Tips from Go Green MINDSPACE Workshop with Chloe Foy

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Held at OpenSpace on Friday the 29th January – Behavioural Science expert Chloe Foy joins Go Green to deliver a workshop on Sustainable Behaviour Change 

Intentions count towards only a quarter of our behaviour

This workshop explored key ideas from Behavioural Science can be used to tackle behaviour challenges in your business and bring about meaningful and sustainable behaviour change to your organisation. Delegates from a range of local businesses and social enterprises came together to explore sustainable behaviour change.


Firstly, Chloe introduced delegate to the concept of MINDSPACE – a nine letter mnemonic or ‘checklist’ for the most robust effects on behaviour that operate in largely automatic and unconscious ways:

Messenger         we are heavily influenced by who communicates information
Incentives           our responses to incentives are shaped by mental shortcuts
Norms                  we are strongly influenced by what others do
Defaults               we ‘go with the flow’ of pre-set options
Salience               our attention is drawn to what is novel and relevant to us
Priming                our acts are often influenced by sub-conscious cues
Affect                    our emotional associations powerfully shape our actions
Commitments   we are consistent with public promises, and reciprocate acts
Ego                         we act in ways that make us feel better about ourselves

This tool can be applied to any situation and is an easy theory to use practically in the workplace.

The delegates were put to work in groups to apply the Social Psychology concepts of MINDSPACE which are Messenger, Norms and Ego to behavioural challenges in their organisations.

Example: Turning off your computer when you leave the office.

  • Using ‘Messenger’ –  Team Leaders communicate this and lead by example.

Example: Using less paper

  • Using ‘Norms’ – Each department shows how much paper they each use

We then took a short break to share ideas and enjoy the tea, coffee and tasty pastries on offer before plunging back in to the workshop for the next section on behavioural economics

Chloe introduced us to the MINDSPACE concepts of Incentives, Defaults and Commitments and how they can be applied to business scenarios. In groups we brainstormed examples, writing on the OpenSpace wall to get the creative juices flowing..

Example: Using the stairs instead of the lift

  • Using ‘Default’ – Block the lift

Example: Cycling to work

  • Using ‘Commitments’ – Organise to cycle together with a friend on a certain day

Lastly, Chloe introduced cognitive psychology concepts Priming and Affect. We gathered in our groups again to apply these concepts to our own business examples before coming together to share our experiences, ideas and insights.

Example: Encourage healthy eating

  • Using ‘Priming’ – Display fruit bowl

Example: Reducing food waste

  • Using ‘Affect’ – Messages or images of food waste

Chloe closed the session with some useful tips to take away that can be applied to any organisation:

  • Test and learn – If your initiative isn’t working try something else
  • Habit forming can take at least 2 months
  • Accountability for an initiative is important for its success
  • A new start (such as moving house/moving city) or change in environment (such as new office furniture) provides a great opportunity to implement behavior change measures
  • Finally – Have fun!

Chloe Foy

For two years, Chloe was based at the London School of Economics working alongside internationally renowned behavioural scientist, Professor Paul Dolan in the social policy department. She spent time consulting with Sport England, VW and Diageo using the ‘MINDSPACE’ report which Paul authored and used to inform policymaking for the UK Government in 2010. She also spent time publicising the behavioural sciences including producing an app, and working on a new BBC One prime time TV programme due this March. To find out more about Chloe and her work please visit

For more case studies and tips on creating sustainable behaviour change in your organisation go to our articles on Changing Behaviours To Reduce Energy Consumption and Putting some go in your Green Team!