Behavioural Exchange 2014 was the world’s first global behavioural insights conference, bringing expert academics and practitioners from around the world to Sydney. Four hundred delegates from around the world gathered in Sydney to discuss behavioural innovations shaping the policy landscape. Behavioural Exchange 2014 gave participants access to the best and brightest from the academic, public, and private sectors in the field of behavioural insights. 

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Day 1: Monday 2 June 2014

Welcome to Country & Official Welcome

The Hon. Andrew James Constance, MP, Treasurer

MC: Mr Martin Stewart-Weeks

Why Nudge?

Professor Cass Sunstein, Harvard University (telepresence) talked about why governments use behavioural insights, and reflected on his time at the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs.

Professor David Laibson, Harvard University, talked about the growing use of behavioural insights by government and business. 

Nudging in Government

Dr David Halpern, Chief Executive, United Kingdom Behavioural Insights Team reflected on setting up the world’s first "Nudge Unit," and on the application of BI in the UK.

Dr Maya Shankar, Senior Adviser, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (telepresence) talked about the use of behavioural insights in the White House.

Lunch and The Exchange

Opportunities, Risks, and Common Challenges: An Expert Panel 

Dr Thia Jang Ping, Director, Singapore Ministry of Finance

Professor Michael Hiscox, Harvard University

Professor Peter ShergoldAC, Chancellor, University of Western Sydney

Mr Nicholas Gruen, CEO, Lateral Economics

Facilitated by Mr Martin Stewart-Weeks

Stream Sessions – The Fundamentals
The fundamental elements that are critical in developing behavioural insights trials are the three D’s: Data, Design and Delivery. Senior policymakers, academics, and practitioners talked about their experience and specific case studies.

Stream 1 - Data

Ms Cheryl-Lea Field, Deputy Commissioner, Australian Taxation Office

Tam Shepherd, General Manager, Digital Transformation Division, Department of Human Services

Dr Kerry Chant, NSW Chief Health Officer

Facilitated by Mr Martin Stewart-Weeks

Stream 2 - Design

Ms Jane Treadwell, former Chief Executive Officer, DesignGov

Hector Salazar Salame, Executive Director, JPAL Southeast Asia

Han Siong Ngan, Industrial Designer, Khoo Teck Puat Hospital Singapore

Ms Carolyn Curtis, Chief Executive Officer, The Australian Centre for Social Innovation

Facilitated by Mr Peter Poulet, NSW Government Architect

Stream 3 - Delivery

Professor Cliff Hughes AO, Clinical Excellence Commission, Department of Human Services

Mr Tony Newbury, Chief Commissioner, Office of State Revenue 

Ms Jerril Rechter, Chief Executive Officer, Vic Health

Dr Liam Smith, Behaviour Works, Monash University

Facilitated by Alison Frame, A/Deputy Secretary, NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet

Day 2: Tuesday 3 June 2014


Professor Bates Gill, Chief Executive Officer, United States Studies Centre

Overview from Day 1 and Agenda for Day 2MC: Mr Martin Stewart-Weeks 

Common Ground: Nudging in Government and Business

Professor Richard Thaler, University of Chicago, in conversation with Professor Max Bazerman, Harvard University.

Stream Sessions – The Fundamentals
The fundamental elements that are critical in developing behavioural insights trials are the three D’s: Data, Design, and Delivery. Experienced corporate leaders and academics talked about their experience and specific case studies.

Stream 1 - Data

Mr Adam Welsh, Senior Director of Regulatory Affairs APAC, Opower

Professor Robert Slonim, University of Sydney

Dr James Guszcza, Senior Fellow, Deloitte Analytics Institute

Facilitated by Stephen Brady, Deputy Secretary, NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet

Stream 2 - Design

Professor Kees Dorst, Professor of Design, University of Technology Sydney

Mr Damien Mu, General Manager, AIA/Vitality

Mr Bram van der Lans, General Manager, Telstra Digital Studio 

Professor Dan Lovallo, Professor of Business Strategy, University of Sydney

Facilitated by Martin Stewart-Weeks

Stream 3 - Delivery

Mr Michael Pratt, Customer Service Commissioner, NSW Government

Mr Martin Laverty, Chief Executive Officer, Catholic Health Australia

Mr Arun Abey, Founder of ipac Securities, AMP

Mr Tim Fawcett, General Manager (Government Affairs), Cisco 

Facilitated by Mr Adrian Renouf, Lead Partner - NSW Government and Public Sector, Ernst & Young

Reflections from Business 

Professor Mike Norton, Harvard University 

Ms Mia Garlick, Head of Policy Australia and New Zealand, Facebook

Mr Gautam Jaggi, Lead Analyst, Ernst & Young

Dr Jack Dan, National General Manager (Government), Telstra

The Future of BI

Professor Iris Bohnet, Harvard University

Mr Donald Low, Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, Singapore, looked ahead to the future application of behavioural insights.

They were joined for an interactive panel session with:

Mr Michael Coutts-Trotter, Secretary, NSW Department of Family and Community Services

Ms Lucille Halloran, Commonwealth Government Leader, Ernst & Young

Mr Graeme Head, NSW Public Service Commissioner

Dr David Halpern, UK Behavioural Insights Team 

What is "Behavioural Insights"?

"Behavioural insights" (BI) draws on research from behavioural economics, psychology, and neuroscience to understand how humans behave and make decisions in everyday life. By better understanding how people respond to different contexts and incentives, decision-makers can design and implement better policies and services.

BI provides a useful approach to policymaking, as the process of facilitating behaviour change requires a deep understanding of the practical and structural barriers that people face. Traditionally, many policies and programs have been developed with an underpinning in conventional economics, which assumes that people are rational agents always seeking to "self-maximize" in their decisions. The reality, as behavioural economists and cognitive psychologists have discovered, is that people tend to make decisions that depart from rationality in often predictable ways. BI seeks to use the learnings from academia, and there is a growing network of practitioners applying BI in the private and public sectors around the world.

One of the strengths of BI is its experimental approach to policy and service design. Randomised controlled trials (RCTs), used wherever possible in BI, are a powerful tool to help policymakers and practitioners decide which of several policies is the most cost effective, and which interventions are not as effective as expected. This approach enables us to adapt our policies so that they steadily improve in quality and effectiveness.

Behavioural Insights in Australia

In November 2012, the New South Wales Government entered into a partnership with the United Kingdom Cabinet Office to support the application of behavioural insights to policies and programs in NSW.

NSW is the first state in Australia to create a centrally staffed and funded BI unit, and BI is providing a new way of looking at existing challenges.

The federal government and several state governments in Australia have been increasing their BI expertise and implementing behavioural trials, contributing to the growing pool of knowledge and research demonstrating proven policy outcomes.

Event partners

Behavioural Exchange 2014 was hosted by the NSW Government, the United States Studies Centre, and Harvard University’s Behavioural Insights Group. 

Event sponsors

Thank you to EY, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, Telstra and Cisco for their generous support.