Using Behavioural Insights and Design Thinking to Improve Services for Newcomers - SRDC

Using Behavioural Insights and Design Thinking to Improve Services for Newcomers

March 6, 2023


EASIEST, or Easier Access to Settlement, Integration, Employment and Skills Training is a project led by the Social Research and Demonstration Corporation (SRDC) and funded by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada.

EASIEST brought together Immigrant Serving Organizations (ISOs) in British Columbia to identify improvements in their service delivery processes by introducing new, small, and low-cost innovations that are easy to implement.

EASIEST brought together two main approaches to support innovation – Behavioural Insights (BI) and Design Thinking. BI is an approach to develop policies, practices, and interventions to assist organizations and individuals to make better decisions by understanding their rationale and process. It prioritizes the user’s perspective to improve program outcomes.

EASIEST used a 4D approach to identify, design, and test behavioural strategies to improve programs and address service delivery gaps:

  • Discover – identify opportunities for service improvements
  • Diagnose – examine service bottlenecks
  • Design – innovate a new approach along the user journey
  • Deliver – implement and test the approach and analyze the data

The ISOs were divided into two hubs: one serving newcomers to Canada exclusively, and the other serving all client groups, including newcomers.

The ISOs in Hub 1 identified solutions to improve communications between service providers and newcomers using BI-informed texting solutions. The text messaging increased the newcomer’s attendance at program events, activities, and workshops. In addition, the participants reported increased capacity and knowledge about using BI and evaluating programs.

In Hub 2, participants focused on organizational response to the COVID-19 pandemic by developing resources to improve communications with staff and clients, staff engagement, and support staff and clients to use online platforms. They also reported increased capacity to use BI to improve service delivery processes and staff engagement. An additional outcome was increased collaboration amongst Hub 2 participants to share resources that helped them respond to organizational challenges.

“Overall, EASIEST increased organizational capacity to use behavioural insights to innovate programs and improve services to newcomers.”
– Susanna Gurr, Research Director

Learn more about the EASIEST project.

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