spur:6

Bespoke spur: tool

Build it and they will come, right?

Well, not exactly.

Just because you create a project, initiative, or campaign doesn't mean that it's going to be successful and that people will meaningfully connect with it. 

spur:6 is an efficacy framework to analyse your idea and its ability to resonate with users.

Underpinning the framework is one of spur:'s core beliefs about human behaviour: 'What's easy to do is easier not to do'.

It might be easy to click a link, to watch a video, or your non-profit's donation system but be the simplest process ever devised - yet, it's still easier to not click, watch, or donate at all. 

Therefore, the question you need to ask is how to make it an easier option for people to want to be involved and take part than not. How do you engineer your solution so that taking part or engaging is easier than inaction?

The spur:6 framework consists of six key domains, each with guiding questions, that have been developed over a decade of national and international work in social change programs, campaigns, solutions and initiatives.

The Six Domains

1 · Understand impact

Is your hard work going to result meaningful outcomes or just outputs? How will you know? How will the impact be measured?

First and foremost, it is crucial to understand what you're actually seeking to improve or change. It might be that you care passionately about women's education or veteran's health and wellbeing. After a year or more of working on the problem, what would be the key indicators you'd be looking at to know the effort was successful?

The key question: How might we demonstrably know success?

2 · Investigate people

Who is involved in this situation? Who does this impact? Who is tangentially effected? Who has power in this situation? Who is marginalised?

Broad demographic insights can be useful, but individual voices provide nuance. Nothing should ever be created for a group without that group involved in the process. Similarly, it is important to understand everything exists in a system, and speaking with or involving actors from around that system is crucial. Who has the power to affect change, prevent it, work against it, or support it? What do they need?

The key question: Whose voices should be in this conversation?

3 · Meet, yet move

What are the current paradigms of those affected by the project? Where do they operate? What are their existing behaviours and habits? What resources do they have or need? 

People make decisions based on a lifetime of experience. Understanding habits, patterns, paradigms, their existing systems, and processes, helps to provide critical insight of the gap between where they are and where you want to move them to. Say you want more people in your city to bike to work. On the surface is simple - but there are myriad factors as to why they might not be able to, want to, think that they can, and more. Understanding where your target group is now is the first step to moving them to the intended behavioural destination.

The key question: What behaviours and mindsets will people default to?

4 · Embed Action

How do you ensure that you are getting people to take action? What is the very first action that the target group could take? How are you shortening the distance and time from the end result to immediate action?

Awareness is for those who can't get people to take action. Awareness is often crucial for social change - but it is not the goal. If we're all aware we should recycle, this doesn't mean that we do. The gap between knowing about something and doing something about it is both vast and often left unbridged. As behaviours are built upon repeated, cumulative actions, every project should look to define and catalyse action as early as is appropriate, even if that first action is small.

The key question: How might we make this the easiest option?

5 · Leverage Community

Who are our target users surrounded by? What will this mean for their social group? How do we help them feel part of something bigger than themselves? 

Humans are social creatures. We're influenced by the people around us and our idea of what our identity is. This is important to underline as social change and behaviour takes time. Not only will fostering a community around your project engage people in the first place, but keep them engaged, too.

Key question: How might we build a sense of community and connection?

6 · Harness language

What words are we using and what do they really mean? Are we communicating with bias, or unintended meaning? Who are we speaking to and what words do they need to hear?

Words create meaning and intent - they shape how we perceive ourselves and our environment. An d they do this often without us even aware that it happens. The unconscious mind can't help but quickly process the words it is given, and assigns meaning to these automatically. It is only with effort that we can interrogate our reaction to words and phrases (see Kahneman's System 1 and System 2).

For example, "Get involved" vs "don't miss out" are similar in intent, but understood my the mind very differently. The first implores initiative action (as above, this requires effort on the part of the audience to gain something they might not even want or consider worth the effort) whereas the second implies that something important is happening already (and, by not participating, one might lose something valuable).

Key question: What might be the result of the words being used?

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