FAQ: BE for Innovations in FPRH

ideas42 and Project Overview

Who is ideas42?

ideas42 is a non-profit behavioral economics consulting firm that brings together highly creative practitioners, industry and policy experts, and world-renowned behavioral economists and psychologists. Our mission is to apply expertise in behavioral economics to invent fresh solutions to persistent and pervasive social problems. ideas42 works globally across different sectors including health, economic mobility, consumer finance, poverty alleviation, social justice, education, and the environment.

What is ideas42’s methodology?

Behavioral science demonstrates that seemingly small factors can have very large effects on behavior. ideas42 employs a methodology that helps us identify psychological barriers and design solutions that mitigate the problem. This methodology has four major steps: Define, Diagnose, Design and Test.

First, we define the problem by identifying and understanding the behavioral outcome(s) we seek to achieve. We then diagnose the behavioral issues causing the problem through an iterative approach, which includes building a deep understanding of the context in which the problem occurs, charting the decisions and actions of relevant actors, constructing hypotheses of potential behavioral contexts, and looking for quantitative and qualitative evidence in the field to help refine our hypotheses. Based on these hypotheses, we design interventions with an eye to scale, and, where possible, test these interventions using randomized controlled trials and other rigorous methodologies.

What is the Behavioral Economics for Innovations in FPRH project?

Through the generous support of The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, ideas42 is seeking to create a long-term improvement in FPRH outcomes through partnerships with organizations currently facing behavioral challenges related to the delivery, access, uptake, and/or usage of FPRH services. ideas42 will implement a series of activities in execution of this goal.

In March 2014, ideas42 will host a one-day summit in Washington D.C., U.S.A. for FPRH organizations to learn about behavioral economics and its applications.  Following the summit, ideas42 will solicit a Request for Problems from FPRH organizations to work extensively on behavioral problems related to programs and target populations. ideas42 will select two problems to address, conduct a diagnosis of behavioral challenges, design interventions to address those challenges, and then test the effectiveness of those interventions in the field with an eye to scale. Lastly, we will share key findings about our work, through a knowledge dissemination workshop and written case studies, to increase knowledge about using behavioral approaches to improve FPRH services.

RFP Application Process

What is the Request for Problems (“RFP”) process?

The RFP process is a competitive application process through which ideas42 will select two key behavioral problems in the FPRH sector to apply our behavioral lens and methodology. ideas42 and the selected organizations will work together to define a behavioral problem, diagnose the behavioral bottlenecks, design scalable interventions, and test the interventions in the field. During the testing phase, ideas42 and the partner organizations will run randomized controlled trials to test the interventions’ effectiveness.

Will there be an opportunity for us to ask additional questions?

ideas42 will host a webinar to answer any questions about the RFP process on April 29, 2014 before the deadline for submission on May 30, 2014. We will share details about the webinar on our website, along with a deadline for submitting questions, in late March 2014.

How many projects will be selected?

We will select two projects. We expect that even for the organizations that are not selected, participation in the Summit and instruction from leading behavioral economics experts will provide you with useful insights that can be applied in your work.

How do I apply?

Submit an application to us by email to Hannah Spring, hannah@ideas42.org by May 30, 2014. The application is available on our website.

Behavioral Problems

What types of behavioral problems are you looking for?  

ideas42 seeks to work on behavioral problems where there is an “intention-action gap”. That is, in instances where people might have an intention to do something, but where they fail to decide or follow through on decisions. While we hope to select projects that are representative of the various aspects human behavior linked to FPRH (e.g., consumer decisions and actions, provider bias, health care system incentives, etc.), this will not be a decisive factor in the selection process. We are looking to partner with organizations who have the strongest applications overall.

What is a behavioral intervention?

The goal of our behavioral design projects is to improve FPRH outcomes by addressing problems where there is a discrepancy between the targeted population’s desired and actual behavior. Behavioral interventions can take a variety of forms, including a change to, or adjustment of, a system, process, program, service, technology or policy.  Although the beneficiary of the intervention may be the FPRH service recipient, the intervention itself may be designed to target administration, health care providers or other stakeholders.

