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Behavioral Economics, Autonomy and Ethical Land Mines

Overview: Behavioral Economics Autonomy and Ethics user experience designBehavioral economics autonomy and ethics is a thought experiment on how to approach “doing good” when applying the emerging practice of behavioral economics. Along with big data analytics and cognitive science, behavioral economics affords businesses, governments and other organizations unprecedented impact on individuals’ behavior, even without their consent or awareness. This arouses serious ethical and social dilemmas.

Every behavioral economics practitioner I’ve met has emphasized the importance of using its practice “for good” in order to help people. Like all other human endeavors, however, “for good” is open to interpretation, so I’ll apply my experience with ethnographic and behavioral analysis of social media to reflect on what “for good” might mean in light of individual and group autonomy.

I also hope this Noodle will be food for thought for executives who hire behavioral economics firms as well as all of us who are invariably its subject. In a similar vein, most designers I know are committed to using design principles to improve user experience, and there’s considerable overlap between design and behavioral economics.

Behavioral economics is as […]

Reflections on Trust: The Power of Trusting People to Be True to Themselves

Reflections on Trust: The Power of Trusting People Reflections on Trust: The Power of Trusting People to Be True to Themselves delves into how trust works in personal and business situations

Many people are talking about trust in business these days. I am, too, because it’s the core of my business as well as my personal life. It just occurred to me that there are often some accidental gotchas within many trust discussions I read, and I’ll explore them in case that’s useful to you. First, I’ll delve into trust a little before sharing some insights on how you can make it actionable in your personal, career, and business relationships.

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Pricing Guide for the Knowledge Economy with Behavioral Economics

How Free Things Are Disrupting Businesses + Radical Innovation + Guide to Free Business Models

Book Review: Free/Chris Anderson

Pricing Guide for the Knowledge Economy with Behavioral EconomicsFree is an indispensable introduction to the disruption of “a product for a price,” one of the Industrial Economy’s key constructs. It is rich with examples of many of the pricing innovations and business models with which you’re probably familiar but haven’t thought about in depth. Many of its examples have to do with digital products, which are inherently disruptive because their distribution cost is close to zero, and they can displace legacy analog products.

Free is important and useful for two reasons beyond pricing and business model innovation: it contains a good dollop of behavioral economics with regard to pricing, and it gives numerous examples for thinking beyond the two-party market model that dominated the Industrial Economy, buyer and seller. As Anderson repeatedly shows, in digitally networked markets spawned by the Internet, firms put themselves at significant risk when they don’t adopt a networked ecosystem mindset. For example:

When something becomes free, it […]

Short Guide to Blog Infrastructure

Short Guide to Blog InfrastructureThis short guide to blog infrastructure outlines some of the basics for how to choose a platform and make best use of basic blog features, so your blog will encourage interactions with your high-priority readers. Most brands and people use blogs for content marketing, but it competes for pocket change and leaves the bills on the table. Here you’ll learn how to organize your blog, so it engages readers more deeply by relating to them in distinctive ways. Before delving into some bits and bytes of blog software and features, I’ll outline a new way to approach engagement that changes the rules, which are themselves a kind of infrastructure.

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Chief Digital Officer Needs Analysis: Do You Need a CDO?

Chief Digital Officer Needs Analysis is an executive summary of how CSRA helps organizations assess their need for “going digital” and hiring digital executives. These engagements serve as “requirements analysis” for an enterprise, business or brand.

Improving the Selection Process for Digital Executives

Chief Digital Officer Needs Analysis: Do you need a CDO?Astute CEOs and boards of established firms and brands are awakening to an increasingly uncomfortable reality: for many, business results have been flat, and customers are behaving “unpredictably.” Since this is such a prevalent trend, there is emerging consensus that “going digital” is the way to get closer to customers(1) and revitalize business. CEOs or board members get on the phone to their executive recruiter to search for a Chief Digital Officer, a “digital CMO,” or maybe a digital-savvy CIO to lead digital transformation. As we’ll see, in so doing they are too often putting the cart before the horse. They will get better results by assessing their needs for digital expertise first, so I’ll offer a simple yet robust needs assessment process.

