Behavioural Design Digest
April 16th, 2020

Dear reader, 

I have been hesitant for the previous two weeks to write this newsletter. I felt a bit overwhelmed by all the pointless opinions, non-news and all this searching for deeper meaning about how the crisis is going to alter our lives. So much noise, so little signal. So this edition of Behavioural Design Digest is going to be slightly different than the others. Not a single coherent story, but a couple of loosely connected thoughts. As always, the bigger theme is deconstructing reality through the lens of the science of influence

Speaking of which, I have started a behavioural design mini-course on LinkedIn. I try to share in less than 1200 characters one lesson every couple of days on thinking like a behavioural designer. The response have been very encouraging. One post reached over 20.000 people. Follow me on LinkedIn if you want to tune in

As always, don't hesitate to share your thoughts. 


I was interviewed by Steven van Belleghem

I had the honor to be this weeks guest in the podcast of Steven van Belleghem. Steven is an international keynote speaker and best selling author of business book like "Customer Experience the day After Tomorrow", When Digital Becomes Human", and "The Conversation Company". 

We talked about: 

  • the (necessary) optimism bias of entrepreneurs
  • the opportunities this forced behavioural change experiment on working in distributed teams, and we are actually learning a lot
  • how will we create lasting new habits?
  • what defines high-performance teams?
  • why sitting in an office is so 1950
  • the impact of the crisis on customer behaviour beyond the acceleration of e-commerce. Could this crisis change consumer preferences?
  • why this is is the moment of truth for the purpose porn movement
  • why stock enlisted companies can't change profoundly, because they have to cater first and foremost to the quarterly obsessions of the stock owners.
  • why we need different companies than the next Uber and AirBnB, because the abundance of cheap capital that fueled the aggressive growth of these two companies, will benefit only shareholders in the end.
  • how to prime your brain for happiness

I liked the outcome of the interview. I think the best part of the podcast was the discussion on "purpose". I argued that overarching purposes are pointless, but solving specific customer problems is much more interesting. 

Anyway: If you have the stomach to listen to my voice for 30 minutes: listen here.

PS: we talk about an interview we did a couple of years ago on Behavioural Design and customer behaviour. You can still watch it on Youtube. 

The previous interview with Steven van Belleghem on how technology shapes customer behaviour and preferences. 

Learn The Behavioural Design Method

Learn how influence works in our monthly two-day masterclass Behavioural Design Fundamentals in Amsterdam. Update: As long as the lockdown persists our masterclass and sprints take place via video conferencing and - a bit to our surprise - it's as exciting as the real thing. 

Check our Courses

Thoughts on judgement and forecasting

  • The best piece so far on how to interpret how the crisis going to evolve is this piece on the hammer and the dance. The reason why it's brilliant is that it takes into account human irrationality into the model. It takes a systems thinking approach on how the crisis will affect the behaviours on humans, which in turn will affect the crisis, and so on. The piece has been read over 10 million times. 
  • Try to follow Marginal Revolution, the blog by Economics Professor Tyler Cowen. He's by far the most ferocious filter and aggregator of interesting academic thinking on the crisis and how it effects the economy
  • Don't pay attention to people who make predictions without a time frame and a percentage of certainty. That's not forecasting, that's bullshitting. I have elaborated on how to smell bullshit in this recent blogpost
  • In the end we're all gonna die. This, to me is a very liberating thought. Try to remember this at least once every day. It will remind you how precious every day is and how amazing it is you can actually be consciously aware of your existince. Our lives are nothing more than a tiny blip on the timescale of the universe. You should thank the Great Spaghetti Monster for every day you can enjoy it. 
That's it for this week. 

PS: We have been running Behavioural Design Sprints and some Short Ideation Sprints for both national and international clients in the last couple of weeks. The combination of Zoom / Teams with Mural as our visual collaboration space is an absolutely astonishing experience. Meanwhile Astrid has been facilitating the Behavioural Design Academy Masterclass. We have changed the format from a two-day masterclass into four half-day workshops via Zoom/Teams. It works like a charm. 

Consider a behavioural design sprint

We get hired by national and international brands to work on improving their products, service and marketing through behavioural psychology. If you consider doing a sprint with us, book a 60 minutes to find out if it's something for you.

Book a 60-minutes with SUE
Enroll in one of our Certification Programs
That's all for this week, we hope to catch you next week!

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