Overcoming Specific Barriers

What is this Tool?

  • Techniques for identifying and overcoming barriers that are often specific to a particular environmental or health promotion activity.

Why Would You Use It?

  • Barriers are those factors that discourage people from taking an action they would otherwise do. If any environmental/health action is to be widely adopted by the public, common barriers to doing the action must first be removed.
  • Individuals should not be held solely responsible for taking action; networks, organizations and communities must work to remove barriers to make "the right choice the easier choice". This is explicitly recognized in Health Promotion, and also holds true for environmental programs.
Relating this tool to social marketing exchange theory

From the perspective of social marketing exchange theory, desired actions can be made more attractive to consumers by minimizing key barriers. This may involve reducing costs (price), expanding distribution (place), adequately informing consumers (promotion), and /or redefining the actions themselves (product).

When Would You Use It?

  • Before designing your program, identify the specific barriers that might discourage people from taking action. Make arrangements for overcoming these barriers before you start implementing your program, and continue finding additional and more cost-effective ways to do so on an ongoing basis.
  • Provide personalized assistance in overcoming the barriers, if appropriate, once you have interested people in doing the activity.

How Would You Use It?

 
1. Identify the specific barriers that commonly discourage people from doing the desired actions.

Examples

HoMBReS identified a number of key barriers including poor access to relevant information and to health care in general, embarrassment, and negative socio-cultural expectations about what it meant to be a man.

COAST found a number of key barriers to getting tested for Chlamydia including a lack of knowledge about screening sites, a belief that screening is expensive or involves an embarrassing examination, a fear of testing positive and having to tell previous partners, and a concern that others would find out about the test when the results are delivered

Go Boulder identified potential barriers for specific target audiences. For example, they found that one of the key factors discouraging business people from taking the bus was their concern about getting home if they had to work late or were in an emergency situation.

Get in the Loop - Buy Recycled found that far fewer people were actually buying recycled-content products than had been predicted on the basis of purchasing intentions. A telephone survey identified five main barriers that were preventing people from taking action: price, quality, low consumer awareness of product availability, consumer cynicism about environmental claims, and an unwillingness to put much effort into locating the products.

Your Program

Identify potential barriers by using a literature search, focus groups and/or telephone survey.Refer to the step-by-step instructions in Getting Informed. If practical, consider using, or get help in using, multivariate statistical analyses to determine the relative importance of each barrier.

If practical, consider using, or get help in using, multivariate statistical analyses to determine the relative importance of each barrier.

 
2. Consider the barriers identified in Step 1. If you have already filled in how others have addressed these barriers, delete those solutions that are not practical for you. Add in other solutions you think might work well in your case.

Examples

COAST's upstream changes made Chlamydia testing, notification and treatment more attractive. Do-it-yourself testing kits were made available online and from collection points at venues that had high foot traffic of young people. The testing kits included a pictorial step-by-step guide for those who had low literacy skills or whose first language was not English. Results were sent to patients within seven working days via post, email, telephone or text message, whichever they preferred. Those who tested positive were asked to contact the COAST team for free treatment (a course of antibiotics) at a time and place of their choosing. COAST nurses also helped to track down and inform patients' previous sexual partners to encourage them to be tested for Chlamydia.

Guelph 2000 provided free shade trees, helped people to choose the right trees and decide where to plant them, and provided the names of contractors who would plant the trees if the residents preferred not to do it themselves.

Go Boulder decided that it was cost effective and critical to build more bikeways, as well as overpasses and underpasses for bikes and pedestrians, gradually over a number of years. To make their business transit pass more attractive, a Guaranteed Ride Home program was devised.

Get in the Loop - Buy Recycled decided it could have little effect on two of five barriers, price and quality. It focused its efforts on overcoming the remaining three -low awareness, cynicism and lack of effort - using shelf talkers to identify recycled-content products at the point of sale.

Tip: The chart at the end of this section may provide you with some ideas.

Tip: Physical barriers are often the most important to overcome.

Your Program

List the barriers in order of probable impact on your program, with the most critical ones at the top.

