looked at trust in institutions, mapping it on two axes – competence and motivation. The resulting chart – pictured below – is fascinating, demonstrating the link between the two.
In New Conversations (p.154) we developed a similar axis for local authorities (see immediately below the Britain Thinks axis). We also found a link between being seen as ‘useless’ and being seen as ‘ruthless’.
The correlation perhaps explains why – on the Britain Thinks axis – there is no ‘negative competence, positive motivation’ category. The way humans work is that, if an organisation is perceived as incompetent, the hostile attribution bias means that the narrative increasingly becomes one of mal-intent.
The trend represents the ultimate ostentatious humble-brag, and made us want to take off our diamanté cufflinks, roll up our sleeves, and head down the Values Lab.
The statement we’ve tested is potentially the most overtly materialistic you could find. The results show that those who agree or strongly agree are specifically Golden Dreamer Prospectors. Unlike more socially liberal Prospectors – who value looser notions of ‘achievement’ and self-determination – Golden Dreamers will talk more openly about ‘status’.
This explains trends in countries like China, where the values base is usually more socially conservative, but where economic growth has led to more recent rises in disposable income (and potentially increased the number of Prospectors, as a result). Our edition of the Weekly a few months ago, which looked at values in Russia (where the trend described above is said to have begun), may be interesting from this perspective.
And finally this week, Charlie’s Attic, the TCC equivalent of a Rolex-draped wrist clasping a Nokia 3210: