Partnerships with clients span across industries and functions. We’ve worked with companies in consumer goods, education, financial services, government, healthcare, and professional services, while supporting initiatives in human resources, marketing, product management, research, and sales. Projects are often scoped in support of a broader client initiative—such as a company-wide culture audit, early stages of product design and development, a new round of market research, or an upcoming board meeting or sales training—although we also arrange more general retainers from time to time.
Three common threads run across these partnerships, often in combination...
From providing medical diagnoses, to recruiting candidates, to evaluating insurance claims, individuals and groups are susceptible to bias (systematic error) and noise (random unwanted variation) in decision-making.
We focus with clients on a specific decision-making process, diagnosing where, when, and how errors might arise, designing remedies, and finally measuring the incremental impact. Where possible, remedies are designed to integrate into current workflows to reduce disruption and increase user ease; often substantial impact can be made with small but thoughtful changes to process steps, evaluation forms, or even messaging.
Example partnership: In a life sciences setting, we developed and implemented an agile set of exercises and processes to help reduce noise and bias in the “front” and “back room” of qualitative research (focus groups and interviews).
Organizations are increasingly turning to randomized controlled experiments to tease apart questions of causality, which in turn can inform critical decisions for business strategy, R&D investment, and even culture. Will this marketing campaign increase sales for our most profitable customer segment? Will this program decrease turnover? Will this technology improve productivity?
We work closely with clients with varied levels of experience in experimentation, helping them design discrete experiments as well as build internal capabilities. The latter can include operations, governance, decision-making techniques, and especially change management. Organizations get the most from experimentation as a tool when they redefine failure from “our idea failed to show positive results” to “we failed to put our idea to the test.” Effective experimentation requires a strategic commitment to long-term learning.
Example partnership: In a financial services engagement, we guided the design, launch, and monitoring for an early set of experiments to increase customer acquisition and retention, as well as grow an internal experimentation team.
(Re) Building Behavior
(re) Building Behavior
It is no secret that humans don’t always behave as rational economic actors. Customers, suppliers, employees, and colleagues (including ourselves) make suboptimal decisions and behave in ways that can undermine personal goals as well as those of the organization overall. Customers choose insurance products with poor tradeoffs between protection and price, employees don’t complete their compliance training or expense reports on time, and colleagues fail to provide constructive and timely feedback. How do we design for better behavior?
We start by understanding and empathizing with the individuals in question, as sometimes it turns out their behavior isn’t all that irrational to begin with! We then pinpoint the potential psychological patterns behind their actions and design environmental solutions—communications, incentives, processes, or even physical architecture—to nudge that behavior toward a win-win. Often, we develop a methodology and execute a test to validate whether these solutions work, in as rigorous a way as possible, including through experimentation.
Example partnership: In a government setting, we reviewed employee experiences, provided various behavioral hypotheses for low morale, and translated insights into tactical recommendations for client implementation.