Barrier 1:
Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change
How to address it:
Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change

Barrier 2:
Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change
How to address it:
Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change

Barrier 3:
Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change
How to address it:
Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change

Other Barriers:
Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change
How to address them:
Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change

 
3. Based on your research, consider each barrier. Using the drop down boxes provided in the right hand column, indicate a low, medium or high investment requirement.

Examples

Your Program

  Investment
required
Barriers to
Focus on
Barrier 1 Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change
Barrier 2 Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change
Barrier 3 Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change
Other Barriers Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change
 
4. Weigh the importance of each barrier and the expected benefit from overcoming it, against the expected investment.

Examples

Your Program

Weigh the importance of each barrier and the expected benefit from overcoming it, against the expected investment.

 
5. Using the check boxes provided in step 3, select the barriers you will focus on in order to get the greatest benefit from the resources available.

Examples

Your Program

 
6. Once you have found an effective way to overcome each barrier, ask yourself: do you need simply to inform people or will people require demonstrations or personal assistance to move through the barrier?

Examples

A few days before each appointment, North Shore Recycling’s Compost Coaching program phoned the resident to remind her of her appointment and ask a few questions. At this point, if picking up the bin from the depot had been a barrier to composting, the Coach would deliver the free bin directly to the resident’s home.

BIXI made it convenient for even the most casual user to choose cycling as a transportation option. It offered many docking stations throughout the city centre, with excellent connections with major bus and subway train stops, and bikes could be taken and returned from and to any of the docking stations.

BRIDGE used its Radio Diaries campaign to help reduce stigma associated with HIV / AIDS.

Get in the Loop - Buy Recycled was able to increase the purchase of recycled-content products by "simply" informing people - but this required an intensive campaign that included point of purchase reminders - "shelf talkers."

Tip: Click on an image to enlarge it. Click your back button to return to this page.
EarthWorks image
A Get in the Loop shelf talker.

Your Program

For which barriers will informing people be sufficient? For which ones will demonstrations or personal assistance be required?

  Personal Assistance required
  Yes No
Barrier 1 Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change Yes Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change No
Barrier 2 Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change Yes Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change No
Barrier 3 Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change Yes Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change No
Other Barriers Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change Yes Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change No

 
7. Ensure that people are, or will be, predisposed to doing the activity.

Examples

To motivate clients to feed and care for their baby before birth, the Montreal Dietary Dispensary emphasized the idea of a fetus as an individual with real needs ones only the mother was in a position to provide. Women were taught that they were eating to feed their unborn babies, as well as themselves. A developing babys special needs for growth, the "building of a baby", was compared to the "building of a house" requiring the intake of nutrients as building blocks for the child.

In addition to offering the Guaranteed Ride Home program, Go Boulder provided discounts to promote its transit passes for businesses.

Get in the Loop - Buy Recycled identified a willingness to buy recycled if the key barriers could be overcome. In addition, it provided an extensive media and in-store promotion campaign.

The first 40 minutes of the Roach Coach workshops consisted of a slide show, and the last 20 minutes consisted of demonstrations and a question and answer period. The slides were specifically chosen to relate to common motivators and/or to address the potential barriers that had been identified.

Your Program

What do you know about people's receptivity to doing the desired action?

Login to Save Plans for Tools of Change

If it is necessary to increase their receptivity, how will you do this?

Login to Save Plans for Tools of ChangeBuilding Motivation Over Time

Login to Save Plans for Tools of ChangeFinancial Incentives and Disincentives

Login to Save Plans for Tools of ChangeNorm Appeals

Login to Save Plans for Tools of ChangeVivid, Personalized Communication

 
8. Inform, demonstrate and provide personal assistance as required.

Examples

Love to Ride segmented its audience into six groups, by stage of change. The barriers tended to be different at each stage and this drove a different intervention for each group.

Regular listeners of BRIDGE's Tisankhenji radio program formed "Listeners Clubs" where young girls talked about the issues and shared their stories.

HoMBReS ran hands-on workshops, during which participants practiced putting condoms onto plastic dildos.

Resource Alert for Canada and the U.S.A.: Sales-person incentives can encourage these key influencers to help consumers consider more energy-efficient appliances. Canadas EnerGuide for Household Appliances Program, and the US Energy Star Program can help you identify eligible (more energy efficient) appliances. To be effective, this normally needs to be complemented by a program to promote consumer interest and demand.