Many years of research
Nearly forty years of research at the University of Hertfordshire has resulted in new thinking in the area of behaviour change, led by Professor Ben (C) Fletcher, founder of FIT Science, and Professor Karen Pine, Professor of Developmental Psychology. This has culminated in the ‘Do Something Different’ approach to behaviour change. Organisations using the Do Something Different methodology do so confident in the knowledge that the approach is based upon robust, rigorous scientific foundations.
The scientific analysis of the Do Something Different approach includes:
- Research papers
- Peer-reviewed articles
- Doctoral research
What Fletcher & Pine’s science has shown: The science in a nutshell
Professors Fletcher and Pine based the science of Do Something Different on three key findings from their academic research:
- People have different habits, knowledge and personalities. These differences need to shape learning and development. The Do Something Different diagnostic technology takes account of these individual differences and addressed the development needs of each individual.
- Behavioural flexibility is essential for functioning in the world. Helping people behave in new ways helps them to act upon their knowledge and intentions. Knowledge alone is not enough. Science shows that the connection between knowing and doing is weak. The brain is a powerful habit machine which tends to repeat past actions and behaviours. This means a lot of training fails to get applied. Do Something Different works by starting with new behaviours (which in turn change thinking too). When people are more flexible in their behaviours they become more cognitively flexible too.
- To be most effective, learning and development needs to occur in small steps over a period of time and in the everyday situations the behaviours are needed. Do Something Different has been developed with these factors in mind. It is not delivered in a classroom, in role plays, or in abstract. The changes happen in real life.
If you want to know more details about the science behind Do Something Different, the materials and links below show some of this background from an academic perspective.
Collectively Fletcher and Pine’s team have published several books, more than 150 research papers and given over 200 conference presentations on many aspects of human behaviour, behaviour change and wellbeing. They have demonstrated the success of Do Something Different in many areas relevant to personal and organisational outcomes. In addition to the academic papers, they have led many successful doctoral research programmes on different aspects of Do Something Different.
The Brighton-based company Do Something Different Ltd. – which they co-founded with Ray Richards in 2009 – has developed some of the most sophisticated digital technology for behaviour change in the world. This has been used by a wide range of corporate and public organisations to address a wide range of learning, development and wellbeing needs.
The company has won national and international awards for these Do Something Different applications.
The research evidence:
The source book about Do Something Different that outlines the theory and scope of Do Something Different and the measures used is:
Fletcher, B. (C) & Pine, K. J. Flex: Do Something Different, University of Hertfordshire Press: Hatfield, 2012. ISBN 978-1-907396-54-0
This book presents the academic background to the science of the behaviour change techniques developed in Do Something Different. It gives a rationale for the central role of concentrating on ‘doing’ rather than ‘thinking’; the importance of behavioural flexibility; the reasons Do Something Different is more effective than other approaches; and the broad application in personal and organisational development and wellbeing.
Examples of other books by Fletcher & Pine:
Fletcher, B. (C). Work, stress, disease & life expectancy, John Wiley & Sons, 1991. ISBN 0471-919705
Fletcher, B. (C). & Stead, B. (Inner) Fitness & the FIT Corporation, 2000, International Thomson Press: London ISBN 1-86152-644-x
Fletcher, B. (C)., Penman, D., & Pine, K. J. The No Diet Diet: do something different. Orion: London,
2006, isbn 0-75287-400-4. 2nd and updated edition. ISBN 978-0-75288-864-4
Fletcher, B. (C) & Pine, K. J. The Do something different journal, 2009, b-flex publishing, ISBN 978-1-907371-00-4
Pine, K. J. & Fletcher, B. (C). Do something different: Love not smoking; Hay House: London. ISBN 978-1-84850-325-0
Fletcher, B. (C) & Pine, K. J. Lighten up your life, 2009, b-flex publishing, ISBN 978-1 907371-01-1
Fletcher, B. (C) & Pine, K. J. Keeping things ok at home, 2009, b-flex publishing, ISBN 978-1-907371-04-2
Fletcher, B. (C) & Pine, K. J. Finding meaning in your life, 2009, b-flex publishing, ISBN 978-1-907371-03-5
Fletcher, B. (C) & Pine, K. J. & Kupshik, G. A. Mood Control, 2009, b-flex publishing, ISBN 978-1-907371-06-06
Fletcher, B. (C) & Pine, K. J. Getting things done, 2009, b-flex publishing, ISBN 978-1-907371-02-08
Fletcher, B. (C) & Pine, K. J. & Kupshik, G. A. Stress Less, 2009, b-flex publishing, ISBN 978-1-907371-05-9
Examples of peer reviewed academic journal articles
Fletcher & Pine have published extensively in academic journals. A few examples are shown below. In essence, these example publications show that Do Something Different is based on rigorous science and has been applied to some of the most intractable behaviour change problems.
Churchyard, J., Pine, K. J. Sharma, S., & Fletcher, B. (C) (2014). Same traits, different variance: Item-level variation within personality measures. Sage Open, Jan-Mar 2014, 1-11, DOI: 10.1177/2158244014522634
Pine, K. J., & Fletcher, B (C) (2014). Time to shift brain channels to bring about effective changes in health behaviour. Perspectives in Public Health, January 2014, 134: 16-17
M Dannhauser, M. Cleverley, T. J Whitfield, Ben (C) Fletcher, T. Stevens & Z. Walker. A complex multimodal activity intervention ……. pilot and feasibility study for a randomized controlled trial. BMC Psychiatry 2014, 14:129
Fletcher, B.(C), Hanson, J., Page, N. C., & PINE, K.J. (2007). A new behavioural intervention for tackling obesity. European Journal of Nutraceuticals and Functional Foods, 18. 5, pp. 8 – 9.
