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The Brainy Business | Understanding the Psychology of Why People Buy | Behavioral Economics

Aug 6, 2021

Today I am very excited to have Dr. Amy Bucher on the show to talk about how you can design for behavior change using insights from her fantastic career and wonderful book, Engaged.

Amy graduated magna cum laude from Harvard when getting her A.B. in Psychology, after which she went on to get her Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan. She has been a consultant in addition to working at Johnson & Johnson, CVS, and was vice president of behavior change design at Mad*Pow before recently moving to her current role as vice president of behavioral design at Lirio.

Show Notes:

  • [00:06] In today’s episode I’m excited to introduce you to Dr. Amy Bucher, author of Engaged: Designing for Behavior Change.
  • [03:02] Amy shares about herself, her work, and how she got into behavioral design. She moved from a consulting role back to an in-house role. 
  • [04:43] She loves behavioral design and she really thinks it is a wonderful application of the skills you learn in academic training. 
  • [06:51] Amy considered actually becoming a physician. Her first job out of grad school was in healthcare. 
  • [09:11] Amy defines behavioral design as applying the scientific method to the process of design. It is extremely compatible with human-centered design. 
  • [10:08] Measurement is a constant in the behavioral design process. They want to be gathering data at every step; that lets them know if they are on the right track or not to adjust and optimize results. 
  • [11:17] Amy shares one of her favorite projects looking at cities in India with an increase in diabetes. 
  • [13:12] Amy explains why this project was so rewarding. 
  • [15:27] As a behavioral designer it is really critical to have respect for the people you are designing something for. 
  • [17:23] Amy shares about a project she did recently looking at behavioral health and healthcare. One of the primary barriers for people using that type of healthcare is the cost of it. 
  • [19:05] Even if we know we are not going to make the change with speaking up in that one moment, speaking up can be like a grain of sand that will ultimately add up to something more meaningful. 
  • [20:34] Finding that right problem is so critically important even when it seems so obvious what the issue is. 
  • [23:25] Amy first recommends reading books to better understand behavioral economics. 
  • [23:52] As a general process she recommends going through discovery, design, and testing. 
  • [24:37] Here are three steps that someone who is new to behavioral design can use to get started: doing a literature review, creating an outcomes logic map for yourself, and doing a lens brainstorm. 
  • [26:46] She also uses the self-determination theory of motivation a lot.  One of the basic ideas is if you want to get someone really intrinsically interested in something and interested to the point where they are likely to pursue it, you should support their feelings of autonomy, competence, and relatedness.
  • [28:12] Amy shares an example of putting these into action. 
  • [29:39] Be comfortable with the gray area.  You will go through a lot of the process not really knowing yet, but the process works. 
  • [31:00] Primary research is a really big part. Behavioral design work is very heavy upfront with all the research. 
  • [32:52] As a behavioral designer after the research her role becomes someone who is making sure that all of the intervention ingredients are being brought to life with fidelity. 
  • [34:13] There are certain types of behaviors that are compatible with certain types of intervention. 
  • [35:31] Sometimes what we think is the problem, doesn’t turn out to be the problem when we do the research. 
  • [38:53] Every project is different. 
  • [39:38] Amy shares an example from her book of an Outcome Logics Map. 
  • [42:06] The visual reminder of what our brain is doing is very helpful. 
  • [42:58] Such small things can produce such big changes in the way we perform.
  • [44:53] Melina shares her closing thoughts.
  • [46:21] Being a curious questioner is so important to solving the big problems.
  • [48:49] The Brainy Business was nominated for the best market research podcast of 2021. Vote for The Brainy Business here by August 31!

Thanks for listening. Don’t forget to subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Android. If you like what you heard, please leave a review on iTunes and share what you liked about the show. 

I hope you love everything recommended via The Brainy Business! Everything was independently reviewed and selected by me, Melina Palmer. So you know, as an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. That means if you decide to shop from the links on this page (via Amazon or others), The Brainy Business may collect a share of sales or other compensation.

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