Is there a country/region focus for the problems requested?

The primary geographic focus is Sub-Saharan Africa, but we will also accept submissions to work in developing countries in other regions.

Partnerships with ideas42

What types of organizations is ideas42 looking to partner with?

We are interested in working with organizations that are delivering or facilitating the delivery of FPRH services. We are open to accepting applications from different types of organizations – non-profit or for-profit. However, we will not accept applications from United States government agencies.

For Hewlett Foundation grantees: will any of the grants that I receive from the Hewlett Foundation be affected by my decision to apply (or not to apply) to this RFP?

No. Grant-making from the Hewlett Foundation will not be influenced by an organization’s decision to participate in the ideas42 summit or RFP process.

Can past Hewlett grantees or organizations not associated with the Hewlett Foundation apply for the RFP?

Yes, organizations working in the FPRH sector with relevant behavioral problems and capacity to implement interventions may submit applications to the RFP.

The RFP appears to be geared toward service providers. Can a policy or advocacy organization apply?

Policy and advocacy groups are welcome to apply. However, it is important to note that the strongest applications will meet all of the selection criteria we present in the RFP, which includes having the organizational capacity to implement a behavioral intervention.

Can organizations apply as a consortium?

We welcome applications from organizations that apply as a consortium, as long as one organization has the ability to coordinate the execution of the project and is designated as the lead applicant.

Who from my organization should apply?

We are looking for key decision-makers and program architects within the organization, as well as those who would be responsible for the execution of the behavioral intervention. A successful application will demonstrate support at the senior level of your organization, as well as capacity to execute the project.

What are the selection criteria?

We are primarily looking for organizations to deliver or facilitate the delivery of FPRH services in Sub-Saharan Africa, however other geographical focuses will be considered. These organizations ideally have the capacity to implement behavioral interventions, and can bring long-term solutions to scale. Details on the selection criteria are included in the RFP.

Will ideas42 facilitate introductions to potential implementation partners, or do we need to identify those in our application?

The strongest applications will meet the selection criteria we present in the RFP, which includes having the organizational capacity to implement a behavioral intervention. Therefore, if your organization does not have this capacity, your organization is responsible for identifying an implementation partner for the application.

Can you elaborate on the type and level of support you are looking for from the selected partner organizations?

We view this work as a collaboration that leverages our behavioral design expertise and our partners’ deep knowledge of the problem. What we need from partners will depend on the phase of the project: define, diagnose, design, or test. During the first two stages, we will ask partners to help us understand the context of the problem, usually by giving us access to data or scheduling site visits. When we move into the design phase, we’ll need your help accessing end users for prototype testing, which may involve scheduling focus groups, surveys, or other observations. Lastly, we will work together with your organization to design the intervention(s). During the implementation of these designs, we expect that your organization will be responsible for execution and facilitating data collection with our support and guidance. At all stages, your feedback will be important to us, and we anticipate a close working relationship.

Will the partnership entail a grant award?

ideas42 may provide some small amount of funding, if necessary, to selected partners to cover staff time and other costs. While the partnership will cover ideas42’s costs for diagnosing, designing and testing behavioral interventions, ideas42 will not be providing any grant awards to selected partners other than these small funding amounts.


If I send you my problem before the application deadline, will you look at it and give me feedback?

We are happy to offer feedback before the application deadline, time permitting. The sooner you begin working on your application, the more likely it will be that we can provide comments. Note that this is not a requirement of the application process.

What will be the length of this project (including start-up, implementation, and evaluation)? 

If your organization is selected to partner with us, we plan to begin the problem definition stage in August or September 2014. On average, we get designs into the field within 6-12 months after selecting partners. The length of time it takes to test an intervention depends on the particular project.

Thank you for your interest in the Behavioral Economics for Innovations in Family Planning and Reproductive Health (FPRH) project. Below are anticipated questions and responses about this project. For any additional inquiries, please contact Hannah Spring, hannah@ideas42.org.