The EAST framework was developed by the Behavioural Insights Team from early 2012. The principle underpinning it is that if you want to encourage a behaviour, make it Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely (EAST).
In order to apply these insights in practice, the Behavioural Insights developed a methodology that draws on the experience of developing major strategies for the UK Government, a rich understanding of the behavioural literature, and the rigorous application of tools for testing ‘what works’.
The EAST framework is at the heart of this methodology, but it cannot be applied in isolation from a good understanding of the nature and context of the problem. To develop behaviour change projects, there are four main stages:
1. Define the outcome
Identify exactly what behaviour is to be influenced. Consider how this can be measured reliably and efficiently. Establish how large a change would make the project worthwhile, and over what time period.
2. Understand the context
Visit the situations and people involved in the behaviour, and understand the context from their perspective. Use this opportunity to develop new insights and design a sensitive and feasible intervention.
3. Build your intervention
Use the EAST framework to generate your behavioural insights. This is likely to be an iterative process that returns to the two steps above.
4. Test, learn, adapt
Put your intervention into practice so its effects can be reliably measured. Wherever possible, BIT attempts to use randomised controlled trials to evaluate its interventions. These introduce a control group to understand what would have happened if nothing had been done.
The Behavioural Insights Team 'EAST: Four simple ways to apply behavioural insights'