Organ donation - Communication and Behaviour Analysis

Client: Sundhedsstyrelsen (SST) // Danish Health Authority

In 2018 Design Psychology was tasked with a communication and behavioural analysis of SST´s current information material concerning organ donation aimed at the general public.

Development of strategic guidelines for a strengthened communication effort to empower more people to actively make a choice about sign-up for the Donor Register within the current political solution of opt-in.

The Project In short

  • “Say-Do” paradox: 80% of Danes state that they are positive when it comes to taking a stand on Organ Donation. However, the sign-up data tell a different story with less than 20% registered.


Say-Do Paradox

  • Our socio-technical, behavioural and root cause analysis provided a complete perspective on the organdonation paradox that uncovered new action paths based on a clear understanding of barriers and ressources for signing up for the Donor Register.

  • To increase sign-up rates to the Donor Register we developed concrete guidelines for how to frame, visualise and communicate about organdonation in a transparent, revealing, non-technical and behaviour-driving discourse.

  • Our efforts gave rise to an update and re-launch of two SST key touchpoints; the “Organdonation - tag stilling” folder and the “Til pårørende - om hjernedød og organdonation” folder.

  • In addition, we provided SST with deep-rooted behavioural insights to help them specify requirements for future campaigns and communication initiatives.

The Client Challenge

Statistics show that 80% of Danes are positive when it comes to organ donation. However, the sign-up data from the Donor Register tell a different story with only about 20% of Danes registered. Despite multiple information campaigns, emphasising primarily altruistic and moral incentives for organ donation registration, the numbers have remained quite stable. This could indicate that the current communication touchpoints have reached an exhaustion limit.

As a reaction to this, our challenge was to gain new understanding of the individual and societal root-causes for this apparent “say-do” paradox.

Finally, the uncovered insights and root-causes were expected to drive development of strategic and operational guidelines to support, strengthen and improve communication efforts across SST´s entire platform and organisation.

Our Approach: Root Cause Analysis of Behaviour

Through desk research and re-decoding of already available user insights, we identified factors that in a wider societal and systemic perspective impacts a potential organ donor. This examination allowed us to understand the organ donation paradox through a unique lens; revealing a more complete picture, emphasising not only moral or altruistic motivations but also those group, societal, cultural, institutional and technological dynamics and factors that drive donor decision-making behaviour and sign-up rates.

Second, we dived in to the substance matter of individual root causes by exploring peoples different understandings, existential concerns, myths and misconceptions surrounding the organ donation decision making process.

Through Gap-analysis we proceeded to review existing communication material from Sundhedsstyrelsen, identifying both strengths as well as improvement opportunities in SST´s current information architecture, touchpoints, and general communicative efforts.

Solution: Communication Design Guidelines

We developed concrete guidelines for SST on how to best create future information material. We especially focused on opportunities for SST to frame and visualise about organ donation in a transparent and non-technical way; anchoring their communication in an everyday setting, we provided tools to reframe organ donation from an abstract and distant realm to a meaningful, present and identity-shaping matter, increasing sign-up probability by empowering organ donation decision making.

Based on the newly identified root causes, we created tailormade strategic guidelines to support SST´s communication initiatives. In addition, conclusions from our analysis provided SST with a detailed requirement specification list, ensuring the right focus and target for current and future communicative collaborations with both internal and external stakeholders.

Finally, we applied our analytical conclusions to an update and re-launch of both the red “organdonationsfolder” as well as the “relatives folder”.

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