Gal Litvak

Hamadad Haleumi: using data to effect public behavior

A web based Covid-dashboard of a different breed - made to expose behavioral insights about the public’s reaction to the viral outbreak. This project was developed in partnership with the Israeli Health Ministry and the Center for Municipal Governance.

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The project went through a number of evolutionary stages in congruence to changes in Covid response policy. This latest version was made to support a comming out of the lockdown.

The challenge

We faced a two fold mission, on the one hand we were asked to find a way to incentivize and support municipal leaders around Israel in becoming more active and independent during whose first weeks of crisis. With no clear guide lines and no previous experience to rely on, many municipal leaders weren’t sure how to provide their constituents the support they needed. Municipalities were slow to act.

The second part of our mission was to do our best to encourage a behavioral change within the public. We wanted to encourage more people to comply with the health and safety guidelines drawn out by the health ministry.

Our solution

To incentivize municipal officials and support them in acting to support their constituents during those first weeks of the crisis we created a competitive scheme, making a public city ranking showing which cities were ahead in getting their citizens to comply to the safety guidelines. by doing so we wished to stimulate municipal officials’ competitive drive to make the ones on top strive to stay up there and to urge those who were ranked last to work hards to better their ranking. From a survey we conducted with 40 of the largest Israeli city’s officials, we also identified that many municipalities simply lacked the tools and the know how to make dealing with this novel situation possible. And so, based on success stories collected from these various cities we devised and shared a list of effective actions cities could take to keep their citizens safe. Kind of a dynamic, experience based guide to municipal Covid-response.

We wanted to encourage more people to comply with the health and safety guidelines drawn out by the health ministry and to achieve that we relied on the power of normative social influence. Our actions are deeply effected by how we perceive social norms. In reality most people did comply with the health and safety guidelines, and yet compliance wasn’t necessarily perceived as a norm. We hypotheses that by simply exposing the actual numbers of how many people did indeed stay safe, we could help in turning such behavior into a perceived social norm and by doing so, effect peoples compliance rates.

Results

our platform was highly successful in engaging municipal leaders and evoking a wide response to effect their constituents behavior to get their ranking up. Some were frustrated at their low ranking and others proud of their high ranking sending their citizens words of encouragement through social media. Connections between different cities as well as between cities and the health ministry for sharing insights and civid-response tools. We received prime time media and press coverage and indeed saw an improvement is social compliance to the safety guidelines. We’d like to think we had at least a little to do with that.

A feature of the project in "Yediot Ahronot" news paper