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Astrid Groenewegen

The Behavioural Design Blog - overview

The Behavioural Design Blog – overview

By All, Behavioural Science Insights

With this Behavioural Design Overview we want to help you to navigate through the Behavioural Design Blog. Our ambition with this blog is to explore how influence works by applying it to interesting real world problems. Most of these blogs appeared in  Behavioural Design Digest, our weekly newsletter. You can subscribe to the Behavioural Design Digest here.

Everything we write is in line with SUE’s mission: ‘To unlock the power of behavioural psychology to help people make better decisions in work, life, and play’. This is the guiding principle behind our Behavioural Design Method© we teach in our Behavioural Design Academy and that we apply in our Behavioural Design Sprints. Curious to find out more about us? Meet us at ‘We are SUE‘ or buy our book ‘The Art of Designing Behaviour‘.

Happy exploring!

 

behavioural design - illustration birdeyes

Essential Reads and Videos

These are blog posts and videos that are essential to our thinking on how to influence minds and shape behaviour.

Behavioural Science Explained

There are concepts and principles in behavioural science that are the foundation of behavioural change. We explain them here.

Customer behaviour

Whether you have clients or customers. Whether you want to attract more clients or want them to buy, click, recommend or return. Behavioural science can help you get the most out of a customer.

Leadership & Team Behaviour

Organisations are collections of human behaviours. These blog posts and videos shed a light on how to leverage behavioural science to achieve operational excellence.

Citizen and Public behaviour

If you want the general public to adopt policies or design behaviours that will creat more welfare or better communities this is the section to keep your eye on.

Personal Behaviour

If you understand key concepts of behavioural science it can help you make better decisions that will improve your life, your work, your happiness and habits. Stay tuned here for self-improvement insights.

Methodology

Behavioural Design is applied behavioural science. It is active and results in tangible insights and interventions. This section will highlight the methodologic part of Behavioural Design.

Applied Behavioural Science

The true value of Behavioural Design is that it is applied behavioural science. In this section you’ll find blog posts on how to unlock the power of behavioural science in practice.

BONUS: free ebook 'How to Convince Someone who Believes the Exact Opposite?'

Especially for you we've created a free eBook 'How to Convince Someone who Believes the Exact Opposite?'. For you to keep at hand, so you can start using our insights whenever you want—it is a little gift from us to you.

Download ebook

Go ahead, it’s completely free of charge!

How do you do. Our name is SUE.

Do you want to learn more?

Suppose you want to learn more about how influence works. In that case, you might want to consider joining our Behavioural Design Academy, our officially accredited educational institution that already trained 2500+ people from 45+ countries in applied Behavioural Design. Or book an in-company training or one-day workshop for your team. In our top-notch training, we teach the Behavioural Design Method© and the Influence Framework©. Two powerful tools to make behavioural change happen in practice.

You can also hire SUE to help you to bring an innovative perspective on your product, service, policy or marketing. In a Behavioural Design Sprint, we help you shape choice and desired behaviours using a mix of behavioural psychology and creativity.

You can download the Behavioural Design Fundamentals Course brochure, contact us here or subscribe to our Behavioural Design Digest. This is our weekly newsletter in which we deconstruct how influence works in work, life and society.

Or maybe, you’re just curious about SUE | Behavioural Design. Here’s where you can read our backstory.

sue behavioural design
SUE | SWAC Tool© Explained

SUE | SWAC Tool© explained

By All, Behavioural Science Insights

Changing behaviour is challenging but certainly not impossible. With the right tools in your Behavioural Design toolbox, you can leverage the power of behavioural science to shape positive behaviours and influence better decisions. This blog post introduces you to the SUE | SWAC Tool©. An easy-to-use tool to develop interventions that will change behaviour predictably. It is part of our SUE | Behavioural Design Method© and the second step after unlocking human insights with our SUE | Influence Framework©. The SWAC Tool© will turn insights into tangible ideas to develop better products, services, policies, campaigns or living environments.

How to design behaviour: Moments that Matter

Behavioural Design is all about creating a context to trigger people to make a decision or take action towards their goals. So, what is needed at this point is knowing what makes up for this context.

The key in creating an influential context is timing: designing for the moments that matter.

When you want to influence choice and shape behaviour you are designing for moments that matter. When is someone most susceptible to change? Or what are the moments we have to make sure someone gets triggered into action? These can be existing moments or moments that we have to create. You will have gained valuable insight into these moments from the Influence Framework©.  But there is another way you have to look at moments that is related to the timeframe needed for behaviour to occur. This has to do with the type of behaviour you are designing for.

It is important to realise that not all behaviour is created equal. Sometimes you need someone to engage in entirely new behaviour (could be going on a sugar-free diet after being diagnosed for diabetics or doing banking online for the first time) and sometimes you need someone to pick up abandoned behaviour they were already familiar with, but somehow stopped doing (could be exercising or going to dentist appointments). Sometimes you need someone to do something once in a one-off behaviour (sign-up for organ donation, apply for university, register online on your website) but often we want someone to engage in the repeat behaviour (showing up at doctor’s appointments on time, not using their phone in traffic, buying multiple products or services from you, making donations). To make things somewhat simpler again, the best starting point is to separate two types of behaviours:

– One-off behaviour (such as registering for organ donation)
– Repeat behaviour (such as a healthy eating habit)

You can imagine if you want someone to only do something once you have less convincing to do and it most probably can be done in a shorter timeframe. On the other hand, routine behaviour takes some more effort and you need to be at someone’s side a bit longer. So, you need to know which one of the two behaviours you are dealing with in the first place.

What about the new and abandoned behaviour then? Well, the fact is, if you want someone to show different behaviour (the whole point of coming up with interventions is causing a behaviour shift) it means he or she has to stop what he or she is doing now. Therefore, you have to consider all desired behaviour as a new behaviour. Even if the behaviour is obvious to someone (such as going to school) or someone knows he/she has to do it (such as paying taxes). But what about the abandoned behaviour then? This is actually a very important notion to consider.

A key in successful Behavioural Design is the acceptance that people will have moments of weakness or forgetfulness and slip into old behaviours again.

So, to get back to routine behaviours just a bit. I know a lot has been written and said about building habits and routines. Some tell you to stick to behaviour for 21 days, others claim that 30 or 90 days are needed to create routine behaviour. I am not sure what is the magic number. The only thing I am sure of (or have experienced myself) is that:

There is a dark side to goals, plans and habits: they are very fragile and therefore you need to be prepared for failure.

