Chicago Behavioral Design Team

In 2015, the City of Chicago demonstrated a commitment to evidence-based innovation by joining with ideas42 to form the Chicago Behavioral Design Team (BDT).

Through this partnership, the Second City became the first city government in the United States to directly embed a behavioral science team into its operations. Part of our Gov42 portfolio of government partnerships, the Chicago BDT builds on proven interventions at the federal, state, and city levels to find new evidence-based, cost-effective solutions to persistent social problems.

Cities are increasingly earning a reputation as leaders in the push for policy and service delivery innovation. By virtue of their position between the more distant federal government and local neighborhood communities, city governments have unique potential to create real, positive impact at scale for everyday residents.

Providing good, effective government services today requires a nuanced understanding of human behavior to better design human-centric policies and programs. The Chicago BDT works across city government to design low-cost, scalable solutions to problems and provide policy and programmatic support to departments. Together, BDT team members and key department staff inside City Hall and across city agencies work to identify the best ways to design and test behavioral solutions to problems facing 2.7 million Chicagoans.

In every context that a City of Chicago agency interacts with the public, there is an opportunity to enhance outcomes and experiences. For example:

Support for the Chicago Behavioral Design Team is provided by the City of Chicago.

Interested in learning more about this work applying behavioral science to a crucial social problem? Reach out to us: or tweet at @ideas42 to join the conversation.