Key Initiatives

Center for Behavioral Design and Social Justice

Designing human-centered systems from the ground up.

A man and a woman on a building site

The Center for Behavioral Design and Social Justice builds systems that prioritize human needs, especially in communities that have historically been marginalized. Social Justice demands equitable systems, but systemic inequities have only grown in recent decades, especially along racial lines. As the COVID pandemic has exposed so clearly, no segment of society—private, nonprofit, or public sector—has adequately provided for the basic needs of so many people. This did not happen by accident, and will not be reversed without concerted effort. New systems will need to be designed and then fought for. By collaborating with historically marginalized communities to design and advocate for behaviorally-informed programs and policies, we can create human-centered systems to achieve the outcomes that matter most to the people affected. 

To address this need, we are launching the Center for Behavioral Design and Social Justice—a cross-disciplinary organization that will work toward equitable outcomes through program and policy design by centering community voices and leveraging cutting edge research in behavioral science.

Our approach:

Design better social policy from ground up, rooted in evidence from behavioral science

We design programs, policies, and services that work well for the people that rely on them by combining the tools of social science with the expertise derived from lived experience. Our goal is to design deep systemic changes, not to pursue incremental improvements. 

Bring the community into the design process as active participants

Fundamental changes to policies, programs, systems require long term partnerships with policymakers, public agencies, and most importantly the communities themselves. Our work will be shaped at every stage by people with lived experience, beginning with how we build our team. 

Advocate for the implementation of those designs, with a focus on changing narratives around poverty

Our public communications seek to expand our collective ideas about what public and human services can be, rather than focusing on what’s politically plausible right now. Our work centers the priorities and outcomes that matter most to the populations we work with, while being alert to the needs of program staff and administrators. 

Join Us

To learn more and get involved, contact Anthony Barrows, Managing Partner and Founder of the Center for Behavioral Design and Social Justice.

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