Although CSRA’s client work shows accelerating digital adoption […]

Why Probability Is the Key to Profit in the Digital Social Big-Data Age

10 Detailed Case Studies + Big Data & Analytics’ New Digital Divide + How to Think Like a Data Scientist Book Review: Numbers Rule Your World/Kaiser Fung

Why Probability Is the Key to Profit in the Digital Big-Data Age[UPDATED] Step inside a data scientist’s mind, and learn why probability is the key to profit and how it’s the key to understanding and using big data for better decision making. This fascinating and useful book clearly shows how people misunderstand probability and misuse statistics—and therefore big data—and how the knowledge gap leads to faulty models, thinking and decisions. New winners and losers are emerging in the digital social and big-data age. A new digital divide, people who think like data scientists and use probability to support decision making—and everyone else. The data science group will outperform, and Fung shows how creative, fun and useful data science is.

This book is a perfect twin to Duncan Watts’ Everything Is Obvious* Once You Know the Answer, which exposes how common sense pervades management decisions and failure. I shall refer to several specific connections between the […]

Using Social Media and Social Business Together to Evolve Experience

Using Social Media and Social Business Together to Evolve Experience reveals differences between “the two socials,” and its startling conclusion is that most businesses will benefit from keeping them separate but related during the next three years.

Using Social Media and Social Business Together to Evolve Experience[Updated] There’s a much deeper context that makes the two socials vital: many of the assumptions on which business is built are being completely disrupted. For only one example, as Chief Marketer myself, I used to follow the mantra, “We always want to show our brand in the most positive light” (even when we’re lackluster). That impulse is increasingly risky. Take a few minutes and reflect on how profound that change is. Entire marketing and public relations industries are built on it, and it is very risky because people reveal the obfuscation and half-truths that used to work. There is no such thing as a “half” truth.

From a practical standpoint, organizations need to manage their way through the transition to pervasive transparency, pacing their evolution with changing stakeholder expectations. This is where social media and social business […]

Noodle XI: The Rise of Design and Fall of Nokia, RIM and Motorola

The Rise of Design Signaled the Fall of Nokia, RIM and MotorolaThe rise of design signaled the fall of Nokia, RIM and Motorola describes how engineering is becoming less important in distinguishing hightech and other products from each other. It also presages a seismic shift away from product towards customer experience in determining market leaders for people-oriented products and services. A very large portion of product companies will follow in the footsteps of these three former mobile phone titans unless they transform their focus from product features (engineering) to customer experience (design).

By no means do I imply that engineering is not important—in fact, it is more important than ever—I assert that it is less important than design in differentiating people-oriented products. Engineering is abstracted away from the customer/user of the product, and design explicitly addresses how the customer uses the product to attain outcome(s).

Design is to the Knowledge Economy what engineering was to the Industrial Economy.

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Hightech and U.S. Healthcare Transformation

Healthcare social businessHightech and U.S. Healthcare Transformation recaps The Future of Healthcare: How Technology is Enabling New Models of Healthcare Delivery, which was cosponsored by Katten Muchin Rosenmann and the Illinois Technology Association. The seminar featured five panelists with various points of view: two CEOs of healthcare start-ups, one venture capitalist, one healthcare management consultant and a healthcare attorney.

The consensus was that, at long last, U.S. healthcare is going to progress beyond the waiting room; a perfect storm of market forces and technology enablement has created the conditions for significant reform. Regulations are balancing privacy, protections and digitization, and start-ups are attacking pockets of inefficiency, often through mobile applications and cloud solutions. Technology empowers patients and providers because information is increasingly available real-time. Information enables patients to be more aware of their health as well as the ramifications of their decisions, and it can improve collaboration between provider and patient.

Government is a major change agent; the U.S. taxpayer is footing a higher and higher bill, and healthcare has absorbed all wage gains for many years now, effectively preventing Americans from improving their quality of life. Read on for my notes […]

How to Tap the Social Business Double Value Proposition [CDO Guide to Social Business Part2]

How to Tap the Social Business Double Value Proposition outlines an efficient and rigorous process for using social business for digital transformation in two ways: social business itself can drive reputation, preference and profit, and it’s the fastest way to develop requirements for mobile, ecommerce and big data investments.

How to Tap the Social Business Double Value Proposition [CDO Guide to Social Business Part2]

The social business double value proposition works because it discovers, engages and validates the organization’s understanding of stakeholder outcomes. Every organization’s crucial stakeholders have outcomes that they hope to attain by interacting with the organization or using its products or services. Developing deep and broad knowledge of stakeholder outcomes enables the organization to serve and quickly deepen their relationships with their stakeholders—by helping them attain their outcomes by collaborating online; moreover, since it opens fast and inexpensive communication and collaboration channels with them, it can create a continuous innovation process and sustainable advantage over rivals.

The Guide to Social Business Part2 shows how to maximize efficiency by using external and internal analyses to create and execute social business strategy, step […]