Why Our Customers’ Brains Fail and How to Design for It

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Three Easy Principles of Behavioral Science


Is it better for consumers to have a moderately good experience during the service experience or to have just an okay experience with a couple of sparks of joy? Can bad experiences improve the perception of a brand experience? How can we design services to change the perception of consumers without changing the underlying business model? These may seem like ad hoc questions, but service designers can actually use sound behavioral science principles to answer questions like these with certainty. Using surprising examples from Airbnb, Apple, Uber and Nest attendees will learn how to better design services based on three principles from emerging behavioral and cognitive science literature including recent, original research by Robert J. Neal and Yasmine Kahn.


Service designers have many tools at their disposal including design thinking, customer journey maps, personas and consumer research. However, these tools are often used as if consumers will act in their best interest on some model of reason and emotion. Recent research in cognitive science though, shows that many of our decisions are the consequence of cognitive shortcuts where not all of the information, either rational or emotional, that is available is included in the decision making process. The good news is that some cognitive shortcuts have been well-defined by cognitive scientists and can be easily incorporated into service design projects. Robert actively researchers applied cognitive science and behavioral economics and will share real world examples with significant impact.









Speaker Info

Robert Neal

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