Failure seems to hit us time and again. That’s why I love Buster Benson’s ‘Chaos Monkey’ approach to life: don’t ignore the fact that we are vulnerable to having our goals, plans and habits being disrupted by ‘the first rainy day, sick day, vacation day, holiday, grumpy day, low-energy day, or otherwise non-standard day’. The Chaos Monkey comes and disrupts us time and again. If you are designing choice and behaviour, you also have to do this with the Chaos Monkey in mind. People will trip despite their good intentions and slip back into old behaviours. You need to be there at the tripping points, aka (yes you know what’s coming) moments that matter.

Change doesn’t happen overnight for any behaviour.

That’s why you should integrate multiple moments that matter into your intervention strategy. We always like to think about ‘onboarding’ someone. Making sure you stick by someone multiple times, especially in the beginning, and design for those moments that someone will find it hard to show the desired behaviour.

Let me wrap this up by giving you an example about designing an intervention strategy for one of our clients, a national fitness chain. From the membership data, we learned that people continued coming to the gym once they exercised a minimum of two times a week for three months. This is the point that they would actually come to the gym on a regular basis (members have to check in with their membership card at every visit, this is how the data is collected) and renew their memberships. Therefore, we knew we were designing for routine behaviour. We also knew them that the three-month timespan was needed to turn exercising into a habit instead of a strenuous to-do. We looked within that timespan for the moments that matter. Some came from our research. For instance, we found out that making sure you pack your sporting bag the evening before highly correlates with actually going to the gym the next day. But other moments we had to create. The real job of the gym was to keep onboarding people who failed to build up a routine.

You have to design a series of specific, new behaviours for any new behaviour to become a routine.

That’s why we came up with interventions that not only helped someone pack their sporting bag, but we looked into the entire three-month timespan and made sure we designed interventions to help someone make it through successfully. We helped someone book a personal trainer intake, we phoned them after a few weeks, we helped them join classes, we helped them exercise at home, just to name a few. The interesting insight for our client was that they were not in the business of gyms, but they are in the business of building an exercise routine. This opened up a world of different interventions (and new business ideas as a matter of fact).

Want to learn how to shape behaviour and decisions?

Then our two-day Fundamentals Course is the perfect training for you. You will learn the latest insights from behavioural science and we'll teach you how to use tools such as the SWAC Tool© to apply the best of behavioural science in practice right away!

Download the brochure

Go ahead, it’s completely free of charge!

How to design behaviour: SWAC

A lot of very interesting research has been done in the behavioural change field of expertise. And it can get quite complicated. That’s why we simplified it again. Without further ado let’s take a look at the SUE | SWAC Tool©. It is foremost a very easy-to-use tool. It explains which four pieces of the puzzle you need to solve to create a context that will persuade someone into doing something and to have them keep doing it. What makes the tool so easy to use in practice, is that anytime you want to design for behavioural change, all you have to do is ask yourself four simple questions:

When the new behaviour does not happen, at least one of those four elements is missing. The most important implication of this is that by using the SUE | SWAC Tool© as a guide you can quickly identify what stops people from performing the behaviours that you seek.

If a sufficient degree of capability (CAN) to perform a behaviour is matched with the willingness (WANT) to engage in that behaviour, all that is then needed for the behaviour to occur is to set someone into action (SPARK) at the Moments that Matter.

Maybe you notice that in the tool it says moments that matter. Not one moment, but moments. As we learned, behavioural change doesn’t happen overnight. Most of the time someone needs to be reminded of the desired behaviour more than once for it to happen in the first place. Furthermore, behaviour becomes easier when repeated. Therefore, we have to make sure we SPARK someone AGAIN and again to activate the desired behaviour. So, you need to design several interventions at multiple moments that matter. In practice your intervention strategy will look something like this:

The objective of most intervention strategies is not only to change behaviour but to change this new behaviour into a routine behaviour (a habit), so the new behaviour will stick.

Remember, your desired behaviour is new behaviour for people and that’s why it is important to spark behaviour AGAIN and again. Only then the behaviour will take place, as illustrated above as the BEHAVIOURAL CHANGE THRESHOLD. When your objective is to design repeat behaviour, it almost goes without saying that you have to make sure the desired behaviour is performed repeatedly. If you can make someone perform new behaviour over and over AGAIN, it can become automatic.

The result being that someone doesn’t have to think about the new behaviour anymore, he or she simply does it. This way it can become habitual. Illustrated above model as the HABIT THRESHOLD. As Aristotle already stated:

We are what we repeatedly do.

He added ‘Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit’. To sum it up: The more often you do something, the easier it gets. So, there you have it: the four elements you need to change behaviour.

Aristotle quote, ancient Greek philosopher, scientist and physician, 384 BC-322 BC, no original source known.

 

How to design behaviour: Capability

Before we start working with the tool, let’s go back one little bit.  As Behavioural Designers our outset is to design for someone’s system 1.

Our job is to help people make better decisions without them having to think.

This is the foundation of this model. When you look at willingness (WANT) and capability (CAN) there is something very interesting and important going on. We are all so used (and trained) to have the best arguments, deals, offers, rewards or promises to convince someone (or ourselves). Historically, we are all shaped around motivation (WANT). If we need to sell something, we are hardwired to try to create willingness to buy. If a personal resolution fails, our first (conditioned) conclusion is that we must not have wanted it badly enough to keep up the self-discipline.

 

What if I tell you that making sure someone wants something often isn’t the most powerful starting point to change behaviour? Making someone WANTs to perform the desired behaviour is just one side of the medal in getting things done. In fact, it even isn’t the shiniest side of the medal. Here’s why. There is something particular going on with people’s willingness to change; It goes up and down. When relating this to our fundamental know-how on human decision-making this makes perfect sense, as:

Willingness to change requires cognitive action.

It is a system 2 activity like self-control and focus. You cognitively decide you want something. You decide this consciously. I want to lose weight, I want to save money, I want to recycle, I want to spend more time with my kids. We have learned that our system 2 has only limited bandwidth. Therefore, your willingness to change falters, it goes up and down in waves. This is the reason why most new year’s resolutions fail. On January 1st you WANT to lose weight, or you WANT to stop drinking or you WANT to go to the gym. And then comes along your best friend’s birthday. Or you’ve pulled a whole-nighter because that precious offspring of yours refused to sleep. And now you don’t WANT to exercise and not drink anymore. You want to vegetate on the couch (sleep deprivation isn’t a walk in the park) or have a blast (hey your friend only turns 40 once). You feel so deserving (your system 2 post-rationalisation working full speed for you) and so you will start next month. You simply CANnot do it today. Your willingness to change behaviour has dropped like a mic on an empty stage. This is perfectly human, but something we have to take into account when designing for behaviour change. Chaos Monkey Galore!

