About the BDI Methodology

Developed by the Behavioural Dynamics Institute (BDI) over a twenty-year period, the BDI Methodology offers a unique solution to deep-rooted group behaviour problems. It draws together precise research, focused on groups, to produce actionable recommendations rooted in an understanding of group behaviour.

Why it works

The Behavioural Dynamics Institute’s Methodology is based on a thorough understanding of what drives group behaviours. Its development follows years of research into difficult, taboo and little understood aspects of human culture.
This research has enabled the development of a number of incisive tools and techniques that can bring about specific and measurable behaviour change.

What it involves

A combination of precise audience research, modelling and analysis is used over a period of time in order to create specific, actionable recommendations for behavioural change.
These usually consist of:

a) a communication campaign to impact perceptions and behaviours.
b) a number of recommended ‘policy’ changes to existing incentive structures.

What makes it different

The BDi Methodology differs from polling, marketing and commercial science research in four key ways.

1. A focus on behaviour
The BDi Methodology analyses what people actually do. Most social science research focuses solely on attitudes and assumes that these will lead to corresponding action. Yet, many people who claim (for example) to hate western citizens can still be friendly and cooperative with them in person. Only where hostile behaviours occur is there cause for appropriate action.
Concentrating on behaviour unearths a different range of solutions. What’s more, behaviours (unlike attitudes) provide a robust measure of the effectiveness of a campaign.

2. An audience-centred approach
The BDi Methodology seeks to understand the behaviour of a group from their perspective. This involves considering the internal logic of their culture.
Commercial social science often uses a comparative framework that examines groups and cultures from its own external frame of reference. While this comparison has its uses, it rarely delivers information that can support actionable recommendations on behaviour change.
By establishing the motivations, values, attitudes and beliefs of target groups, it is possible to gain the necessary insights to support the design of an effective influence strategy.

3. Focusing on the group
The BDi Methodology looks upon people as independent but interrelated parts of a social unit, organised by patterns of relationships. This unit often has a stronger influence on behaviour than individual attitudes and preferences. That’s why it is important to seek out the characteristics and traits of the group by examining a combination of relevant social norms, comparative preferences and behavioural intentions.
Most quantitative research is based on aggregates of individual scores, even though these can often prove misleading in the broader social context.

4. The use of phased research
‘One time’ studies of group behavioural problems have limited value. Often the most important issues need time to fully ‘play out’. The BDi Methodology takes this into account by dealing with cyclical rather than linear cause and effect.

The methodology has four phases:

Strategic campaign planning     
It starts with a thorough specification of the project to identify the behaviours that need to change. Groups expressing those behaviours will then be analysed according to designated areas of interest, such as motivations, affiliations and the autonomy of individuals. The goal is to identify a campaign target group.

Target audience analysis
Once they have been identified we then construct a complex profile of the target audience. This forms the basis of the intervention strategy.

Behavioural change and intervention strategy
The intervention strategy is then developed, based on what has been learnt about the audience and the problem. A number of potential routes are investigated using the research data from phases 1 and 2. The influence campaign is subsequently designed and rolled out.

Audience-Based Measures of Effectiveness (AB-MOE)
Vital to any behaviour change campaign is the measurement of its effectiveness. However, communication and influence campaigns usually lack pre-defined units of measurement, so a yardstick must be provided to define what success ‘looks like’. AB-MOE is an evaluation hierarchy built on three levels of indicator data:

  • Defined objectives.
  • Indicators identified and measured.
  • Evaluation of changes post intervention.

By tying measurement indicators to objectives, campaigns can be evaluated in terms of benefit gained relative to the financial investment.

In summary
Most research companies specialise in either quantitative or qualitative research. The BDI is unique in using a phased, mixed methods approach whereby qualitative research generates potential strategies and quantitative research enables them to be tested.
In this way the BDi Methodology achieves the depth of understanding required to develop campaigns that can significantly and measurably impact group behaviour.