Carnegie Mellon University

Public Policy Delivery Through Behavior Change Communication

Successful public policy delivery relies on the integration of effective public communication.

Alongside legislation, regulation and taxation, communication is an essential tool for policy development and implementation. But communication is poorly understood and under-utilized at many levels of government. Used successfully, communication closes the gap in trust between government and citizens and helps drive long-term behavior change which is key to tackling many public policy challenges.

To do so, policy makers must understand why people behave the way they do and how best to influence audiences, drawing on insights from behavioral psychology, economics and other disciplines. Successful communication also requires a nuanced understanding of the changing media landscape and the latest developments in digital technology.

Together Carnegie Mellon and WPP combine conceptual foundations from top academic researchers and practical understanding through global best practices from WPP’s work with 115 governments in 70+ countries. The program provides participants with a framework for integrating communication into policy development, a model for delivering behavior change communication and the logic for evaluation and attribution. As a result, participants gain mastery in framing, communicating and implementing policies effectively in an age of anger and insecurity.

Learn more about Public Policy Delivery Through Behavior Change Communication

Program Schedule
A Powerful Partnership

Who should attend?

The program is designed for senior Federal, State and Local government officials who are responsible for developing or implementing public policy, particularly in the area of citizen engagement and/or behavior change. The program is also relevant to those working in government communication, military and non-profit roles who wish to deepen their understanding and skills in using behavior change communication in delivering effective policy outcomes.

Program Schedule

Day 1

Behavioral Approaches to Public Policy 

Day one will introduce participants to key concepts behind behavioral approaches to public policy delivery. In particular, the day will focus on:

  • How society and the role of government are changing

  • The implication of these changes for government policy making and communication

  • Why humans behave in the ways they do

  • Key theories of human behavior and approaches to behavior change that are used within government 

Day 2

Behavioral Objectives and Strategy 

Day two will begin with a discussion on techniques for effecting change within government. Building on models introduced on day one, it will also focus on:

  • How to define and set behavioral policy objectives  

  • Approaches to developing strategies that integrate policymaking, behavioral theory and best-in-class public communication
  • The differing levers of policy that can help deliver the strategy

Day 3

Influence of Ethics on Public Policy Delivery

Day three will look at the ethics of public policy and policy framing before focusing on how policymakers can to commission publicly-acceptable communication that delivers behavioral change. In particular, there will be a focus on:

  • The importance of data and insights on audience segmentation
  • Approaches to communication content development and planning
  • Social relevance
  • How best to execute, adapt and optimize behaviorally-focused communication strategies and how to evaluate the impact of the campaigns

Day 4

Social Media and Policy Implementation

Day four will begin with a review of the power of social media to both help deliver and inhibit the delivery of public policies, and how policymakers can use its power to best use. The day will also look at:

  • The impact of social media on the public space
  • Different ways to evaluate and attribute the impact of behavior change communication
  • The management of risk

Participants will spend the rest of the day in groups applying their learning to a current public policy issue in a Live Challenge exercise.

Day 5

Live Challenge

Day five begins with participants receiving mentoring advice and support on their proposed solutions to the Live Challenge. Embedded within a WPP agency in Washington DC, participants will experience the working culture within a creative or media agency before presenting to a panel their solutions through a group role play exercise.

A Powerful Partnership

Merging the academic excellence of a leading University with the practical foundation of the world’s largest communication services group, Carnegie Mellon University and WPP align to impact successful public policy delivery.  

A global research university, Carnegie Mellon stands among the world’s most renowned educational institutions and sets its own course. Home to one of the world’s top public affairs graduate schools, Carnegie Mellon's School of Public Policy & Management at Heinz College, our faculty are dedicated to solving the important problems of our time, problems that live at the nexus of people, policy, and technology. Carnegie Mellon’s unique approach to Executive Education at the Tepper School of Business develops leaders through the intersection of business, technology and analytics prepared to drive change, solve problems, and implement solutions.

WPP is the leading global marketing and communications services company. Its agencies work globally with over 115 national and regional governments where communication can have the greatest impact on improving policy outcomes.