Why 99% of Austrians donate their organs

Why 99% of Austrians donate their organs

Eric Johnson and Dan Goldstein conducted an interesting online experiment in 2003, asking people whether they would be willing donors. Some people were told that the default was not to be an organ donor, and they were given the option of confirming or changing the default status. Others were told that the default was to be an organ donor, and again, they were given the option of confirming or changing the default status. When participants had to opt in to being an organ donor, only 42% did so. But when they had to opt out, 82% agreed to be donors.

To get a sense of the power of the default rule, consider the difference in organ donation rates between two similar European countries, Germany and Austria. In Germany, which uses an opt-in system, only 12% of citizens gave consent, whereas in Austria which uses an opt-out system, nearly everyone (99%) did.

Of course a successful organ donation program needs the infrastructure of the medical system in matching donors with recipients, transporting organs and performing successful transplants. But keeping everything constant, default option still plays a major role in increasing the donation rate.

In some countries like France, though the default rule is to be a donor, doctors still ask the family members for permission. Even then the default rule matters. As Childress and Liverman put it, “The next of kin can be approached quite differently when the decedent’s silence is presumed to indicate a decision to donate, rather than when it is presumed to indicate a decision not to donate.”

How many of you have changed the default settings of your mobiles? This power can be harnessed to change behaviour. Setting default options can have huge effects on the outcomes, from increasing organ donations to increasing personal savings to making better investments. Never under-estimate the power of inertia.

Sources: Eric J. Johnson & Daniel G. Goldstein – Do Defaults Save Lives? Science, Vol. 302, pp. 1338-1339 (2003)

Alberto Abadie & Sebastien Gay – The Impact of Presumed Consent Legislation on Cadaveric Organ Donation: A Cross Country Study – Journal of Health Economics 25, 599–620 (2006)

How to get men to wash hands post using the toilet

How to get men to wash hands post toilet

A study by Carl P. Borchgrevink, an associate professor at Michigan State University found that only half used soap and 15 percent didn’t wash their hands at all after using the toilet. This study was done in US. Imagine the situation in countries like India! Another study found that compliance rates for hand washing in American hospitals amongst doctors and nurses are only around 40 percent, and years of awareness programs urging doctors to wash up or use disinfectant gels have had little effect.

Not surprising. Men are inherently lazy and forgetful. Washing hands with soap takes more effort than doing nothing. Leave alone the time duration required for washing hands with soap for it to be effective. And the act of peeing is so easy for men that it may not register as a way of spreading germs.

But here’s a solution that’s likely to get men to wash their hands after relieving themselves. A designer named Kaspars Jursons from Latvia, has come up with a simple and beautiful Behavioural Design called ‘Stand’ that’s a sink cum urinal. Men can relieve themselves and wash hands conveniently standing right there, save water by not requiring to flush separately, save time by not heading to the basin which in many restrooms is on the other side and save more time by not waiting in queue to use the wash basin. It also saves space. The tap is hands-free activated by sensors, so there’s no effort required there as well. A built-in soap dispenser also activated by a sensor would make the design complete.

Is it a little too close for comfort? Well we’d prefer to shake hands with men with clean hands.

The art of getting customers to buy again

The art of getting customers to buy again

Most of the products come with expiry dates and therefore you know when to replace it, like say, medicines. Or latest fads make you upgrade for a newer version like the iPhone. Or the product simply gets over (juice) or wears out (underwear) and you replace it. But what if you are the manufacturer of a product like a pillow. How can you get your customer to repurchase one after a particular period?

Tontine pillows have a message stamped on them that goes like “This is a Tontine fresh pillow. With normal use we suggest changing it by December 2014.”

Who would have thought to change the pillow you bought years ago? But Tontine is effectively changing that habit, by reminding you that the pillow needs to be changed every two years. By stamping a due date on the pillow, it serves as a cue every time the pillowcase gets removed for a wash.

Now suddenly after the pillow’s “expiry” you find you are not sleeping so well, worried about how viruses and bacteria can enter from your eyes, nose, ears, mouth. For Tontine, whether people buy a new pillow immediately after the expiry or after sometime, they have created a sense of product redundancy and improved their chances of repeat purchase.

Do you face a similar issue in getting your customers to buy more often?

Source: Bri Williams’ ‘22 minutes to a better business

Small ideas make a big difference

Small ideas make a big difference

There are lots of small everyday things that could benefit from being designed better. Things we take for granted in everyday life. But when designed well, things just work, leading to enhanced experience, satisfied customers, appropriate actionability, increased sales, etc. This post is about few of such small everyday ideas.

Like handles on doors. If there is a handle on the door, the tendency is to pull it. But almost all doors have a handle on the side it says push, too. If the door needs to be pushed, why have a handle? Simply keep it flat and we’ll push it.

