Babar Khan Javed
Jul 3, 2017

Key takeways from Behavioural Exchange 2017

Online nudging and 'design thinking' among the behaviours up for debate

Source: Facebook
Source: Facebook

The recent Behavioural Exchange 2017 in Singapore pooled leading academics, policymakers, and practitioners to share how behavioural insights can create sound policies for an inclusive society. But there were also some takeaways for marketers as well.

How much ‘nudging’ of online consumers should be allowed?

In a panel about online environments, moderated Donald Low, associate dean at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, discussion centered around the role of "nudges" (subtle visual cues) and how they affect the way people think and behave online. An example that was repeatedly highlighted was the default ticks (or approvals) for additional services when people purchase airline tickets through the internet. 

Faisal Naru, a senior economic advisor at the OECD pointed to this as a violation of choice.  He spoke of actions taken to penalize perpetrators and enforce changes that revert the choice of opt-in back to the intended customer. Advertisers and agencies representatives that attended the event pointed to the greater need for enforcement to dissuade decision makers from inserting skimming tactics within campaigns and digital assets.

When asked by Campaign how the policy makers balance their duty to the citizens they serve with their duty towards ensuring businesses are able to compete, Naru summed up the sentiment of the panel. 

"Governments have always had that issue, in terms of trying to come up with tradeoffs between what businesses want to do and what governments want to commit them to do. And that always happens. I think, increasingly what you're finding, is a more grown up conversation about this data. In a lot of areas, there is neutral learning. So long as we head in that direction, there can be win-win scenarios. You want to have systems that work with you rather than against you. I think that as long as things work in that way then hopefully the overarching issues should go away.”

Start ‘design thinking’

Another workshop on ‘design thinking in action’ taught attendees about using a three-pronged approach  to solve problems on a micro, macro, and meta level, using a case study from the Ministry of Health with the help of Ang Yan Hoon, senior consultant in the Department of Geriatric Medicine at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital in Singapore.

Advertisers and agencies learned they could benefit from employing a design thinking approach when mapping out campaigns around social impact. Often falling short, a lack of empathy for the end beneficiary is a commonly cited root cause for weak campaign structures. 

Keeping a three-pronged approach to problem-solving ensures enough inclusion from the micro level (the problem affected, immediate family or stakeholders), the macro (neighbors and related equals of the affected) and the meta (large institutions that can intervene to assist the affected).

This year’s conference focused on public health and well-being, finance, public communications, and engagement as well as service delivery and enforcement.  It emphasised how behavioral science and intelligence can be the foundation for solving complex issues.

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