As social scientists, designers, and strategists, quite often we find that our job is not about revealing a groundbreaking scientific truth, but about improving connections, growing empathy, and getting to the root of a problem. All of this starts by asking the right questions.

At Changeable, we follow a five-step process that has proven to be successful in taking us through the different dimensions of a problem all the way through to designing and probing valid solutions. This process is grounded on disciplined inquiry, which entails asking thorough and precise questions to make better sense of people, their communities and contexts.

Step 1: What is the problem and who is experiencing it in their daily lives?

In order to make change, you have to first definethe problem.

Do families of young children need to take action to prevent stunting? Can adolescent girls consistently use modern contraceptives? Is there room for communities to take greater responsibility for keeping children safe? Can young men help stem new HIV infections by adopting preventive actions?

By interpreting the data and distilling it into relevant ‘aha’s’ we help define the problem and figure out who is the optimal audience to enable change.

Step 2: Why does the problem exist? 

Often there are clear and understandable reasons why people behave in a certain way. We need to put ourselves in their shoes and understand from their perspective why another behavior would be a better alternative.

The ‘whys’ and ‘why nots’ of behavior change are rarely limited to a lack of knowledge and information. By understanding the target audiences and stakeholders involved in the defined problem, we can make sense of the underlying reasons for their current behavior, and their world.

Step 3: What theoretical approach should we test to effectively eliminate the problem? 

Drawing on the insights we gather about the audience and their world, we’ll develop a ‘big idea’ that describes how your intervention will address unmet needs and ecosystem demands. This ‘theory of change’ model will be specific to the audience and context and will guide the program design and measurement.

Step 4: What does the intervention design consist of and what are the implications for the organization? 

Drawing on a range of proven approaches to behavior change – Human Centered Design, marketing, social behavior change, etc. – we work with our clients to co-design a strategic intervention.

This step will also ensure the optimal organizational structure is in place to execute a program. We’ll collaborate to answer questions like: Does the organization need new and different skill sets? Is there change management required? Are the right support supervision systems in place to achieve optimal quality?

Step 5: Is it Working?

Of course it all comes down to did we do what we set out to do? Does the intended audience like the intervention? Is it improving desired outcomes (for instance, increased demand for health services or products, increased uptake of a new behavior)? Is the intervention cost-effective? Is it delivering a high return on investment?

We will help to determine the appropriate metrics to measure what is working (or not) during implementation and identify necessary modifications to ensure success.

We love a proven process, but we always adapt our approach to each client and the nature of their problem. With an understanding of the problem at hand, we support partners to develop and implement behavior change programs at scale, using scientific approaches to increase impact. Whatever the problem our clients are trying to solve (i.e. time, lack of resources, or unfamiliarity with behavior change), at Changeable we become a partner before, during and after strategy is designed to ensure the best possible outcome.