Data Points Podcast Episode 8 – Nudges for Government

What is a “nudge?” How can human behavior, and errors, affect the everyday work of government? How can data help government start to correct those errors? We discuss these questions and more with Elspeth Kirkman of the Behavioral Insights Team (or BIT) in this week’s episode of Data Points. Elspeth is the Head of BIT North America, which launched last year as a part of the Bloomberg Philanthropies What Works Cities Initiative (which also launched GovEx).

BIT grew out of 10 Downing St, where it was the United Kingdom’s “nudge unit” and the world’s first government institution dedicated to the application of behavioral sciences. BIT’s work focuses on redesigning services based on empirical evidence from the behavioral science literature. Their work also involves rigorous testing of behavioral science concepts to ensure that governments know what works before they scale up new practices.

Through What Works Cities, BIT has expanded its work to the US and is working with several cities across the country on low-cost evaluations. These evaluations help cities test different a variety of techniques in service delivery to determine which ways are more effective, and which ways aren’t, to improve service delivery.

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