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  • Writer's pictureElina Halonen

Applying BeSci in the Private Sector: a repository of case studies, learning resources & job specs

Updated: Dec 13, 2022

I believe that BeSci can enhance every part of the organisation because "every problem a business has is about someone's behaviour even though not all solutions are behavioural".

Whenever we design systems or processes, we are always designing for behavior - even if we are not explicitly using insights from behavioural science. This is why insights from behavioural science can (and should) be applied anywhere in an organisation that has to do with human behaviour.

For me, behavioural science is both a lens and a tool:

  • A lens to quickly, effectively and objectively identify patterns for problems that can be understood better with BeSci knowledge and to diagnose the challenge in behavioural terms

  • A tool to either directly design psychological solutions OR optimise other kinds of solutions (e.g. changing the environment) with the help of psychological knowledge

It is easy for an experienced behavioural science practitioner to see the opportunities because we have learned to think in terms of behaviour, yet it is an on-going challenge for us as a professional community to persuade everyone from clients to internal stakeholders that behavioural science can indeed help with all these things.

What this all about?

I have created a Miro board to have something that can serve as a reference for different people working in or interested in applying behavioural science in the commercial sector for these topics:

  • examples of how behavioural science can be applied in different domains

  • ideas for demonstrating the value of behavioural science to stakeholders or clients

  • ideas for career options to pursue after a BeSci degree and what skills might be useful for different types of jobs

  • inspiration for a job description when recruiting for a new BeSci role

  • ideas on how to apply behavioural science in the area you are working in or want to specialise in after academic studies

How it came to be

In the past couple of months, I've increasingly seen people talk at conferences like Human Advantage and the CBO25 Summit with top behavioural science officers about the challenges of persuading stakeholders of the value BeSci can bring, and also about future talent. The final catalyst were a couple of client discussions about having case studies they could share with stakeholders.

So, I thought maybe there could be a place for all of that! It then took me a while to figure out a way to organise it and eventually I had a lightbulb moment to use the organisational "structure" as it is portrayed on IKEA's career website. It seems that it covers almost all BeSci application areas, so it saved me the trouble of thinking of a classification system that shows the full breadth of applied BeSci - and it's also a global company that everyone can relate to.

My hope is that this open-source and open-access resouce can help all of us with that because even just a quick glance should demonstrate that the opportunities for applying BeSci in organisations are endless and we're only just getting started.

Why choose IKEA for this example?

  • Truly global with 456 IKEA stores in 62 markets - brand is almost universally known and therefore easy to imagine applications

  • Not just a physical retail outlet - there are also things like restaurants and sustainabilty initiatives, as well as logistics etc. which means a lot of scope to gather examples

  • Their career site has a convenient structure and descriptions of the different areas which can be used as a basis for linking ideas about BeSci applications (examples/cases) as well as what BeSci specialists might do in those departments

  • Business idea reflects the positive ethos of 'nudging for good': To offer a wide range of well-designed, functional home furnishing products at prices so low, that as many people as possible will be able to afford them

How it works

What's included?

It's designed as a reference for different people working in or interested in applying behavioural science in the commercial sector and it has three sections:

1. BeSci case studies & examples

for those who want to know how behavioural science could be applied in different domains and/or how to persuade stakeholders or clients of the value of behavioural science in the commercial sector

2. Learning resources on how to apply BeSci in each domain

for people who want to learn more about how to apply behavioural science in the area they are working in or learn about an area to specialise in after academic studies

3. BeSci job descriptions

for those who are wondering what to do after their BeSci degree what skills are required for different types of BeSci jobs and what to include in a job description when recruiting for a new BeSci role for people who are creating a BeSci role in their organisation

I've also included a general BeSci in organisations part which can serve as a bit of general guidance for those who are considering setting up a BeSci function and perhaps also a bit of social proof too. I've added a lot of stuff to get it started, but there's no particular preference re: what companies are represented - literally what came to my mind so far!

How you can contribute

Help me make this resource the best it can be - this is meant to be a resource for the global BeSci community! The board is set as "comment only" due to Miro's settings, so if you want to contribute something, please comment on the board and email me:

It's a work-in-progress so I also welcome general feedback on the board: what's works/doesn't, what's confusing etc. and obviously any technical issues you encounter (I've tried to check all the links but I'm also new to Miro so there's a lot of stuff I don't know).

Other things that are welcome:

  • any case studies from your own companies that you'd like to contribute (although please make sure they have a fair bit of detail!)

  • other case studies, articles etc. that you often share with people or think might be useful

  • books and podcast episode links

  • suggestions for what else might be useful

Technical notes:
  • With the current settings (public and "comment only"), links will open in a new window, but documents can only be viewed in Miro (not downloaded)

  • You can choose if you'd like a document to be uploaded (printing and copying text is disabled) and/or included as a Dropbox link.

  • All resources in the green section (case studies/examples) must be publicly available/not behind a paywall - they should be instantly accessible to anyone.

  • If you want to contribute a case study inside your own book, please email me the relevant chapter as a PDF - this way they'll be read-only.

  • If it's not your book, it can be included in the learning resources section but they should be clearly linked to one or more application domains (e.g. by specifying chapters)

  • I realise the examples are currently all in English and very Anglocentric - I will add sections later for non-English resources, and/or do the links so that they're automatically translated (like this Dutch toolkit)

N.B. Board will be free and open access "forever" - I'll never monetise it.

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