Can Behavioral Design Change the World?

A discussion on behavioral design's potential, Obama’s voting election strategy and office life post-Covid by Danish behavioual design expert Morten Münster.
Curiusbrand Team
March 25, 2021

Morten Münster’s book on behavioral design is a bestseller in its original Danish edition despite the niche subject matter. In his book, he uses real-world examples from his extensive career to explain how behavioral design can improve working conditions, help companies sell more products and innovate their industries. He also dives into the understanding of how human psychology and real-world influences are crucial for the practice.  Design Week discusses with Münster his own design team’s failures, Obama’s strategy and his predictions for a post-Covid office life.

In the interview Münster says one of the biggest mistakes behavioral designers make is talking to the wrong experts. He points out an instance when he and his team "had made the critical error of thinking that the academic experts are the experts. In the real world the real world experts are the experts".

Münster points out Obama's 2012 campaign's election strategy was rooted in behavioural design in order to get people to vote. The campaign used a mix of tactics from contacting voters would simply inform them that others in their neighborhood were also planning on voting - a form of social proof to having people make a plan of when and where they would vote - a planning intention. Behavioural science tells us that if you can get a person to make just a small plan for future behaviour the odds of them actually doing it increases significantly.

In regards to Covid's impact on the workplace Münster thinks that even though the remote office space dominates for now it will not be the case once things go back to normal if offices don't change because people will begin to accommodate back to that reality. One of the insights from behavioural design is that if your environment does not change, then you will not change. "Humans are designed to obey their habits. And habits will always get the better of you if the environment around them does not change". The last takeaway from the article is Münster's advice to focus on real human behavior when trying to find real word solutions.

Read the full interview @DesignWeek