Luckily, as Behavioural Designer, you have an ace up your sleeve by making behaviour very simple. Our brain LOVES simple. Bonus is that when things are simple, we are able to do things without needing that much willingness. That’s why we always start with thinking about possible CAN interventions. This is designing for system 1. The best behavioural change ideas are in their core capability ideas.

Making something very easy to do is something that requires little or no cognitive action from someone.

Let me illustrate how this can work with a real-life example. Most people WANT to save money, but many of find it hard to do (CAN). You could design saving behaviour without having to really stress the willingness to save too much but by focusing on making saving behaviour easier instead. This is exactly what Bank of America did. Their human insight was that people wanted to save money, but never did especially making regular contributions was very hard. They have introduced a program called ‘Keep the Change’. What it boils down to is that every time a client pays with his or her debit card for daily purchases like buying coffee, going to the dry cleaners and so on, they round up their purchase to the nearest dollar amount and transfer the change from someone’s checking account to their savings account — or to their child’s savings account.

From a JTBD point of view, I find the last brilliant by the way: a lot of parents want to save money to for their children to have a little money in the bank once they go to college or need some extra funds otherwise. So, let’s say you have to pay something of $ 4,60 then $ 0,40 is automatically transferred. You don’t have to think about it, it just has been made very simple for you. The result of this behavioural design intervention has been very impactful. Ever since the program launched in September of 2005, more than 12.3 million customers have enrolled, saving a total of more than 2 billion dollars. Of all new customers, 60% enrol in the program and Bank of America reported that 99% of the people who signed-up with the program have stayed with it.

Would you like to power up your team with Behavioural Design?

If you wish to add behavioural intelligence to your team, be sure to check out our in-company training. Bringing your talent up to speed with the latest in behavioural science and teaching them hands-on methods and tools to apply this in practice right away. Tailormade to your organisation.

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PS. We've trained many teams already! From leadership to project teams.

Designing behaviour: Willingness

But mind you, the behavioural change medal still has two sides. One cannot live without the other. If you WANT to perform a behaviour, but you CAN’T nothing will happen for sure. If you CAN perform the behaviour, but you don’t WANT to, well that’s a tough battle to fight too. So, the best chance for successful outcomes is when capability and willingness are sparked at the same time. There should always be both willingness and capability, but you do not need to always maximise the two. There are two simple guidelines:

  1. When someone’s really WANTS to change, someone CAN perform even hard behaviour
  2. When someone CAN easily perform the behaviour, someone doesn’t have to WANT it so badly

I have a system 1 cue for you to remember these four blocks of behavioural change: To design someone’s behaviour you need to have SWAC. Sounds like swag (which is a bonus), but it stands for this easy to remember formula:

Behavioural Change = Spark * Want * Again * Can

If you want to make somewhat of an impression on someone you can always tell them SWAC stands for sparking willingness again and capability. Whatever works for you, as long as it helps you remember what four elements you need to include in your ideation for lasting behavioural change.

Let’s showcase how this interplay of the four elements works by discussing an example. Think about quitting smoking. If someone doesn’t WANT to stop smoking. You can SPARK them him all you want, but nothing will happen, as quitting smoking is very hard to do (CAN). You could try to boost his or her willingness to quit, but this will only have an effect if you make the quitting as easy as possible for them at the moments, they are most seduced to light up that cigarette (Moment that Matters). The same goes for someone who does WANT to stop smoking. You might not have to work as much on their willingness to quit, but even then, they will have indecisive moments in which they will struggle to keep their back straight to withstand temptation.

Think about that Friday drink when you have that glass of alcohol in hand. Helping someone to quit smoking is a typical example of helping someone change behaviour that CAN be very hard to change. So, you need to make sure you continuously help them by making quitting smoking as easy as possible. You have to make sure you are by their side at those moments of weakness AGAIN and again. Make it easy to resist temptation. For example, vapors/e-cigarettes or nicotine gum can provide an alternative to smoking at the moments that matter. And the longer you can help someone fight the urge to light up that real cigarette by using SWAC, the more that person becomes a non-smoker and passes the habit threshold. That new habit becomes not smoking instead of smoking.

This shows that, by adding repetition to the mix (AGAIN), yes you probably know what is coming, you hardly have to think about the behaviour anymore and it becomes a system 1 activity. Task accomplished! We designed for system 1 and helped people make better decisions without them having to think. Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together?

Working on capability (CAN) is designing for system 1.

Designing behaviour: Behaviour has to be sparked

Let me wrap up with the sparks. A spark is easily put a cue or call to action that drives desired behaviour. Roughly there are three kinds of sparks:

  1. Reminders: you can remind someone of the desired behaviour
  2. Obstructions: you can pause the undesired behaviour
  3. Interruptions: you can interfere with automatic behaviour

Without a spark, someone may WANT and CAN perform the behaviour but there’s simply no call to action.

A very good example of this is that little optic in your car dashboard that shows you how much full you have left. I think none of us WANTS to run out of fuel and we all CAN fill up our gas tank quite easily (on European motorways we have gas stations everywhere). But if we didn’t have the SPARK, that little red light flashing up when it is really time to pull over and fill up your tank, I guess a lot more people would be needing to call road assistance.

 

Summary: Designing behaviour is a matter of having SWAC

When you want to develop interventions that shape decisions and influence behaviour the SUE | SWAC Tool© is a very helpful tool. It brings down designing behaviour to asking the right questions:
  • CAN: can someone perform the behaviour?
  • WANT: does someone want to perform the behaviour?
  • SPARK: is someone set into action at the right moment?
  • AGAIN: more than once?

However, understanding is one thing, making it work is another. We had to design behaviour in practice, we had clients who came to us with real behavioural challenges that needed real answers. So, we wanted (and needed) more. We wanted to know how you can boost willingness to change or how to grow capability using the power of behavioural science. How we do this is the subject of the blog post that will come up the blog soon.

 

Astrid Groenewegen

BONUS: free cheat card 'The SUE | Influence Framework© explained'

Especially for you we've created a free 'SUE | Influence Framework©' cheat card. For you to keep at hand, so you can start using our insights from whenever you want—it is a little gift from us to you.

Download cheat card

Go ahead, it’s completely free of charge!

How do you do. Our name is SUE.

Do you want to learn more?

Suppose you want to learn more about how influence works. In that case, you might want to consider joining our Behavioural Design Academy, our officially accredited educational institution that already trained 2500+ people from 45+ countries in applied Behavioural Design. Or book an in-company training or one-day workshop for your team. In our top-notch training, we teach the Behavioural Design Method© and the Influence Framework©. Two powerful tools to make behavioural change happen in practice.

You can also hire SUE to help you to bring an innovative perspective on your product, service, policy or marketing. In a Behavioural Design Sprint, we help you shape choice and desired behaviours using a mix of behavioural psychology and creativity.