Fletcher, B. (C), Hanson, J., Page, N., & PINE, K.J. (2011) Increasing behavioural flexibility leads to sustained weight loss. Swiss Journal of Psychology, 70 (1), 2011, 25–34.
Page, N & Page, M. (2014) Climate change: time to Do Something Different. Frontiers in Psychology published: 18 November 2014 doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2014.01294
Churchyard, J., Pine, K. J. Sharma, S., & Fletcher, B. (C) Construction by interpersonal context and relationship to psychological outcomes, Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 2013, 26 (4), 306-315.
Doctoral research into Do Something Different
The theory and predictions of Do Something Different have been examined in rigorous doctoral programmes of academic research:
General Behaviour Change: HANSON J. (2008). FIT Science in psychological and physical wellbeing. PhD thesis, University of Hertfordshire.
Stress: SHARMA, S. (2010). FIT Science for Improving Family Functioning and Parental Stress. PhD thesis, University of Hertfordshire.
Performance/Work Stress: GOODE, K. (2014) A comparison of DSD and other methods to address trainee nurses in dealing with end-of-life care. Ed.D, University of Hertfordshire.
Behavioural Flexibility: CHURCHYARD, J. (2014) Behavioural flexibility, habits and personality. PhD thesis, University of Hertfordshire.
The company is a central partner in a major €5.6m Taiwan Government/EU Horizon 2020 project in cardiac healthcare to bring the benefits of the Do Something Different behaviour change technology to medicine.
The USA Psychology Today
Do Something Different blog
Professor Fletcher was invited to have a blog about Do Something Different on the US Psychology Today website. This blog started in 2012 and includes popular discussion of different aspects of Do Something Different on such topics as:
Is our personality our trap?
The trouble with thinking
The sales personality, an ambivert advantage
The dollar value of your personality
Tackling money habits
The big stress lie
Why we always give up on our resolutions and how we can stop
Do you need more common sense?
What your clothes might be saying about you
A Do a day keeps the doctor away
If you want to improve, change your behaviour
A Do Something Different programme was the focal point of a PWC initiative called ‘Open Minds’, designed to positively influence diversity and inclusion across the firm. It resulted in over 80% of the staff being more inclusive. The project also won a Google award for outstanding use of technology at the European Diversity Awards.
Do Something Different created a staff ‘Agility’ programme to get employees to adopt new ways working and become the very best they could be. The ROI in terms of work days lost and reductions in stress was over 7, and staff found new ways of solving issues and had enhanced confidence.
TUI needed to bridge the knowing-doing gap and get staff to embrace digital technology in their work. A Do Something Different digital leadership programme was designed for selected staff on TUI’s Perspectives Leadership initiative. Over 75% used on-line networks and resources in their work as a result.
Cisco wanted staff to work together more effectively. The Do Something Different programme was designed to build a more inclusive culture and to help people feel more respected and valued. As an example of the excellent results returned, one participant said:
“Do Something Different has changed a lot of my habits and introduced real change to the person I am at work and at home. I would highly recommend it. The program has helped me grow personally and professionally. Thank you.”
Work stress, anxiety and depression
From all the case studies of Do Something Different we have been able to demonstrate how, collectively, Do Something Different has powerful benefits for reducing stress. For example, in White Paper 2 (below) we report on the collated results from many cases and show remarkable reductions in anxiety and depression scores, irrespective of which Do Something Different programme people did. Many people in an organisation will be stressed for all sorts of reasons – Do Something Different helped many of them considerably.
These White Papers are demonstrations and position papers about the importance of Do Something Different in the context of a major organisational or societal need:
Pine, K.J. & Fletcher, B. (C), It Started with a Text: An analysis of the effectiveness of mHealth interventions in changing behaviour and the impact of text messaging on behavioural outcomes. White Paper Number 1, December 2015.
Pine, K. J. & Fletcher, B. (C), Changing people’s habits is associated with reductions in stress, anxiety and depression levels. White Paper Number 2, January 2016
Pine, K. J. & Fletcher, B. (C), Prevention and the Five Year Forward View: Are digital technologies the way forward? White Paper Number 3 published by Do Something Different Ltd., February 2016
Charlton, N., et al. Detailed analysis of the Do Something Different Behaviour Rater and importance of enhancing behavioural flexibility. White Paper Number 4, September 2016
Charlton, N., Pine, K. J. & Fletcher, B. (C) Diversity and inclusiveness, wellbeing and openness to change: the effects of a Do Something Different programme in a global organisation. White Paper Number 5, September 2016
Pine, K. J. & Fletcher, B. (C) A survey of Learning & Development professionals’ views and practices in relation to organizational training outcomes., White Paper Number 6, October 2016
Here are a number of Research Reports outlining studies and outcomes using the Do Something Different methodology:
Most of us only use 1/10 of our personality. 90% is waiting to be unlocked.
On average, people only use 22% of their potential behaviours.
The brain is 2% of our body weight but uses 20% of our energy resources. No wonder we are drawn to habits to conserve brain power.