Behavioural Science in the Private Sector: Guidelines for Avoiding Misuse
Is it ethical to use Behavioural Science in the private sector? Our take...... →
Innovation is a risky business and the failure rate is high. Traditional approaches to consumer research may exacerbate the problem. There are many shortcomings with traditional research approaches, and one of the main ones is that data collection focuses on what people say they do, rather than on what is actually driving behaviour.
This paper describes four critical problems that can undermine the relevance of research aimed at understanding whether consumers will engage with a new product or service. These are:
A behavioural-science approach can begin to address these problems. Using an appropriate model or theory of behaviour helps us to avoid the problem of collecting poorly focused data, and can include habitual, emotional, socially-conditioned or automatic responses in our analysis. A theoretical underpinning helps us to target areas that we can influence, and to avoid those that will be less relevant. If applied with an open mind set, using the scientific method to eliminate biases, then behavioural science will significantly improve the effectiveness of our consumer research. It will ensure that we know more about what people actually do… not just what they say they’ll do.