When composing emails, wish there was a reminder to attach our files, when words like ‘attached’ or ‘attachment’ were found in the composed email.

‘No Parking on Odd dates 1 3 5’ and ‘No Parking on Even dates 2 4 6’ tend to be so cumbersome. We need to first think about what date it is today, then figure that its ‘No Parking’ on that side, which means we can park on the opposite side. Instead what if we had ‘Parking on Odd dates only’ and ‘Parking on Even dates only’.

Because there are two traffic signals in view at all times, one after the zebra crossing and one much ahead on the other side of the junction, we Indians always push ahead wanting to be first (in whichever race that is) therefore not stopping at the zebra crossing and not allowing pedestrians to cross. So to get cars to stop at the zebra crossing, only one traffic signal needs to be there, placed just before the stripes begin.

Instead of having to choose from financial retirement plans with complicated numbers, what if we could choose, by looking at pictures of different homes (1, 2, 3, 4 BHK) that could be bought with different levels of retirement income.

I often get asked about what mega-pixel camera on the phone is good. Fact is that we don’t understand what mega-pixels mean. What will be useful to us is the information of what mega-pixel matched what size of print. But we know this one won’t happen, else phone and camera manufacturers won’t be able to convince us to mindlessly upgrade.

Remember using the plastic card key in your hotel room to start and switch off the power. Wouldn’t it be convenient to have one in our home, so that we could start/switch off the power with one stroke and do away with the nagging feeling of not having turned off the geyser or gas or some other appliance after leaving home?

The tendency is to think of these design ideas as small (insignificant) ideas, but they are the ones that make for the most awesome product, service experiences and of course get us to behave.

The smartest thing on the idiot box

Behavioural Design on National Geographic channel

Behavioural Design is on National Geographic Channel.

Behavioural scientist Daniel Pink is doing a show called Crowd Control. Its a series of experiments that use behavioural science to solve public problems like how to get kids to not pee in the pool, how to get people to follow instructions in emergency flight landings, etc.

It’s on National Geographic Channel on Mon-Thur 10pm India time.

Because it’s a TV show, they’ve had to factor in the entertainment quotient. That’s why few of the solutions are not scalable. Nevertheless they make for some of the smartest ideas you’ll see on TV.

See the edited video clips of the experiments right now here.

When more choice leads to lower sales

When more choice leads to fewer sales

You may be thinking what a crazy thing to say. After all, which marketer doesn’t benefit from more choices? Take a look at ice-cream parlors. When we visit them we’re often faced with varieties of flavors from chocolates to mint to fruits to natural essences to dry fruits, with so many variants within each flavor depending on the parlor we visit. And the more extensive the varieties of flavors, the better publicity the parlor could generate and could even make it a unique feature of the brand. Moreover the consumers also get to enjoy sampling and choosing the flavors they would like to try. Offering such an extensive choice is helpful when consumers are likely to know exactly what they want and are simply looking for a store or business that supplies it.

But few product categories and companies find themselves in the position of having hordes of consumers salivating at the opportunity to choose from their wide selection of goods and services. More prevalent is the case, that consumers don’t know precisely what they want until they have surveyed what’s available. Take the example of mutual funds in India. There are more than 40 companies providing them with over 4000 schemes to choose from. Now imagine the error-laden short cuts that consumers must be taking to make their choice, if they haven’t already been overwhelmed in the first place.

Behavioural scientist Sheena Iyengar and colleagues Huberman and Jiang analyzed retirement programs of 8,00,000 workers in the US and found that the more choices that were offered, the less likely the employees were to enroll in the program at all. To mention one specific comparison, they found that when only 2 funds were offered, the rate of participation was around 75%, but when the 59 funds were offered, the participation rate dropped to about 60%.

When so many choices are made available, to consumers who don’t know exactly what they are looking for, they find decision-making frustrating due to the burden to having to differentiate so many options to be able to make the best decision. This results in disengagement from the task at hand, leading to an overall reduction in motivation and interest in the product.

In another experiment Sheena Iyengar and Mark Lepper set up a display at a supermarket in which passersby could sample a variety of jams that were made by a single manufacturer. Either 6 or 24 flavors were featured at the display at any given time. Results – only 3% of those who approached the 24-choice display actually purchased any jam. In comparison 30% bought when the choice was between 6 flavors.

If you are in a similar situation or sell many variations of your product, you may want to consider a reduction in the number of options provided by your business in order to increase your sales. Other healthy side-effects could also include reduction in marketing spends that support a smaller portfolio, reduced spending on raw materials, more storage space, etc.

Sources: S.S. Iyengar, G. Huberman and W. Jiang – How much choice is too much? Contributions to 401(k) retirement plans – Pension design and structure: New lessons from Behavioural Finance, Oxford University Press: 83-94 (2004)

S.S. Iyengar and M.R. Lepper – When choice is demotivating: Can one desire be too much of a good thing – Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79:995-1006 (2000)

Talk on Investor behaviour (Franklin Templeton)

Talk on Investor behaviour for Franklin Templeton

We spoke on Investor Behaviour at Franklin Templeton’s Independent Financial Advisor convention in Bali on 12th December.

