Over the past twenty years I have met leading academics and multi-national companies seeking to understand how best to persuade people to live more sustainably.

These conversations plus practical experience have highlighted that four basic principles are required. People are more likely to make long-term change in mutually supportive groups. Change needs to be made easy. Information has to be authentic, clear and relevant. Positive feedback encourages further action and engagement.

The challenge is how to bring these elements together at scale and cost-effectively. Maybe this conundrum has finally been cracked through our partnership with IKEA.

LiveLAGOM is an ambitious three year campaign helping IKEA’s most engaged customers to save energy, reduce waste, cut water use and live healthier. It builds on the four essential components of a successful behaviour change campaign.

1. Supportive Groups

In the first year over 8,000 customers registered to participate in LiveLAGOM. With support from the University of Surrey 150 households were selected from this group. These households were across the country and from a wide demographic.

They have all have all received the same structured support enabling them to share ideas and experiences through a closed Facebook group and WhatsApp. They took part in a store tour of their local IKEA enabling them to meet each other and their IKEA mentor. They received home visits giving them a chance to talk through ideas. Finally they all took part in the ‘action phase’ at the same time receiving constant support throughout. The level of on-line engagement throughout this phase was incredible with people sharing ideas, questions and encouragement.

2. Change needs to be easy

Each household was given £500 to spend on IKEA products helping them to live more sustainably. They received a ’Hidden Gems’ IKEA catalogue explaining how the products could help them. During the store tour and home visits they were able to see the products and ask more questions. They were given time to make their choice and received the products in one batch at the start of the action phase. Change was made easy and relevant to their circumstances.

3. Information has to be authentic, clear and relevant

The Hidden Gems catalogue was beautifully designed highlighting an aspirational lifestyle. Expert mentors including leading designers, gardening journalists and chefs were involved to share their ideas and answer questions. On-line engagement ensured that any queries were answered quickly and difficulties resolved. Topical events were organised in IKEA’s stores keeping the project live and engaging.

4. Positive feedback

The involvement of the University of Surrey ensures that the impact of LiveLAGOM is thoroughly and independently assessed. Households have completed questionnaires and participated in interviews. Lessons will be captured and shared allowing on-going improvement and the chance for others to replicate. Households have shared ‘before’ and ‘after’ photos of their falling energy bills, their super organised new recycling systems and their newly created veg plot or windowsill planter. These successes inspired and motivated others.

The future

IKEA will be sharing the impact of the first year of LiveLAGOM in the next few months. Year two is already underway with a few moderations including a reduction of the offer from £500 to £300 which has not had a detrimental impact on interest.

LiveLAGOM could prove to be a ground-breaking way of taking sustainable behaviour campaigns to scale and might be the template for others to replicate.