You can download the Behavioural Design Fundamentals Course brochure, contact us here or subscribe to our Behavioural Design Digest. This is our weekly newsletter in which we deconstruct how influence works in work, life and society.

Or maybe, you’re just curious about SUE | Behavioural Design. Here’s where you can read our backstory.

sue behavioural design

1,5 Minutes on Influence: An Overview of our Newsletters

By 1.5 minutes on influence, newsletter

1,5 Minutes on Influence: An Overview of our Weekly Newsletter

Happy 1,5 Minutes on Influence!

Here is an overview of our weekly 1,5 Minutes on Influence newsletter. Every Thursday, we share 1,5 minutes of insights to explore compelling questions and uncover strategies to positively impact decision-making by applying Behavioural Design.

Astrid

Thanks for reading. You can get more actionable ideas in our popular email newsletter ‘1,5 Minutes on Influence’. Every Thursday, we share 1,5 minutes of insights to explore compelling questions and uncover strategies to positively impact decision-making by applying Behavioural Design. Enter your email 👇 and join over 15.000 other forward-thinking professionals.

1.5 Minutes on Influence: Boost Personal Happiness and Perfect Your Pricing

By 1.5 minutes on influence, newsletter

1.5 Minutes on Influence: How To Boost Your Happiness and Perfect Your Pricing

Happy 1,5 Minutes on Influence!

Here is your weekly dose of applying the psychology of influence
to positively impact choices and behaviours.

Looking forward to sharing insights with you!

Warm regards,

Astrid

1 MINUTE:
INSIGHT OF THE WEEK

For a few years now, I’ve been fascinated by the idea that behavioural psychology might hold the key to something most of us crave: more happiness.

Although, I have to admit I recently came across a rather disheartening quote:Trying to be happier is as futile as trying to be taller.”

But I chose to ignore that and dig a bit deeper into what science has to say on the matter. I found some interesting insights that I’d like to share with you today.

After doing my research, I actually think the quote is partly right, but it’s because of the word “be.” You can’t just suddenly “be” happy. It’s like when you’re about to give an important presentation, feeling terribly nervous, and someone tells you, “Just don’t be nervous.” If only life were that simple!

So, are we lost in our endless search for happiness? Because let’s face it, we are looking for it. I typed “happiness” into the book section of Amazon.com and found over 60,000 self-help books on the topic.

The answer is no, we’re not lost. We just have to do more than read a book and wish for happiness.

We need to engage in behaviours that boost our baseline happiness. To understand which behaviours might help, I found some valuable research.

A quick disclaimer: I don’t claim to have all the answers on how to increase your happiness. There’s no one-size-fits-all-in-every-situation solution. But I do believe in experimenting with what research suggests to see what works for me (or not).

One behaviour I’ve been practising lately that has really boosted my mood is savouring.

What is savouring?

In behavioural psychology, savouring means intentionally making good experiences last longer and feel more intense. It involves paying close attention to and enjoying the present moment or a happy memory to fully feel joy, contentment, or satisfaction.

To make it practical, try to really savour an experience, memory, or something you’re seeing or hearing every day. For instance, I like to closely examine all the details in architecture or something in nature. Spend some time on it, at least five minutes. Let it really sink in. Try doing this for a week or two and see how it affects your mood.

Give it a go, and you might find that it makes a difference in how you feel.

Are you a forward-thinker?

We have translated the most groundbreaking insights from the psychology of influence into practical methods and tools. We teach these in our two-day Behavioural Design Fundamentals Course. You can download the brochure here NL and UK. The training is available in both Dutch and English, and can be tailored for teams. But it is especially suited for forward-thinkers.

0,5 MINUTE:
NOT TO BE MISSED THIS WEEK

If The Price Is Right..

In this week’s 0.5 minute, I want to talk about pricing. As you can imagine, pricing can be a powerful driver for sustainable growth without needing to change your product or service.

The key insight for optimising your pricing is understanding your customers’ willingness to pay. There are many ways to conduct a pricing study, but I came across the Van Westendorp method, which I love for its simplicity. It involves asking your potential customers four questions:

  1. At what price would you start to question this product’s quality because it’s too low?
  2. At what price does this product seem like a bargain?
  3. At what price does this product feel expensive but not too expensive?
  4. At what price is this product too expensive?

One criticism of this method is that it suffers from hypothetical bias. This means people might say they’ll do something in a survey, but in real life, they might not actually do it. Simply put, when you ask these questions, potential buyers don’t have anything at stake—they don’t actually have to spend money on your product.

However, considering that over 50% of companies have never even done one pricing study, this represents a significant growth opportunity that many are missing out on. And as you know: In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king.

 

Until next week,
Astrid Groenewegen

Want to share this week’s newsletter on your website, via social media or email? Just copy and paste this link: https://suebehaviouraldesign.com/happiness-and-pricing/

Thanks for reading. You can get more actionable ideas in our popular email newsletter ‘1,5 Minutes on Influence’. Every Thursday, we share 1,5 minutes of insights to explore compelling questions and uncover strategies to positively impact decision-making by applying Behavioural Design. Enter your email 👇 and join over 15.000 other forward-thinking professionals.

1.5 Minutes on Influence: Beat Procrastination and Avoid Manipulation

By 1.5 minutes on influence, newsletter

1.5 Minutes on Influence: How To Beat Procrastination and Avoid Manipulation

Happy 1,5 Minutes on Influence!

Here is your weekly dose of applying the psychology of influence
to positively impact choices and behaviours.

Looking forward to sharing insights with you!

Warm regards,

Astrid

1 MINUTE:
INSIGHT OF THE WEEK

This week, I’m working on creating the SUE Behavioural Design Academy’s self-paced courses (news flash!). However, as you might know or have experienced yourself, many online courses are started but not finished, or they’re completed but not applied. It’s a matter of professional pride for me to ensure they are infused with Behavioural Design to prevent this.

One of the main reasons we start things and don’t finish them is procrastination. Procrastination doesn’t just happen when taking a course; it pops up in all behaviours that require action and dedication. I thought it might be useful to share some insights from behavioural science to help you beat procrastination.

I remember my uncle had a little sign on his wall saying, ‘Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow‘. As a child, this baffled me. But as an adult, I sometimes couldn’t agree more. This is what procrastination is all about — our human tendency to delay taking action.

Before I offer some practical tips, let me start by saying that putting things off is a well-known and common human tendency.

One explanation in behavioural science is called present bias, which means we prefer immediate rewards over future benefits. So, going out with friends right now seems more appealing than flaunting a course certificate in a few weeks, or saving for your pension, losing weight, investing in sustainability, etc.

