Norms, incentives, ego, …..

Take some traditional behavior changes theories, add emerging behavioural economics, shake into 9 ingredients, arrange them in a row with a catchy acronym, and what do you get? MINDSPACE  !!!

MINDSPACE: Influencing behaviour through public policy was published by the United Kingdom’s Institute for Government and the Cabinet Office on 2 March 2010.

The Ins and Outs of “Protective Cognition”

Over the years, I have enjoyed various products and services from Spitfire Strategies, including a series of webinars they are now co-sponsoring with The Communication Network.

The first in the series featured Dan Kahan, who explored theories about why this is a gap between known science and community beliefs. This includes a phenomenon known as “protective cognition”. This presentation is available on the web in whole and in parts. Check it out !

International Social Marketing Conference

The International Social Marketing Association is holding their annual conference in Toronto, April 21-3, 2012.

About iSMA:   The International Social Marketing Association (iSMA) is the pioneer federation advancing and expanding the use of the social marketing approach worldwide. It is an entirely volunteer-run, member-driven organization offering online access to information on social marketing conferences and meetings, tools and resources, jobs and listserv/discussion forums. iSMA also provides regular member news updates; discounts on conferences, trainings and subscriptions; and opportunities for volunteering, networking and visibility.  Show you are serious about social marketing by joining and supporting the International Social Marketing Association. http://i-socialmarketing.org

European Centre on Disease Control

I am using this post to point to one of a number of resources being developed by a consortium of universities comprised of the Health Promotion Research Centre at the National University of Ireland Galway, as the lead coordinating centre, and the Institute for Social Marketing, University of Stirling, Scotland, and the University of Navarra Clinic, Pamplona, Spain.
The systematic literature review related to Immunization Schedule Promotional Communications  was produced by Georgina Cairns, Laura MacDonald, Kathryn Angus,
Laura Walker, Theodora Cairns-Haylor and Timothy Bowdler, Institute for Social Marketing, University
of Stirling and the Open University.
The project was overseen by Ülla-Karin Nurm, Andrea Würz, Piotr Wysocki, Niklas Danielsson and Irina
Dinca, ECDC Communication Knowledge Group in the Public Health Capacity and Communication Unit.

This is one of a number of toolkits produced by the Knowledge and Resource Centre on Health Communications, of the ECDC located in Stockholm.

It was my pleasure to serve on the Advisory Committee for a project that included creation of this paper.

Where magic, mathematics, and neuroscience meet !

I admit that some eyes glaze over when I start talking about this, and I also confess that I do not have the dexterity or the patience to become a sleight of hand artist.

Having said that, I was fascinated enough to acquire Fooling Houdini by Alex Stone . I found this a real fun and interesting read, as it combines an interesting personal narrative (with themes of failure and redemption), a lot of history of magic, some math, and a lot of psychology. The description of how Three Card Monte gangs operate to select, engage, fool and then cool out their victims is gripping. The explanation of optical illusions, in-attentional blindness and other cognitive processes is highly relevant to health promotion and communications, and while respectful to the academic sources, is told in a more interesting manner than most journal articles.

There is also controversy! Right or wrong, Stone does reveal secrets. Among other critics, sleight of hand artist, actor and author Ricky Jay wrote a blistering review in the Wall Street Journal.

After reading the review, I did end up reading “Magical Mathematics” by Persi Diaconis and Ron Graham. This book is also wonderful, full of tricks, history, and all sorts of non-magical applications (cryptology,  cable paths, etc), but the math is pretty demanding.

I also noted that Alex Stone does include respectful description of the work of Diaconis, who is one of a number of mathematician magicians (as was the late Dr. Nathan Mendelsohn who taught  “Basic Concepts in Mathematics” and ended our class with a show of stunning tricks which I vividly remember from over 40 years ago).

As for secrecy, Stone claims that most tricks have been revealed on the Internet among other sources. One proof test: finding out how David Copperfield made the Statue of Liberty is one Google click away. Take my word (sadly) for it. He’s right.

CDC’s MessageWorks now live

CDC’s MessageWorks is one of three tools proposed for HealthCommWorks, and as its name implies, it focuses on important message characteristics. In a series of seven easy steps, you define your situation, craft a message, and get a numerical score for that message, as well as recommendations to improve the message.  You can do this multiple times, saving them to an account as you wish.

You can see this for yourselves at the following site: https://www.healthcommworks.org/

Two things I really like are:

– the fact you can create multiple versions of the “same” basic message, and see how it scores AND/OR see how effective a given message might be with different audiences !

– to do the above, you need a sophisticated algorithm in the background, and in this instance, it is based on a meta-analysis by Keller and Lehmann (2008) – Dr. Keller also appears in a series of instructional videos within MessageWorks.

CDC’s Gateway

They call it a gateway to Health Communication and Social Marketing Practice, and it surely is an entrance, starting point, platform, launchpad (ideally not a rabbit hole or a gangplank)  to a teeming intellectual garden of resources.

Have you seen those ironic web pages proclaiming “You have  reached the last page of the Internet. Now go outside and play!”

I doubt you will reach the last page of this site, however you will enjoy the journey. Start here.

Visualization methods

If you like using visuals such as Venn Diagrams, mind maps, and charts of various kinds, you will love learning about 72 methods displayed in the Periodic Table of Visualization Methods. Just before posting this, I took a look at the family of Metaphor Visualization; the Heaven ‘n’ Hell map intrigued me.

I was delighted to find this elegant catalogue of visualizations methods a few years , and the interactive version provides interesting examples of each, using rollovers.  Lengler and Eppler hold the copyright, and a simple search leads you their original paper explaining the various categories.  See the table here.

CDC’s National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media

Well, another August will have passed, and regrettably I will again not be attending CDC’s National Conference on Health Communication, Marketing and Media.

This however ought not stop you!

Here is the website: http://www.cdc.gov/nchcmm/

I will be there in spirit however, since I am now working on a tool similar to the one presented by Galen Cole last year . See the slideshare:  http://www.slideshare.net/eileenhaag/nchcmm-presentation-10-variablesthe-reasongcole82011

Galen and “Company” will be presenting again this year; we will certainly find the emerging tools very useful.

BC PHA’s Summer School

It will be a great pleasure to be with old and new colleagues at the BC Public Health Association’s 3rd Annual Summer School.

Here is the link for more information: http://www.phabc.org/

This year is focusing on health communication and evaluation. The School has a huge virtual component as there are seven sites participating with real-time videoconferencing (around 200 participants in all), as well as the website postings.

I am delighted to be presenting on best practices, media advocacy and communication resources on July 24 and 25.

It brings back good memories of the Ontario Health Promotion summer schools which were residential and packed with all kinds of learning.  It is great to see adaptations and enhancements.