Our presentation was about investor’s biases, heuristics and rules of thumbs. We also conducted a live auction that brought alive our irrational behaviour amongst the audience who participated in it.

The rest again is confidential material. But we will be posting many articles on behaviour – consumer, employee, shopper, investor, public that we promise.

Have an awesome year.

 

 

Behavioural Design for The Economist

First commercial Behavioural Design

In a pilot for The Economist India, Briefcase demonstrated 20% savings of the customer retention budget.

In the challenging environment of magazine subscription renewals, Briefcase achieved similar subscription renewals as existing levels, but at 20% lesser cost. Thus demonstrating a 20% savings in the customer retention budget.

The rest of course is confidential.

People Power video (2min)

Our experiment People Power in which we got people to reduce power consumption at no cost, explained in under 2 minutes. To know about the power crises in India and the details about the experiment please click here.

People Power has been featured in Fast CompanyThe Times of IndiaDNA and has got more than 1,50,000 views on The Logical Indian.

First ever TEDx – Q&A for VJTI

First ever TEDx talk Q&A for VJTI

We were invited for the first ever TEDx – Q&A session for VJTI engineering students and makers, on 17th September 2014 at the VJTI campus (VJTI is one of the premier engineering institutes of India having received funding from The World Bank). A big thanks to TEDxGateway’s campus connect initiative. What an awesome time we had answering questions from curious minds at VJTI about Bleep, its future, human behaviour, behaviour change, Behavioural Design and the role of technology in Behavioural Design.

Students of VJTI were shown our TEDxGateway talk on Bleep and Behavioural Design immediately followed by a Q&A session that seemed like it would have lasted hours because the questions just wouldn’t stop from the enthusiastic crowd. But of course we had to have a maximum time limit of an hour. Here are highlights of the Q&A session.

Questions naturally began about Bleep and its future. We explained to students that Bleep being a product that solved a social issue and not an individual problem, is the responsibility of the Government of India. Which is why we aren’t selling Bleep to individual customers who we believe will hardly form any numbers. Plus Bleep won’t help car manufacturers sell more cars so they won’t install it voluntarily either. After some question and answers most seemed to accept our answer but some still seemed optimistic that Bleep could be sold to individuals. May be it was their optimism bias. May be one day we’ll be proved wrong.

Students asked whether Bleep could prove to be distracting and cause accidents in emergencies. We informed them that we had tested Bleep for over 3800 km and no accidents had occurred. We also told them that according to Jeff Muttart’s study (a traffic-accident reconstructionist) in emergencies people don’t use the horn and therefore Bleep will not go off and distract them further. Jeff Muttart has pored over hundreds of surveillance videos of real-life car crashes and near-crashes. His study shows that emergency horn use is not associated with decreased accident involvement. He found that drivers never steered and honked at the same time, and usually they didn’t honk at all. About half of emergency honks were meant to chastise and came only after the danger was over. The other half were just preludes to a crash. “It really didn’t serve any purpose at all. It was just, Hey, by the way, I’m going to hit you.”

(Muttart, J., “Factors that Influence Drivers’ Response Choice Decisions in Video Recorded Crashes,” SAE Technical Paper 2005-01-0426, 2005, doi:10.4271/2005-01-0426)

Someone asked “But what will happen to people’s honking behaviour once Bleep is removed from the car?” We told them that we haven’t done the post study, but we jokingly said, “First let Bleep come into our cars. Then we’ll see what happens if its not there anymore.”

The most interesting part of the session was the discussion about Behavioural Design and behaviour change. We sensed that the students found it to be a new, unique and intriguing concept. We spoke about irrational behaviour, difference in attitudes and behaviour, why we cannot solely rely on will power for behaviour change, why most educational campaigns don’t work, how we create false memories, why we use Behavioural Design and not work towards increasing people’s self-awareness and how collaboration between engineers and designers can design new products that facilitate behaviour change.

One of the curious students having read about People Power (click on the link to read about it) before attending the session, asked us to speak about the experiment. So we obliged and told them about how human behaviour is contagious. Like right there in the auditorium once the first student raised his hand to ask a question, seeing him one by one the others followed. Soon we were asked if we had solutions for littering, spitting, eve teasing, not talking on the mobile while driving and so on. May be one day we may.

Meanwhile we told them that we had a solution for another behaviour change. We spontaneously made an offer to VJTI students and makers that we’d be happy to hire a person who could help us create a product on a project that could potentially change an aspect of our behaviour. If you are an electronic engineer, maker and are interested to change human behaviour, email us with your work at anand@brief-case.co

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