Another reason is that we simply forget. It sounds trivial, but it’s true. So, if you want to design behaviour, you need to take humans as your starting point — humans who have work, a private life, and probably many to-dos already. And because of that, humans need help staying on track.

So, what tips does the psychology of influence offer to beat procrastination?

1.     Create a Commitment Device
If you commit to something in writing or publicly, you’re much more likely to follow through. Your brain loves consistency, and if you commit, it feels logical to continue. This helps resist temptation.

A Behavioural Intervention: Tell someone what you plan to achieve, and make the behaviour you commit to very specific. Even better, have that same person hold you accountable. If you don’t have that special person, just write down your commitment for yourself.

2.     Set Deadlines
As common as they may seem, deadlines work primarily because they create a sense of urgency. They also help us plan and organise our time better by providing clear landmarks. Did you know that we often underestimate the time required to complete tasks? Deadlines force us to plan more realistically and allocate sufficient time to meet our goals.

A Behavioural Intervention: Set weekly deadlines for yourself. Even better, put something at stake if you don’t meet your deadline. We dislike losing a lot and go to lengths to avoid it (loss aversion), which again helps you commit to the behaviour.

3.    Activate Reminders
When I was writing my book ‘The Art of Designing Behaviour,’ I hoped to find a behavioural intervention that was both extremely powerful and somewhat undiscovered, like discovering a new species of bird deep in the Amazon. I didn’t find an exotic new intervention, but I did discover something well-known yet incredibly powerful: the reminder! Often, we want to do something but simply forget. Life happens.

A Behavioural Intervention: It helps to put weekly reminders in your schedule to perform the behaviour you committed to. In fact, do it now. There’s no time like the present.

I hope this has been helpful. Please let me know if you’d like more insights and tips on how to complete what you start. Based on your feedback, I’ll cover these topics in one of my upcoming newsletters.

Are you a forward-thinker?

We have translated the most groundbreaking insights from the psychology of influence into practical methods and tools. We teach these in our two-day Behavioural Design Fundamentals Course. You can download the brochure here NL and UK. The training is available in both Dutch and English, and can be tailored for teams. But it is especially suited for forward-thinkers.

Want to read my book in Dutch? It is called ‘De Kunst van Gedrag Ontwerpen’ and can be ordered here.

0,5 MINUTE:
NOT TO BE MISSED THIS WEEK

My Most Frequently Asked Question: Are You In The Manipulation Business?

Rightfully, many people ask me whether Behavioural Design is about positive influence or manipulation.

For me, it all comes down to the intent behind its use. If you’re using the power of behavioural science solely for your own benefit, then it’s manipulation. But if you use it to help people make better decisions that improve their private lives, work lives, or environments, then to me, that’s positive influence.

And here’s the thing—a small epiphany I had. I realized that many behaviours that are good for us are actually quite challenging. Saving money, eating healthily, filling in forms, arranging a mortgage, getting fit—all these tasks can be difficult to start and continue. So, when behaviour is easy, you often don’t need Behavioural Design. But it can be of great value when things are tough for people.

This has become an important criterion for me: assessing whether people need help making better decisions or engaging in positive behaviours. If not, there’s maybe no need to apply Behavioural Design. However, where there is a genuine need to start and support positive actions, that’s when Behavioural Design truly shows its worth.

At SUE, we place great importance on Behavioural Design Ethics. Sometimes, determining what is better or more positive isn’t as straightforward as we might wish. The key is to ask the right questions at the right time. That’s why we’ve developed a Behavioural Ethics Toolkit. It’s designed to help you evaluate at every stage of a project whether your interventions are having a positive impact and who benefits (or who is harmed from them). It’s not perfect yet, but we’ll keep optimising it as we reflect and learn. The toolkit is available for everyone to download free of charge. You can access it here.

Until next week,
Astrid Groenewegen

Want to share this week’s newsletter on your website, via social media or email? Just copy and paste this link:https://suebehaviouraldesign.com/procrastination-and-manipulation/

Thanks for reading. You can get more actionable ideas in our popular email newsletter ‘1,5 Minutes on Influence’. Every Thursday, we share 1,5 minutes of insights to explore compelling questions and uncover strategies to positively impact decision-making by applying Behavioural Design. Enter your email 👇 and join over 15.000 other forward-thinking professionals.

1.5 Minutes on Influence: Identity Framing and Selling Anything

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1.5 Minutes on Influence: Unleash the Power of Identity Framing and Selling Just About Anything,

Happy 1,5 Minutes on Influence!

Here is your weekly dose of applying the psychology of influence
to positively impact choices and behaviours.

Looking forward to sharing insights with you!

Warm regards,

Astrid

1 MINUTE:
INSIGHT OF THE WEEK

Where I live in Amsterdam, the whole city is full of announcements urging everyone to vote in the European elections in June. Encouraging people to vote is a desired behaviour that has been deeply studied in behavioural psychology. This research has led to a fascinating insight that I want to share with you today, as it can be valuable beyond just voting, helping you in leadership, sales, or getting people to engage in other positive behaviours.

It’s all about the power of identity framing to shape desired behaviours, perceptions and preferences.

In my book “The Art of Designing Behaviour,” I describe a fascinating example involving American voters and the power of identity framing to influence behaviour. Researchers aimed to increase voter turnout among individuals with a low to moderate likelihood of voting. They sent out “get-out-the-vote” letters. Instead of mentioning an action (“Go out and vote”), the letters emphasized the recipient’s identity, with a message that read: “You are a voter.”

This had a significant impact on voter turnout. The intervention using the message “you are a voter” increased voter turnout by approximately 15% among those who received the message compared to those who did not.

Important to know is that we humans crave consistency in our identities.

What we are feels more permanent than what we do. Just compare these: Do you love bread or are you a bread lover? Do you innovate or are you an innovator?

Using identity framing can help acknowledge and reinforce someone’s past behaviour which in turn can encourage them to act consistently with that identity in the future.

This means that the way we label people can impact their behaviour.

But there’s more.

Identity framing also influences the preference of others and how we see ourselves. In a study, participants judged people based on statements like “Susan eats a lot of chocolate” (using action verbs) versus “Susan is a chocolate-eater” (describing their identity using nouns).

When someone was described with identity framing, participants saw them as stronger, more stable, and more resilient.

A positive secondary effect of using identity framing is that it activates social proof and a sense of belonging. If you vote, you might be on your own. If you are a voter, it feels like you belong to a group of like-minded people. Behavioural research has proven time and again that people prefer to follow the actions of others.

How can you use this yourself?

When you use words, remember not just to mention desired actions but also to use identities by employing nouns. Not “Go out and vote,” but “Be a voter.” If you want to sell a course, don’t sell “A course on leadership” but “A course for leaders”.

