Changing behaviours with Sean Hanson

In this episode of Building sustainably: the road to net zero, Sean Hanson, CEO of IMPOWER Consulting, joins Chris Lavery to talk about how changing the world starts by changing behaviours.

In this episode: the need for social change

Have you ever considered the role that behavioural science could play in decarbonisation? Or grappled with how to incite change in your organisation? Sean Hanson, CEO of IMPOWER Consulting, believes that changing the world starts with changing behaviours, and he's here to tell us why.

We're pleased to welcome him to our Building sustainably podcast to talk through the conditions for successful change programmes, how to recognise the difference between short-term and long-term programmes on the road to net zero, and importantly, how behavioural change can be the key to gaining momentum within public sector organisations.

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"When talking behavioural science, it's about speaking openly and honestly with the people you're asking to change, and getting them to understand the bigger picture of what's trying to be achieved - which is ultimately carbon reduction." Sean Hanson, CEO of IMPOWER Consulting.

Meet Sean Hanson

Working in and around the UK public sector for over 30 years, Sean Hanson is no stranger to delivering change. Currently the Chief Executive Officer of IMPOWER Consulting, Sean is an experienced leader in the sector, previously heading up Local Partnerships, an organisation providing professional support and advice and facilitating change across the public sector.

Before that, he was Managing Director of Citizen Services at Serco, and earlier in his career Sean spent twelve years at Camden Council followed by spells at Fareham Council, Liberata and HBS/Mouchel. He’s a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy and also holds a qualification from the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation.

Key highlights

  • 4:47 - 7:35 - Changing the World Starts by Changing Behaviours - IMPOWER is a consulting company that works exclusively within the public sector to solve complex social problems by changing behaviours. As extreme climate events are becoming more common, public authorities are increasingly taking action regarding net zero initiatives.
  • 7:35 - 9:22 - Funding SMEs - Local authorities are not set up to be able to directly fund SMEs so they can be involved in guiding and providing leadership and support for them. Local authorities also lack information about who their SMEs are and what data they have. Therefore, the public sector should focus on understanding the private companies they should be speaking with and adapt their practice to provide incentives for those who could make that fundamental difference in their local areas.
  • 9:24 - 11:15 - Collaboration Criteria - A successful collaboration guarantees positive outcomes. To achieve that, IMPOWER focuses on working with ambitious organisations that want to make a difference, have conditions for success, know how to use data, and recognise the difference between short-term and long-term programmes.
  • 16:11 - 20:18 - Understanding the Behavioural Science - Research shows that you can lower your energy bill and reduce climate change by changing your behaviour. Behavioural science is not necessarily what you think will make the difference, but what motivates people to change their behaviour over the long term. Social pressure turns out to be the most effective way of achieving that change. That's what we love getting involved in, and that's the research we like doing with local authorities.

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