In this article, our Behaviour Change Expert, Dr Nicola Eccles, provides her insight into the intersection of behaviour change and digital technology.
Dr Nicola Eccles has been working in health-related behaviour for over 20 years and is a Director of Research at CP Active, as well as a Senior Lecturer at the University of Huddersfield.
Behaviour Change And Digital Technology
Wellbeing is a moving target. Our knowledge around what works, for whom, where and when, is continually shifting and advancing as our knowledge rapidly increases in the areas of physical and psychological health.
The role of digital technology in health has both added to the complexity of effective health behaviour change and increased possibility in this field.
Digital Behaviour Change Interventions (DBCIs)
Digital Behaviour Change Interventions (DBCIs) are at the forefront of the health industry.
At Wellspace we have developed an innovative, interactive and iterative application to enable employers and employees to place health and wellness at the centre of their organisation.
The recognition that, to feel truly cared for, as an employee, is critical in the success of any organisation.
Michie and West1 in their guide to developing a DBCI suggest we first consider what needs to change in order for the behaviour to change, to undertake a behavioural diagnosis.
We tend to make assumptions around why people behave in the way they do but these assumptions are often incorrect and lead to ineffective interventions.
At Wellspace our first step is to undertake an organisational appraisal, a behavioural diagnosis which unpacks culture, assumptions, and habits through a team of experienced researchers.
Behaviour Change Techniques are diverse and varied but can be roughly clustered into the following categories:
- Goals and Planning
- Feedback and Monitoring
- Social Support
- Shaping Knowledge
- Natural Consequences
- Comparison of Behaviour
- Repetition and substitution
- Comparison of outcomes
- Reward and threat
- Scheduled consequences
From West and Michie1
How many of these can a DBCI influence?
Potentially all of them. Over the next few weeks, we will consider how Wellspace engage with these different behaviour change techniques through the app and supporting face to face programmes.
Digital technology has the unique reciprocal benefit of both influencing behaviour and shaping knowledge, whilst also gathering data from end-users which further refines the DBCI. This is a truly iterative process.
For some individuals, recording and digitalising their actions is an antithesis and so we need to consider the role of DCBIs as, effective for many, but not all.
Get In Touch
At Wellspace we recognise the limitations of DCBIs placing a similar emphasis on our face to face behaviour change interactions and strategies. Our bespoke behaviour change programmes move individuals strategically and effectively through a range of lifestyle behaviours and choices.
We help employees to go from ‘thinking and understanding’, to ‘creating the right environment’ and finally into a ‘call to action’.
A free online training course in behaviour change techniques can be found here. If you would like more information about behaviour change and digital technology, or you’d like more information about our range of services, get in touch.
- West, R., Michie, S. (2016) A Guide to Development and Evaluation of Digital Behaviour Change Interventions in Healthcare. A UCL Centre for Behaviour Change Monograph