By the way, if you ever have to give someone feedback, identity framing can also help you convey tough messages. Instead of saying, “I have to let people go (action) to provide a stable workplace,” say, “It is my role as a leader (identity) to ensure everyone is ensured a stable workplace, and sometimes that means having to let people go.” Feel the difference?

Using identity framing thoughtfully can significantly influence behaviour, perceptions and preferences.

Are you a forward-thinker?

We have translated the most groundbreaking insights from the psychology of influence into practical methods and tools. We teach these in our two-day Behavioural Design Fundamentals Course. You can download the brochure here NL and UK. The training is available in both Dutch and English, and can be tailored for teams. But it is especially suited for forward-thinkers.

Want to read my book in Dutch? It is called ‘De Kunst van Gedrag Ontwerpen’ and can be ordered here.

0,5 MINUTE:
NOT TO BE MISSED THIS WEEK

How to Sell a Copy Machine (or Anything Else)

Have you ever seen the series “Better Call Saul”? Sometimes it has brilliant nuggets of wisdom. Like this scene in which Saul tries to sell a copy machine. It is a true masterclass in pitching. Here’s why 👇

  1. He’s not selling the copy machine; instead, he’s pitching the Job-to-be-Done: the way a high-performance copy machine is critical to the success of the company.
  2. He’s selling the pain by painting a vivid picture of what it means to own a copy machine that doesn’t work.
  3. He’s introducing a sense of urgency: You will lose out on an opportunity if you don’t hire me on the spot.

This is a masterclass in pitching. Enjoy this 3.26-minute scene:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FaJToC27bcg

Want to share this week’s newsletter on your website, via social media or email? Just copy and paste this link:https://suebehaviouraldesign.com/identity-framing-selling-anything/

Until next week,

Astrid Groenewegen

Thanks for reading. You can get more actionable ideas in our popular email newsletter ‘1,5 Minutes on Influence’. Every Thursday, we share 1,5 minutes of insights to explore compelling questions and uncover strategies to positively impact decision-making by applying Behavioural Design. Enter your email 👇 and join over 15.000 other forward-thinking professionals.

1.5 Minutes on Influence: Kicking Negative Habits and Getting Things Done

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1.5 Minutes on Influence: What We Can Learn from TikTok to Kick Negative Habits and Getting Things Done,

Happy 1,5 Minutes on Influence!

Here is your weekly dose of applying the psychology of influence
to positively impact choices and behaviours.

Looking forward to sharing insights with you!

Warm regards,

Astrid

1 MINUTE:
INSIGHT OF THE WEEK

I  have to confess that I was a bit hesitant to write about this topic. This one-minute insight is about excessive use of mobile phones. I try to live life with a non-judgmental mindset, and I find it somewhat patronizing to have an opinion on how people spend their time.

After all, who am I to judge?

But then I came across a study that made me decide to write about this after all: it turned out to be not just a problem I noticed, but one that users experience themselves.

Even more importantly, it  led me to a more profound insight that goes beyond phone use, which I think could be of value to you.

Let’s start with the study. It revealed that a staggering 60% of Instagram users wish Instagram had never been invented, and 57% of TikTok users feel the same about TikTok. These aren’t just any opinions; these are from actual users, of whom there are currently 3.5 billion! So, we do have a massive problem on our hands.

What’s happening here from a behavioural psychology perspective?

The answer lies in the social norm. If all your friends are on these platforms, liking, sharing, tagging, and discovering, and you are not, you are in the out-group. And if there’s one thing we humans dislike, it is being left out. It’s hardwired in our brains that our survival rates are higher in groups. So, we tend to do what others are doing, even if it means holding each other trapped against our will.

And from this comes an important insight. Often, behavioural interventions are directed at the individual, but more and more of today’s challenges call for collective interventions. Only then can we counteract the powerful force of social belonging.

In Behavioural Design, we either make the desired behaviour easier, or the undesired behaviour harder. In another article I read, it mentioned the latter as a collective intervention: schools taking away phones from kids or using special phone sleeves that block all digital connections.

The result? Yes, some kids were not happy initially. But it was a collective intervention, and after a week or two, the kids themselves claimed to feel relieved. And some very positive new behaviours arose: kids started talking to each other more, playing together again, and cyberbullying decreased.

But what we can take away from this, beyond phone usage, is that we need to recognize that many of today’s challenges are deeply social and need solutions that involve everyone. Many attempts to solve these challenges fail because we often view them only from an individual perspective.

If you’ve ever tried deleting a social media app and found yourself back at it again after a few weeks, I hope you can now see that this was because it was an individual intervention. Your unconscious brain is longing for belonging.

Instead of focusing on personal solutions, we should therefore begin to see more issues as collective problems that require collective answers. In summary, this is a plea for giving more attention to system interventions.

Understanding the psychological barriers that keep groups stuck in certain behaviours might be the key to changing behaviours on a larger scale. Not just because we want to, but because people themselves are asking for change.

 

Did You Know

We have translated the most groundbreaking insights from the psychology of influence into practical methods and tools. We teach these in our two-day Behavioural Design Fundamentals Course. You can download the brochure here NL and UK. The training is available in both Dutch and English, and can be tailored for teams.

0,5 MINUTE:
NOT TO BE MISSED THIS WEEK

Prioritsation beats efficiency

Have you ever heard of the smaller task trap? Even if you haven’t, you probably have experienced it. When faced with multiple tasks, we tend to start with the easier one first. It sounds logical and maybe even motivating to get a first task out of the way, but we as humans are easily distracted and procrastination leads to cancellation. Hence, the trap.

Other research has revealed that if you ask people to do a large number of tasks, they tend to do less than when chunking the tasks.

So, what can we learn from this? One very effective way to get things done is to prioritize rather than simply trying to be more efficient. Each day, select three tasks that you aim to complete.

A commonly used strategy for selecting your priorities is the value/effort matrix. Tasks that are high value and low effort can be quick wins, while high value, high effort tasks can deliver significant strategic value. As for low value tasks, you can likely ignore them for now. This approach keeps your workload manageable, helps you focus, and prevents you from getting stuck in the smaller task trap.

 

 

Want to share this week’s newsletter on your website, on social media or email? Just copy and paste this link:  https://suebehaviouraldesign.com/breaking-habits-get-things-done/

Until next week,

Astrid Groenewegen

Thanks for reading. You can get more actionable ideas in our popular email newsletter ‘1,5 Minutes on Influence’. Every Thursday, we share 1,5 minutes of insights to explore compelling questions and uncover strategies to positively impact decision-making by applying Behavioural Design. Enter your email 👇 and join over 15.000 other forward-thinking professionals.

