A psychology geek, last night I read behavioural scientist Matt Wallaert’s new book: Start at the End. A quick and practical read, the key argument he presented was that too many business leaders approach changes by asking the wrong question. For any startup founder looking to develop a product or service, bringing a change in behaviour is inevitable. Most get too involved in finding answers to “What are we going to do?” instead of –aspiring founders take note– “What do we want to happen?”
Before you make that pitch deck, ponder on this question and work backwards towards that behaviour change.
An author, speaker, entrepreneur, and Chief Behavioral Officer at Clover Health, Wallaert’s book draws on behavioural science and presents a step-by-step guide to help you find and narrow down your business purpose and inch closer to success.
I have summarised the learnings below:
When a new product or service is successful, it doesn’t just make a lot of money; it changes the world. Consider Uber and how it has changed the way we commute. In other words, it transformed our behavior. That’s why behavioural modification should be at the forefront of our minds when we approach the task of designing new products and services. Instead of just thinking about how we can sell stuff, we should take a step back and ask ourselves, what’s the behaviour we’re trying to promote? Or to put it a little more poetically, what kind of reality are we trying to create?
Also Read: How to prepare an investor pitch
Intervention Design Process
First, identify the gap between the way you want people to behave (your ideal world) and the way they’re actually behaving (the real world). Also know as IDP, include details such as population (the target group), success metric (what kind of data will exhibit success) and write up a behavioural statement formally describing that ideal world. Roughly experiment your IDP on a small sample of your target group. This process will ease your next step.
Analyse the pressures
Next, map out the promoting pressures, i.e all those factors that work in favour of your ideal world and inhibiting pressures that are preventing that world from coming into being. Then you can start thinking about possible ways to tackle or modify those pressures. The author points out at this stage that it is important for these ways to be ethical (which of course depends on your moral compass). By the end of this process, you will find one or more interventions that can be scaled up and implemented. Finally, you need to conduct more formal tests of your interventions; then you can decide which ones to implement.
Test it out
When you conduct the test, you’re also going to try implementing it in a way that’s much more operationally clean. You want to figure out what works and what doesn’t before you decide you want to scale up and fully implement your intervention. That decision is the final step of the IDP. Last up is some good ol’ fashioned cost-benefit analysis. Looking at the data for the possible interventions, which ones have positive results – and out of those interventions, which are most worth pursuing, once you factor in the costs? Those are the ones you want to scale and implement.
If all goes well, the rest will be history.