Providing high level evidence-based strategic advice is instinct and reason’s strength and nowhere is this more important than in government. And in an era of rapid technological advancements, increasing expectations and ever increasing efficiency dividends, at no time has it ever been more important.

Experience

instinct and reason has extensive and current experience in the public sector at the Commonwealth, state/territory and local levels and is currently a member of panels servicing more than 30 government agencies.

Government and social research and evaluation represent about 40 per cent of instinct and reason’s consulting work and our work has ranged from major global and national projects to targeted concept testing and evaluation studies.

Contemporary service delivery

For more than a decade now there have been moves within service delivery to support individuals, families and communities to achieve greater ‘efficiency’ and ‘customer self-sufficiency’ through the delivery of policy advice and high quality accessible social, health and welfare services and other payments; and to support customers, providers and businesses through convenient and ever more efficient methods such as online service delivery. instinct and reason has conducted research to support this move and ensure the needs of both customers and departments are met in the transition.

In addition many public sector organisations need to balance the need for greater efficiency with the ongoing aspect of customer satisfaction. The approach we generally recommended is sensitive to the most common complaints about satisfaction research, i.e. nothing happens because…

  • the results showed we had to get better on everything and it was “all too hard” and “we didn’t know where to start”
  • the results showed us where to improve but it didn’t tell us how e.g. was it about the service itself or our managerial control of it
  • we measured but couldn’t get agreement on the type of management action to take
  • we didn’t get ‘buy-in’ on an ongoing basis from our management, staff or stakeholders because we didn’t communicate the results or the actions we planned to take.

instinct and reason offers a research approach that will address this. Furthermore, instinct and reason has extensive experience in balancing the need to ensure key longitudinal results are obtained with the need to gain insight into current and future direction issues in order to gain the greatest value out of the research being conducted.

Examples of recent work include:

  • research on a large government website to ensure it is meeting the needs of its users
  • evaluation of the use of high definition video conference as part of enhance face to face service delivery
  • evaluation of a new service delivery model for whole-of-government services
  • research on the responses of small to medium sized businesses across state and territory jurisdictions to the new model of harmonised work health and safety laws.

Communication and segmentation research in the public sector

Accurate insights to inform communication are important to government. If you are spending taxpayers’ money to communicate issues and encourage action or behavioural change, you need to know that your messages will be received correctly and acted upon as expected.

instinct and reason’s strength lies in our ability to approach a problem with both divergent thinking (what are all the possibilities – the values, attitudes, behaviours, trends and wider context and factors affecting the issue) and convergent thinking (what messages and channels work best).

Our strength also lies in using a model that asks the relevant questions and in providing evidence-based and operationally practical outcomes. The model is based on recognising the importance of Cut-through, Clarity, Involvement and Persuasion in developing any successful program and communications strategy. At the same time it is critical to understand how different groups are likely to react to different messages and material, and the action they are likely to take or not take. Traditional research design and analysis often suffers from the fundamental flaw of focusing on averages and it is not enough to analyse simply on demographic measures but also by attitudinal and behavioural segments in a way that can be applied in the real operational environment.  In addition instinct and reason has the ability to incorporate choice experiments to determine what are the real drivers and barriers and the optimal communication mix. In essence the results will provide a map whereby an optimal communication can be constructed by determining:

  • a framework as to how the communication is likely to be judged
  • the current and ideal position of communication
  • an understanding of whether the potential executions of the communication is aligned with the optimal position and where it is not
  • what may add value to fit with the optimal communication.

Examples of recent work include:

  • research for the Australia Day Council to inform its Australia Day campaign
  • research for the Therapeutic Goods Administration tracking satisfaction and issues among doctors, businesses and consumers