1.5 Minutes on Influence: How to Design Sticky Behaviour and Rethinking Value

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1.5 Minutes on Influence: The Key to Lasting Behaviour Change and Rethinking Value

Happy 1,5 Minutes on Influence!

Here is your weekly dose of applying the psychology of influence
to positively impact choices and behaviours.

Looking forward to sharing insights with you!

Warm regards,

Astrid

1 MINUTE:
INSIGHT OF THE WEEK

As some of you know from last week’s newsletter, I’m on holiday, and it made me remember an insight I wanted to share about maintaining desired behaviours. I’ll illustrate this with a challenge we worked on for diabetic patients.

Let me begin by stating that not all behaviours are the same. Broadly speaking, we can distinguish between two types: one-off behaviours, like signing up for a pension plan, and continuous behaviours, like taking medication or exercising.

That second type of behaviour can be particularly challenging. We often intend to maintain certain behaviours but struggle to follow through. This isn’t because we’re weak; it’s because we’re human, and life gets in the way. No one wants to be unhealthy, face financial problems, live in a polluted environment, be glued to their phone, or worry endlessly about the future. But sometimes, we simply don’t or can’t take the steps needed to prevent this.

Returning to the work for diabetic patients, it highlighted one of the most crucial aspects for successful and lasting behavioural change: Moments.

Moments might seem trivial, but there’s more to them than meets the eye. It’s about recognising the difference between a customer journey and a human journey.

You probably know that diabetic patients must follow a strict diet to keep their insulin levels stable. However, this doesn’t always go as planned. From a customer journey perspective, a doctor is a vital touchpoint for providing patients with guidance on what to do and what to avoid. However, our client indicated that health care professionals were very frustrated that patients didn’t always follow up on this advice.

We mapped out the human journey and discovered a critical moment when patients often break their routines: the holidays. Like everyone else, diabetic patients want to enjoy their time off and life’s pleasures without worry. Understandably, this is when sticking to their diet becomes the hardest.

In moments like these, they don’t need their doctor’s information; they need support, particularly from others facing the same challenges. That’s why we created a community for diabetic patients, enabling them to connect with other patients during their holidays and help each other through those difficult times.

The key insight I want to share with you is that by adopting a human journey perspective and stepping into the person’s shoes, rather than focusing solely on your product or service, you’ll uncover new moments that reveal genuine human needs. This will help you develop more relevant solutions.

This leads to the second insight I’d like to share. We often focus on positive moments for people. However, the real key to helping people maintain their behaviour is to support them when times get tough.

These are the crucial “Moments that Matter”—the moments when life gets in the way, and someone struggles to hold on. That’s when you can truly make a difference.

In conclusion, there’s a difference between a customer journey and a human journey. The customer journey maps out all the touchpoints users have with a product or service, while the human journey encompasses all the moments when a person—a human navigating life’s challenges—consciously or unconsciously decides to act or not. It also includes when they struggle to maintain their behaviour, even if they wish to.

By considering human journeys and Moments that Matter, you can connect more deeply with your target audience. Moreover, this approach opens up a world of opportunities to develop solutions and innovations that are genuinely customer-centric.

 

Interested in understanding the psychological forces that drive behaviour and discovering a method for creating behavioural interventions that lead to better decisions and desired behaviours? Join our two-day Fundamentals Course! You can download the brochure here NL and UK. The training is available in both Dutch and English, and can be tailored for individuals or teams.

0,5 MINUTE:
NOT TO BE MISSED THIS WEEK

Rethinking Value

I came across this experiment by  that illustrates how rethinking value can yield surprising results. She divided her class into groups and issued a challenge:

Each group was given $5 and 2 hours to make the highest return on the money.

At the end, they had to give a short presentation on their strategy. The winning group thought differently and achieved an unexpected outcome.

They made three key observations:

  1. The $5 was a distraction.
  2. Two hours wasn’t enough time to generate a significant return with a small business.
  3. The most valuable “asset” was actually the presentation time in front of a class of Stanford students.

Recognising the value of this hidden asset, they offered the presentation time to companies seeking to recruit Stanford students. They sold the slot for $650, a substantial return on the initial $5.

 

Want to share this week’s newsletter on your website, on social media or email? Just copy and paste this link: https://suebehaviouraldesign.com/sticky-behaviour-rethinking-value/

Until next week,

Astrid Groenewegen

Thanks for reading. You can get more actionable ideas in our popular email newsletter ‘1,5 Minutes on Influence’. Every Thursday, we share 1,5 minutes of insights to explore compelling questions and uncover strategies to positively impact decision-making by applying Behavioural Design. Enter your email 👇 and join over 15.000 other forward-thinking professionals.

1.5 Minutes on Influence: Effect of Heat on Behaviour and Why Skills Are Sometimes Overrated

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1.5 Minutes on Influence: The Effect of Heat on Behaviour and Why Skills Are Sometimes Overrated

Happy 1,5 Minutes on Influence!

Here is your weekly dose of applying the psychology of influence
to positively impact choices and behaviours.

Looking forward to sharing insights with you!

Warm regards,

Astrid

1 MINUTE:
INSIGHT OF THE WEEK

I’m writing this in southern Vietnam, where it’s a sweltering 34°C (93.2°F). I can’t complain, but it’s made me think about how heat affects our decision-making and behaviour. Truth be told, I feel like my brain is operating in slow motion. But what does science have to say about this?

Is there a link between heat and behaviour?

If you’ve ever snapped at someone during a heatwave or felt more irritable, you’re not alone. Heat does indeed affect our behaviour. I’ve found research that describes the “heat hypothesis”. The studies reveal that heat can intensify anger, aggression, and even lead to violence., which explains why crime peaks in summer.

In other words, when the heat is on, we tend to act more heated ourselves. Not only do we snap as people, but we also make snap judgments and decisions.

This could be why “overheated” discussions don’t have a positive reputation.

So, what can we do?

The most logical answer is to try and stay cool. And secondly. It helps to do some self-observation Be more attentive to your mental boiling point. If you start to notice yourself becoming more irritable, it’s time to cool down. You know the saying: “If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.”

Thirdly, anger management is key. If you feel anger rising, try to refocus your attention on something positive. Behavioural science has taught us that where our focus is, our attention goes, along with the feelings that follow.

Lastly, behaviour doesn’t occur in isolation; it’s influenced by our surroundings. It’s important to understand what triggers your anger most and avoid those situations. For example, I can’t tolerate people who eat noisily, so I consciously steer clear of them.

I leave you with a question. As the planet warms, ACs may put too much strain on the energy grid, and people may become more irritable during the heat. Perhaps we need innovative ideas to keep our heads cool in the future.

