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How to humanise your data

This year, the Nobel Prize in Economics was awarded to Richard Thaler, for his founding work in the field of Behavioural Economics. Why has this taken so long? In contrast to classical economics, Behavioural Studies focuses on understanding behaviour not by creating rational assumptions, but by observing how people act through data (which is why us data-geeks love it). It then looks to psychology to explain why people behave this way while traditional economists tended to frown upon the penetration of other social studies into their field.

The rise of Big Data and advances in technology have led to temptation for companies to collect as much data as possible on consumer behaviours, and observe how they act. Much of the technology you see today is focused on existing consumer behaviour, to optimise and deliver media based on these assumptions. These are significant developments in our industry, allowing us to be quicker and smarter about what we do.

But it’s important to take a step back as well. Thalers popular book, “Nudge”, explores some of the many everyday actions that defy these logical, rational models. Yet the focus of the book is how we can influence and change these behaviours, using subtle psychological cues; such as putting junk-food in hard to reach places, or putting a picture of a fly in men’s urinals. These findings focus on the psychology behind the actions, moving away from a purely data-driven approach.

Our session aims to explore these ideas through practical experiments, with you as our Guinea Pigs. But importantly we will then look at how companies are interpreting and using this information, for better and for worse. And as you explore the rest of Huddle, keep in mind what human actions, AI and technology are capturing, and how these tools can be used to change these behaviours. Because after all, that is how you drive a step-change in your business.

Matt Rooney, Account Director – Business Planning, Mindshare UK