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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 […]

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 […]

Digital Transformation's Personal Issue: It's the Key to Customer Experience

Digital Transformation’s Personal Issue reveals personal treatment to be the key to breakthrough customer experience, and it shows how digital social spaces enable Chief Digital Officers to use personal treatment to create more profit. Before they arrive, though, they need to lead their organizations through the Personal Issue. Digital Transformation's Personal Issue

The Personal Issue refers to a perceived conflict between empowered customers and profit-starved companies. Digital social technologies are enabling customers to “re-personalize” business and society because their online interactions among themselves are personal, which is changing their expectations of all interactions.

However, businesses resist treating customers personally because they fear cost and inefficiency. They don’t understand the digital social economics of treating customers personally online, at scale.

Meanwhile, the missions of chief digital officers (CDOs) and chief customer officers (CCOs) are creating bold new “customer experience” and profits by using digital technologies to transform organizations, brands and businesses. They will fulfill their missions far more quickly and completely by using the key.

[…]

The Social Business Enabler of Digital Transformation [CDO Guide to Social Business Part1]

TheSocial Business Enabler of Digital Transformation reveals how social technologies have changed the economics of interacting and collaborating, and it presents four ways that Chief Digital Officers can use social to lower risk and boost returns of digital transformation.

The Social Business Enabler of Digital Transformation [CDO Guide to Social Business Part1]Social business competency is pivotal to digital transformation because it combines four unusual characteristics. First, it makes interacting and collaborating an order of magnitude faster and less costly than current processes; second, few organizations understand how to use social business to interact with key customers to boost profit, so leaders enjoy rare advantage; third, when compared to ecommerce, mobile and big data & analytics investments, social business shows results quickly and costs less. Lastly, social business reveals what stakeholders really think when organizations aren’t in the room, so it’s effective for due diligence and “requirements analysis” for ecommerce, mobile and big data investments.

As Social Business Enabler of Digital Transformation explains, social business has a two-fold value proposition for Chief Digital Officers: they can use social directly to drive reputation, innovation and profit—and […]

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Economic Forecast

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Economic ForecastI covered the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Economic Forecast last week, where all speakers issued this refrain: “More of the same.” Key economic indicators have been stuck in neutral—the proverbial “sideways” movement—so the consensus in the room was one of faint frustration tempered by gratitude. Everyone had lived through worse.

The current “recovery” is underperforming any other in recent memory according to many measures, especially employment.

The conference was very well organized and featured expert presenters. Reading between the lines, I perceive significant opportunity that will surprise most people. After my notes of speakers’ remarks, I’ll share my thoughts on 2013’s opportunity that is evident when one regards “the economy” from a different point of view.

Everyone wonders what kind of presents we will open in 2013 (right).

[…]

Building Post-Product Relationships in the Social Channel

Social Channel One: Building Post-Product Relationships with Customers is how to Build Brands

The Social Channel of ValuePioneering brands are building post-product customer relationships in the social channel because they realize that product features are copied easily and serve as weak differentiators, which leads to pervasive commoditization. Moreover, people’s preferences for individualized information dealt mass media a lethal blow, and products firms will have a similar fate. Here’s why products will become extinct and how to guide your brand in building post-product customer relationships and profits.

I have predicted for years that mass customization would be the fate of “products,” and social business is bearing this out in spades, so here I’ll delve into how impersonal “products” will be rejected by customers in 5-15 years. More important, CMOs and brand stewards who appreciate this transformation will enjoy unusual advantage, and smart ones will prepare for it now. Brands that don’t get it will simply perish, and no one will even notice except their producers and vendors. Just think about the local papers and TV stations you have known.

This is Part One of […]

Book Review/The Big Switch: Rewiring the World from Edison to Google

Curmudgeonly Looking into the Past to Divine the Future—That Nagging Privacy Issue—Debunking the Elephant

bigswitch_sm_bordrThe Big Switch is a valuable book that reflects what has become Nick Carr’s trademark role, heckling IT and Web enthusiasts, albeit from good seats. Carr seems to relish his role as “the fly in the ointment” of the idealistic IT-enabled world that Web missionaries espouse. Although this book has shortcomings, I recommend it for two reasons. First, Carr makes a convincing and useful argument that the “electrification” of business and society (the Edison part) has valuable lessons for the “computerization” transformation of business and society (the Google part) that is currently unfolding. This parallel provides context to think about some of the disruptions around your business, society and career. Second, Carr raises serious questions about possible privacy implications of computerization. He palpably weighs in on the dark side and seems to want the world to change course from the “googlization of life.” If you haven’t read The Long Tail, I would read these books in proximity because they are very complementary and both quick, important reads.

As usual, […]

Transforming U.S. Health Care via Consumer Empowerment

Regina Herzlinger Keynotes Chicago Healthcare Executives Forum 35th Anniversary

Five-Point Prescription for U.S. Health Care—Involving Patients

healthcareCHEF Chicago’s hospital executives listened raptly to Dr. Regina Herzlinger‘s impassioned message for transforming U.S. health care at their 35th anniversary celebration this month at the J.W. Marriott in Chicago. Dr. Herzlinger is respected and renowned for her message, so there were few surprises. The most distinctive element of her point of view is her strategy for taking a retail-led approach to transforming health care. She is very market- and consumer-focused, which is refreshing because it relies on the market and customers at least as much as the government. “Who Killed Health Care?” is her latest book, and she is a regular advisor to federal and state government officials.

[…]

2010 Reflections on the Global Economy: Have We Tilted?

At first, it seemed that the machine had tilted, its levers, bells and flippers having hit some kind of glitch, causing us to lose the ball and the bonus points.

collage_G20As the curtain rises on the second decade of the twenty-first century, we will see that the machine is actually fine, but it’s become a different game. Quite entirely. To put it mildly, “the economy” is proving to be quite a drama, its pungence largely dependent on where your company or career is wired into it. Although it is quite frowned upon in the U.S. to admit despair, some pundits have even flirted with the moniker, “The Great Recession” to describe the crisis, a faint nod to the Great Depression of the 1930s, but this comparison is off-base. As I have argued for some time, the 2007-2010 “financial crisis” has played a mere overture to the real story, a transformation of the global “economic architecture.” I first heard this deft phrase from His Excellency Shri Kamal Nath, India’s very diplomatic Minister of Commerce in 2008 (coverage here).

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17 Enterprise Visionaries Release 2010 Predictions for Social Networks, Web 2.0

In the knowledge economy, people are motivated by greater autonomy, mastery, and purpose—not by carrots or sticks.. connectivity is second only to a water pump in its significance to a village.. It will not be enough, as it was back in the early Web, to just leave a website lying around to be found. Business has to become a travelling exhibit, a movable market stall that can be adjusted and placed wherever people are or want to be.. Marketers have begun to view social networks as a significant marketing contact point (and perhaps even more important than traditional channels) for procuring consumer data and knowledge.. people are diving into the Web 2.0 and 3.0 pools before they even know with whom they are swimming.. In 2010 we will see more public agencies taking risks to engage in this sort of “flat” information sharing and insight gathering.. sociology will rapidly become the new economics. […]