Check out this top 10 of great resources exploring Behavioural Science and how this practice could support your business.
The study of Behaviour Change has massive potential for positive business growth. Whether that is in helping staff adapt to new changes and initiatives, making your marketing messages land with more impact or understanding your customers better and why they will (or won't) take action through your various digital platforms.
This book is full of great business examples that illustrate the stages involved in creating behaviour change. It also introduces the story behind Ogilvy's pioneering work in using behaviour change within marketing and advertising.
Ripple takes you on a global journey, through storytelling and practical tips, showing how well-planned nudges can have positive ripple effects in the business world. While nudging is now commonplace in politics, most of our daily interactions with companies, products and services have not yet been transformed with behavioural science. Doing so is often a messy process but, armed with this book, you’ll have the practical toolkit to get started.
Choice hacking is a great introduction to Behavioural Science within a business context. Taking everyday examples of how well known brands have used behaviour change techniques to nudge customers into new experiences and product sales.
Jennifer L. Clinehens explains:
"Customer and user behaviors can seem irrational. Shaped by mental shortcuts and psychological biases, their actions often appear random on the surface. In Choice Hacking, we'll learn to predict these irrational behaviors and apply the science of decision-making to create unforgettable customer experiences.
Discover a framework for designing experiences that doesn't just show you what principles to apply, but introduces a new way of thinking about customer behavior. You'll finish Choice Hacking feeling confident and ready to transform your experience with science."
3. The Behaviour Change Wheel - A Guide To Designing Interventions by Susan Michie, Lou Atkins & Robert West
This book (as well as the Behaviour Change Cards) is a brilliant companion when designing behaviour change interventions. A straightforward step-by-step guide to designing and evaluating behaviour change interventions and policies. It is based on the Behaviour Change Wheel, a synthesis of 19 behaviour change frameworks that draw on a wide range of disciplines and approaches.
The guide is targetted at policy makers, practitioners, intervention designers and researchers but I would argue it also provides useful framework for anyone else looking to create a behaviour change intervention within business. It introduces a highly practical, systematic, theory-based method, with fundamental key concepts and practical tasks.
This book is perhaps the most 'consumer friendly' version of Behavioural Psychology you might read. BJ Fogg appears to have created quite an industry out of his Stanford University-based Psychology department. It's very much focussed on behaviour change around habits but there are a lot of useful insights on what makes creating change in humans difficult. If you want a lighter read with some useful examples, this one might be for you!
"Tiny Habits—created by Dr. BJ Fogg, a world-renowned Behavior Scientist at Stanford University—is based on 20 years of research and Dr. Fogg’s experience personally coaching over 60,000 people. Unlike anything that’s come before, this system—what Dr. Fogg has coined “Behaviour Design”—cracks the code of habit formation."
5. Nudge by Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein
This book feels like a real Behavioural Science classic. With glowing testimonials such as this from Daniel Kahnemen (Author of Thinking Fast and Slow) "Few books can be said to have changed the world, but Nudge did!..." and being named as one of the books of the year by the Economist in 2008.
The book popularised the concept of nudge theory. A nudge, according to Thaler and Sunstein is any form of choice architecture that alters people's behaviour in a predictable way without restricting options or significantly changing their economic incentives. This book shows we are all being 'nudged' in one way or the other and as we understand the processes behind how our behaviour can be guided we can then begin to see the implications within business, communications and choice architecture, UX and UI design in particular.
This toolkit (available here as a pdf) provides a great step-by-step process for building a behavioural intervention, with brainstorming cards to make it even more fun!
The first component of the pdf is a step-by-step process for developing a behavioural intervention. It guides the user through understanding existing behaviours, identifying a desired behaviour, brainstorming ideas for promoting the desired behaviour, and robustly testing the best ideas. The user should follow the steps in the order they are numbered. It is focused on key questions to ask at each step. It is not a complete guide to how to answer these questions, however, and the user may need to rely on other research and evaluation resources to help with each step.
The second component of the toolkit is a series of ‘brainstorming’ cards. The cards cover many important behavioural principles to keep in mind when looking to improve programmes, policies, or decision-making. Each card includes a description of the behavioural principle, some examples, and suggestions for how to apply the principle. They can be used on their own or to brainstorm ideas as in the step-by-step process above.
This website, created by the author of the 'Choice Hacking' book Jen Clinehens, provides a whole bunch of practical business resources relating to Behavioural Science and its application in a commercial setting. The podcast is particularly easy, yet informative listening. Other items on the website include
Supercharge your work with applied behavioural science and psychology.
Uncover how the world's most successful brands are applying behavioural science.
Consulting + Training
Level-up your experience with scientific approaches and proven methods.
If you want to watch some really engaging presentations around behaviour change, here are 5 for the price of 1! You can watch an intro to them from Bri Williams above or go direct to the orginal videos below.
- Rory Sutherland, Life lessons from an ad man https://www.ted.com/talks/rory_suther...
- Jeni Cross, Three Myths of Behaviour Change https://youtu.be/l5d8GW6GdR0
- Daniel Kahneman, The riddle of experience vs memory: https://www.ted.com/talks/daniel_kahn...
- Barry Schwartz, The Paradox of Choice: https://www.ted.com/talks/barry_schwa...
- Dan Ariely, How to change your behaviour for the better https://www.ted.com/talks/dan_ariely_...
The Behavioural Insights team was founded in 2010, this team has grown from a seven-person unit at the heart of the UK government to a global social purpose company with offices around the world. Their website is a great place to read the latest news and insights as well as download useful tools and research papers.
They also have useful workshops on Behaviour Change relating to Sustainability and Environmental issues amongst other themes.
In addition, as they state on their website: "We have run more than 1000 projects to date, including over 700 randomised controlled trials in dozens of countries. In addition to our own interventions, we openly share expertise and help others build capacity and skills to apply behavioural science. Our staff have conducted over a thousand workshops and training courses for governments around the world, training 20,000 civil servants and practitioners in behavioural insights. We have also launched an Executive Education programme with Warwick Business School. We publish our work in regular policy reports, in peer-reviewed academic publications, and through regular blog posts on this website."
Ogilvy led the way in using Behavioural Science in marketing and advertising. They were perhaps the first major agency way back in 1998 to realise the potential of this academic practice, and how it could effect business in a powerful and innovative manner whilst being rooted in academic rigour and a deeper understanding of the human condition.
You can read their blog here .
They hold an annual 'NudgeStock' festival which gathers over 40,000 online attendees. It presents an event where c-suite marketeers will learn how to think like a behavioral scientist as counter-intuitive ideas and real-world case studies get discussed, debated, and celebrated by the planet’s boldest thinkers. This event tackles how rethinking sustainability and diversity can promote balance, how our age of misinformation and polarization is warping society, how behavioral science can track the changing nature of consumerism, and much, much more. Rory Sutherland, Vice Chairman of Ogilvy UK & Co-founder of Ogilvy’s Behavioral Science Practices and sums up the aim of this division of Ogilvy:
“If you base your business success on technological gizmo then you have something that will give you a competitive advantage for 18 months to two years. On the other hand, if your brand rests on a solid understand of unchanging psychological truths, then what you have is a completely enduring competitive advantage,”
We hope that this list of 10 Behaviour Change Resources will help you as you navigate your own behaviour change intitiatives and interventions. If you'd like some help moving your project forward and want help with either the strategy or creative materials to implement your intitiative, we'd love to talk to you. Get in touch through our contact us page or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org