The cold turns out to be fuel for innovation.

And positive side-effect? We don’t need to complain about cold weather anymore—how is that for a positive spin!

I’m going for a dip in the pool now. I’ll send you some moderate warmth from here!

Further reading:

Temperature and aggression: ubiquitous effects of heat on occurrence of human violence. Psychological Bulletin.
Homicide in São Paulo, Brazil: Assessing spatial-temporal and weather variations. Journal of Environmental Psychology.
Temperature and mental health: Evidence from the spectrum of mental health outcomes. Journal of Health Economics.

Interested in understanding the psychological forces that drive behaviour and discovering a method for creating behavioural interventions that lead to better decisions and desired behaviours? Join our two-day Fundamentals Course! You can download the brochure here NL and UK. The training is available in both Dutch and English, and can be tailored for individuals or teams.

0,5 MINUTE:
NOT TO BE MISSED THIS WEEK

Why Skills Are Sometimes Overrated

I listened to a fascinating podcast that touched upon the difference between skills and behaviour, which is especially insightful if you’re in a leadership role. The author argued that we tend to give more leeway to performance, but not to behaviour, as

Behaviour is a choice, not a skill.

As a new leader, everyone is watching not just what you do, but what you don’t do. If you fail to address issues that everyone else can see, your leadership reputation is already in jeopardy, as people might perceive you as oblivious, indecisive, or overly tolerant of poor behaviour.

This perspective is interesting in three ways. First, we might want to reconsider placing such heavy emphasis on skill assessment in hiring. Performance-based interview techniques that focus on past behaviour have long been used in the military, where people’s actions can have life-or-death consequences. However, we could all benefit from this approach to improve our hiring decisions.

Second, this insight isn’t just useful for leaders; it’s relevant for anyone within an organisation. In practice, people judge you by your actions, not by your CV.

And finally, on an organisational level, this is a vital insight as so much time and effort goes into building thriving company cultures, but ultimately, I believe a company’s culture is the sum of the behaviours of its people, particularly those when no one is watching.

Food for thought and more Behavioural Design!

 

 

Want to share this week’s newsletter on your website, on social media or email? Just copy and paste this link: https://suebehaviouraldesign.com/heat-and-skills-vs-behaviour/

Until next week,

Astrid Groenewegen

Thanks for reading. You can get more actionable ideas in our popular email newsletter ‘1,5 Minutes on Influence’. Every Thursday, we share 1,5 minutes of insights to explore compelling questions and uncover strategies to positively impact decision-making by applying Behavioural Design. Enter your email 👇 and join over 15.000 other forward-thinking professionals.

1.5 Minutes on Influence: Boosting Your Professional Impact and Getting Kids to Eat Veggies

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1.5 Minutes on Influence: Boosting Your Professional Impact and Getting Kids to Eat Veggies

Happy 1,5 Minutes on Influence!

Here is your weekly dose of applying the psychology of influence
to positively impact choices and behaviours.

Looking forward to sharing insights with you!

Warm regards,

Astrid

1 MINUTE:
INSIGHT OF THE WEEK

Last week, I found a large dent in the driver’s side door of my car. I hadn’t even been in the car, so I can assure you it wasn’t my doing. I consider myself a decent driver, until I came across a study that made me question that self-assessment.

It talked about drivers’ perceptions of their own abilities. The study revealed some amusing yet insightful contrasts: when asked how many people are good drivers, participants said only 5%. Yet, when rating themselves, 50% believed they were good drivers. This phenomenon is known as overconfidence bias, where we tend to overrate our own abilities in completing tasks.

We as humans all have some hard-wired beliefs that affect our perceptions, evaluations, and judgments. This brings me to an important point I want to discuss.

Lately, I think we’ve been overly focused on behaviour.

This might sound odd coming from someone who founded SUE Behavioural Design, but it’s a crucial insight. Groundbreaking work in behavioural sciences, like that recognized by the Nobel Prize, were not predominantly on behaviour but gave us insights on how we as humans come to decisions. And yes, the outcome of these decisions can absolutely be behaviour.

But it could also very well be that the outcome is that we decide to change our minds, shift our beliefs, or see things in a new light. Which is also a very important outcome, vital for buy-in, cooperation, or maintaining good reputations.

Sometimes, understanding the root of someone’s strong beliefs is more important than trying to change their behaviour. If they have entrenched beliefs, introducing new behaviours might be futile.

By grasping how decisions are made, we can see why people sometimes make illogical choices. This not only helps explain why your partner insists they are a great driver (when you know the truth might be different), but also addresses larger issues, like why people fail to save for retirement, exercise, or recycle.

For example, optimism bias leads us to underestimate the likelihood of negative outcomes and overestimate positive ones. Believing that the future will be better can deter immediate action. Most solutions don’t consider this bias, but if we do, we can design interventions to help people overcome it.

I am a firm believer that insight into decision-making is the most critical wisdom that behavioural sciences can offer.

The ability to understand and influence decisions is key to success for every professional, not just for behavioural experts or behaviour units.

Recognizing and harnessing this skill will add a missing layer to your expertise and make you a more impactful professional as you gain better control over outcomes.

 PS. I really didn’t dent the car, Scout’s honor!

 

Further reading:

Study on driver’s overconfidence
Optimism Bias

 

We offer two one-day team workshops, available in both English and Dutch, that focus on understanding biases affecting decision-making and exploring strategies to counteract them. One workshop, ‘Biases in Marketing,’ delves into marketing-specific biases. The other, ‘13 Biases in the Boardroom,’ addresses biases encountered in executive settings. Contact us (NL or EN) if you would like some more information or book the workshop(s).

0,5 MINUTE:
NOT TO BE MISSED THIS WEEK

Do you have kids and have you ever heard yourself say, ‘If you don’t eat your vegetables, you don’t get dessert‘?

Well, did you know there’s a more effective way to get your kids to eat fruit and vegetables? German researchers have found that extending family meals by approximately 10 minutes can help. When families spent more time at the table, children took seven additional bites of fruits and vegetables.

So, perhaps the key to healthier eating habits for children is about spending more quality time together at meals. Next time, consider lingering a little longer at the dinner table; it might just make a world of difference for your child’s diet.

 

Want to share this week’s newsletter on your website, on social media or email? Just copy and paste this link: https://suebehaviouraldesign.com/professional-impact-kids-veggies/

Until next week,

Astrid Groenewegen

Thanks for reading. You can get more actionable ideas in our popular email newsletter ‘1,5 Minutes on Influence’. Every Thursday, we share 1,5 minutes of insights to explore compelling questions and uncover strategies to positively impact decision-making by applying Behavioural Design. Enter your email 👇 and join over 15.000 other forward-thinking professionals.