A keen crowd of innovators from not-for-profit to government and social enterprises gathered to hear from industry experts like American health behaviour change pioneer Jeff Jordan at Griffith’s Change Conference.
Jordan began advocating for people to quit smoking when he was 15 and is now the Founder, President and Executive Creative Director of Rescue Agency, which helps facilitate behaviour change in the health space.
Mr Jordan spoke of the physical and psychological burdens a person – an overweight person for example – may have around changing their behaviour and how to help remove those in targeted advertising.
“When we as behaviour change agents tell someone that he should change, we’re just putting more pressure on him, we’re not actually making it any easier,” Mr Jordan said.
“Your job as a behaviour change agent is to find burdens your audience is facing and change them and challenge them.”
Sold-out and switched on
The busy three-day conference schedule showcased 20 TED Talk-style presentations and workshops on provoking and driving meaningful change through a multitude of mediums – from Virtual Reality and social media to more traditional TV advertising.
In its second year, Change has grown from 130 to 160 participants and Social Marketing @ Griffith Research Centre Deputy Director (Engagement) Dr Timo Dietrich said they would look for an even bigger venue next year to keep up with demand.
“It’s gone well beyond Australia, we’ve got people from New Zealand, Japan, Vietnam and a few international keynote speakers from the US and the UK,” Dr Dietrich said.
“It’s bigger than we originally anticipated it but we’re really glad we have 160 change agents here from diverse organisations willing to embrace this change journey and wanting to learn more about how they can drive change in their respective contexts and line of work.”
The importance of measuring change
Griffith University academic Dr Patricia David delivered a presentation on the importance of the proper measurement of change if those studying an outcome of change want to truly discover what is effective.
“Behaviour is considered to be a unit of observation measured at one point in time,” Dr David said.
“Behaviour change is considered to be units of observation measured repeatedly over time.
“This means that behaviour is static in nature (but) behaviour change is the moving pieces – it is actually dynamic in nature.”
Dr David said theory is not often used in social marketing, but when it is, it is usually behavioural theories and not behavioural change theories that are applied. She said in order to create change, behaviour change – not just behaviour – needs to be measured accurately and the findings applied.
Four keynote speakers for the Change Conference 2020 were also unveiled:
- CEO and Co-Founder of World’s Biggest Garage Sale Yasmin Grigaliunas
- Australian Resilience Centre director Paul Ryan
- Adjunct Fellow at NCSEHE Maria Raciti
- NUI Galway lecturer Christine Domegan