E28 How to use the COM_B Behaviour Change Framework with Elina Halonen

Season #2

This episode welcomes Elina Halonen, behavioural science advisor at Square Peg Insight to talk about her favourite tool for thinking behaviour change framework C.O.M._B

Elina’s experience draws from 20 years market research with 10 years within behavioural science space, she uses COM_B on her projects with public sector and commercial organisations.

Elina highlights the importance of defining the problem and defining the audience and however tempting it is not to skip past this – BEFORE using COM_B.

(This temptation is based on two things – this is the hard part and two pressure to get going and just do something!)

Unless you are as specific as possible and you clarify what you are talking about stakeholders will talk across each other.

When you stay vague you can go in circles.  (We’ve all been there!)

“It’s like building a house on shifting sands.”

It’s also important because without understanding the behaviours you won’t in turn understand the scale of change needed – different behaviours have different scales of change.

Elina also highlighted how “time pressure can lead to thinking errors” so use COM_B as a checklist to support your thinking.

Use COM_B to group data and expand thinking.

 Books & links

 3 AHA moments

  1.  To clarify your thinking. Start with your outcome and work backwards. What set of behaviours is needed to achieve this goal. Then go deep into each behaviour to understand the scale of change.
  2. Use COM_B as a thinking tool and group existing data under each heading.
  3. Use COM_B as a facilitation tool with experts and partners. Ask ‘have we considered the findings in this bucket’ where do our assumptions fit? How do they fit?


 Connect with Elina via LinkedIn or via her website Behavioural Design | Square Peg Insight


Behaviour Change Marketing Team training days

Your team, your priorities, bespoke day built around behavioural science. Perfect for bringing a team together – at partnership level Integrated Care Service level or your immediate teams.

Book your training day before the end of 10 July and get a special bonus – one -to – one campaign planning session with Ruth.

These 90-minute sessions (RRP£299) take place after the training day where we go step-by-step through your plans to ensure your application of behavioural science is the best it can be.

This can include the insight, behavioural proposition, channels & content, chosen behavioural framework (usually COM_B or E.A.S.T or both) and stakeholder plan.