We believe cultivating partnerships is the key to creating successful shared mobility. With over 70 partners, so much innovation is happening right here in our network! This month on our partner spotlight series we interviewed behaviour change-maker, Natalia Le Gal, for a chat about her company Behava and her experience at this year’s AUTONOMY Mobility World Expo.
We first met Natalia and her company Behava when she applied for our 2023 EmpowerWISM program. We were inspired by her goal for a nicer, greener and more equal world by creating behaviour change through her consulting services.
Keep reading for movmi’s catch up interview with Natalia Le Gal. Learn more about our 2023 EmpowerWISM cohort here.
Natalia Le Gal, Behava & AUTONOMY Mobility World Expo
Tell us a little bit about yourself and background.
I am a behaviour change consultant with a background in sustainable mobility.
After + 8 years promoting fast chargers for electric cars and buses I realised I had enough of machines. Reading the Doughnut Economics Book by Kate Raworth I came across the concept of behaviour change and thought I found my calling. I enrolled in a masters in Behaviour Change at University College London and, just as I thought, it was love at first sight. Trying to understand why people do the things they do has always been my interest – I also have a degree in Anthropology – but now I am equipped with tools to actually help people change. And I apply this knowledge in sustainability contexts.
Given my background in mobility, I want to contribute to get people off individually owned combustion engine cars towards micro and shared mobility, and public transport. Because it’s better for the planet and humans.
What is Behava? What are the types of services you offer?
Behava is a small behaviour change consultancy I created last year. We use behavioural sciences to help companies understand why their users are not adopting a behaviour, a (mobility) service or technology and propose various ways to increase the adoption and help people integrate this new behaviour permanently into their lives, making it a habit.
We use established methods and frameworks from behavioural sciences and ground our suggestions in the reality of users’ experiences – the barriers they face to engage in the behaviour. The idea of this approach is that we need to look at the context within which people do the behaviours, but also their beliefs, motivations, habits, and, finally, the social structures within which they exist.
For example, if we want to get people that use their personal vehicles every day off the personal cars, we need to look beyond their work commute, at other uses – leisure, school drop off, health emergencies, shopping, but also if they have kids or not, etc. We need to look at their beliefs about alternatives and how other people in their community move around. Finally, we need to look at what is available to them – and if they know how to access/ use those services. A lot of insights can be gained by doing a behavioural analysis and this then helps us with designing behavioural interventions that work.
Our suggestions for action can be as simple a signage, but can also be about in-app communication, physical communication campaigns, additional services or even changing the physical infrastructure.
As I am also very interested in system change, we also offer a behavioural system analysis. This is a much more big-picture service, where we look at actors within a system, how they behave and influence each other. The idea behind is that very often, to change the way an individual moves around, we need to change things much more upstream – for example change the behaviour of decision makers.
You attended AUTONOMY Mobility World Expo this year, what were some of the highlights for you?
This year’s AUTONOMY Mobility World Expo was the year of female power for me. I don’t think I have ever been to a (mobility) event where women were this present. They were there as speakers, exhibitors, visitors, and women’s mobility was discussed in various forms and guises, including at the panel organised by EmpowerWISM that I moderated. It seems to me as if the mobility industry is finally waking up to the importance of having women as transport decision makers, designers, and female mobility as a lens.
My second personal highlight was meeting and exchanging with other EmpowerWISM cohort members. The businesses are very diverse, and just learning about them was very enriching. But I also enjoyed a nascent sense of community and understanding with the cohort. I feel there is a lot of value we women can gain when we are brought together and given the opportunity to support each other in industries that are not exactly women-friendly (yet).
We were thrilled that you were part of an all-women panel alongside a few other EmpowerWISM candidates. Can you tell us some of your top learnings from that panel talk?
The panel was one of three female-only panels out of +80 – which is something to shout about.
In terms of learnings – I really enjoyed the discussion we had with the panelists.
Bibi Blomqvist from Cogo made a point about the importance of the mentality shift among users, a kind of personal transformation, and us all learning to share with care for shared mobility to get more rooted into our realities.
Kari Anne Solfjeld Eid from Whee! (and this year’s EmpowerWISM winner) touched on that as well, giving it another twist. She said that rather than trying to tell people how great an e-bike is, we should strive to just get them onto one and by this action, they will be transformed.
Finally, Tu-Tho Thai from Mobility Data argued that data is, yes, crucial, but not an end in and of itself. It is rather a means to achieve our sustainable mobility goals and we need to be mindful of that when dealing with data.
We also briefly mentioned the importance of having women at all stages of transport operations – as decision makers, designers, panellists, running mobility companies.
I was pleased that we had quite a few people attending the panel to hear all this – and that, even though there was a big strike on the French public transport system going on that day!