“Behavioural Economics: The Science of Changing Behaviour”
A Masterclass with CEO Kelly Peters and Nate Barr, BEworks
What was the objective of your masterclass?
We had several objectives for our masterclass. We sought to share the methods of behavioural economics (BE), which is the scientific study of human behaviour, and to communicate some of the core findings in this area of research. Importantly, we also emphasized how applying insights and methodologies from BE can be used to understand and change behaviour in the real world to solve wicked problems.
Tell us about your approach. How did you structure your class and the activities?
In order to teach our class about BE, we immersed them in a real challenge and had them approach it through a behavioural lens, using the multi-phased BEworks Method. The challenge we chose was a simple – but difficult – behavioural change: How do we get people to use less water? (Click on the graphic below to dive deeper into our case study.)
To conclude our session, we zoomed out from the water use challenge and explained how we have applied this same process to diverse business and policy changes to create real change for real clients.
By working our way through the BEworks Method in the context of a real challenge, we achieved our objectives of teaching people about BE, the power of science in changing behaviour, and how these insights and methods can relate to big challenges in diverse sectors.
What are some interesting and/or unexpected learnings from the session?
One of our favourite aspects of the class was hearing people’s ideas about how to apply behavioural economic principles to this problem. Despite only having a crash course, people were able to effectively generate new ideas to solve a tough problem. Our conversations after the class were just as enriching, as we talked with a number of participants who could quickly see how such methods could be applied in the context of their own challenges.
In all, we were extremely happy with how our class went. The room was packed, the participants were engaged, and the deep connections with people were plentiful.
If you were to host again next year, is there anything you would do differently?
We would welcome another opportunity to share the approach and benefits of BE in the future with new audiences, new challenges, and new case studies.
We would someday also love to co-facilitate a class with a collaborating partner from the kyu collective. For example, we could imagine a shared session with IDEO on how to align design thinking and scientific thinking in the pursuit of some of the world’s most pressing problems. Perhaps a class with Sid Lee on how and why to scientifically measure the return on experience in an event.
As we grow and work together, it would be extremely valuable to share the ways that we can unite distinct methods to solve challenges together.