I think we owe you an explanation of what we mean by behavioral engineering in /KL7. And we need to work on our elevator pitch for our take on strategical design and counseling anyway. So consider this post a double didactic move.
I have created a simple illustration to explain the basic difference in our approach and solutions from web-, advertising-, design-, management-, etc. consultants. A bit simplified we all seek to advise our clients to achieve some kind of desired behavior from their stakeholders. Whatever it is customers buying our product, adolescent boys getting a vaccine, employees increasing innovation or productivity, or politicians adopting our view and legislate accordingly. The problem is that all the years advisers spend acquiring knowledge and experience in a certain field makes us see the world through that specific lens and suggest solutions from that palette only. The result is what Mark Twain famously captured in the phrase ‘To a man with a hammer, everything looks like a nail’. It is stunning what social media can do to your business if you ask a tweeting young consultant. Let us call it the ‘hammer syndrome’:
In /KL7 we try our best to thoroughly identify the problem and the behavior required to solve the problem and then design a strategic response from a palette of methods and tools (the palette shown in the illustration is obviously not complete). So to stipulate a sort of a definition for behavioral engineering:
Behavioral engineering is designing the context of and basis for behavior with the relevant means to stimulate the desired behavior.
Whether it is web platforms, monitoring, incentive structures, or data visualization feedback. Schematically it looks like this:
Of course we have our habits and favorite solutions - nobody’s perfect. But we actively nurture an integrative and synthesizing approach both in solutions, recruitment, and collaborations. It sometimes makes our pitches and solutions a little more complex. But we firmly believe that the world is too complex and dynamic to yield to the same kind of solution for every problem encountered. And even if we luckily share this approach with agencies around the world it still makes for a hard sell sometimes (to clients with a natural cognitive bias towards preferring solutions with easy and well known labels such as ‘Web design’, ‘Management consulting’ etc. That is another story and I will get back to that in due time).
Please let us know what you think. Does it make sense? Is it convincing or even interesting?