Lots of darts, same dartboard

How companies are finding the Behavior Bullseye at the IIeX Behavior Conference


When I was thinking about how to structure this post, I started doodling on a piece of scrap paper – a map of sorts. The first doodle says “System 1” with a picture of a lightbulb and “now what?” written next to it, which, translated from doodle language, shows where we were. Last year’s conference focused on making the distinction between System 1 and System 2 thinking, and it seems to have left everyone thinking “now what?”

You may be picturing a bunch of downtrodden market researchers heaving big cartoonish sighs, but let me stop you there. “Now what” in this context is a spur to action not a lament, with System 1 thinking being the spark. Drawing even more heavily on the principles of behavioral science has led to some really intriguing research into answering this deceptively simple question: Knowing what we know now about behavioral science and System 1, what can we do?


Where are we now? The second picture looked something like a dartboard (I don’t claim to be an artist) with a bunch of darts – alright, sticks – flying at it. Listening to the sessions over the last day and a half, it’s clear that we’re all doing the same thing: we’re trying to understand human behavior to help our clients drive behavior change. The similarities start to deviate when we look at how we’re doing it.


There were a lot of discussions about context this week – using the right environment in virtual reality or the correct nudge to change a behavior for example. However, flipping the switch, context also plays a heavy role in how behavioral science is being applied across the industry. We’ve seen so many different approaches at IIEX. We at System1 Research look at it through the lens of emotion and time pressured, implicit decision making; others are looking at sound, others at language and the power of listening, still others are taking the “James Bond” route by exploring artificial intelligence and machine learning. Context is king in the research approach itself, but it also plays an important role in how we all approach the research. How’s that for a little market research inception? Lots of darts, same dartboard.


The final plot on my doodle map just says “so what?” We talk a lot about Fluency and how it aids acceptance. Paraphrasing from the mouths of those on the client side this week, as behavioral science and System 1 thinking become even more fluent across the industry, being able to translate our findings into concrete, actionable business insights is monumental to making our approaches viable, readily acceptable options in their minds. We’re getting to the “so what” factor, but it’s still an area to keep pushing forward on. This is where we are going, and even as we become faster, more agile, and more iterative, keeping to the core of how our insights can help drive profitable growth should be the guide. Just a tad more concrete than a doodle map.


Written by Lexi Cappalli, Research Associate, System1


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