The Nudge is Not Enough! The Love Story Between Behavioral Science and Practical Applications

A romantic relationship goes through various stages from early dating to marriage and, in about half of all cases, divorce. It begins with flirting and continues with that essential first date. If that goes well, it is followed by more dates. If things go OK and the chemistry is good, the relationship will go to the next level: one partner offering the other a shelf in their closet. Sooner than many realize, this leads to the natural question of Why pay two rents? followed by a de-facto living together. After a while, one of the partners pops the BIG question: Will you marry me?


The relationship between academic or theoretical behavioral science (let’s call him THEORY) and applied behavioral science (let’s call her PRACTICE) is not much different from a romantic relationship.


It was quite hard for THEORY to get that first date with PRACTICE, but luckily it happened.


In hindsight, the seminal papers of Kahneman and Tversky on heuristics and biases and on prospect theory published in mid and late 1970s were not enough, at the time, to get PRACTICE to accept the first date.


Fortunately, after about 20 years of flirtation, that first date happened. It was in mid and late 1990s, when Thaler and Benartzi developed and analyzed early implementations of the Save More Tomorrow program which helped (American) employees to save more for retirement by bridging the intention-action gap. In very brief, at every pay raise a person’s savings rate automatically increased (e.g. from 3% to 4%). The automated escalation of savings rates helped most people keep their commitment to save more, while the coupling with pay raises eluded the miserable feeling of losing money out of one’s current paycheck (i.e. loss aversion identified by Tversky and Kahneman).


Occasional dates happened between THEORY and PRACTICE after that, but neither side was taking the relationship too seriously. Continue Reading on 

Behavioral Science is a Gold Mine for Service Design and Customer Experience

Interview with Nick Naumof by Adrian Swinscoe

  • Behavioural science is a gold mine for service design and customer experience – Interview with Nicolae Naumof
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  • Nicolae Naumof
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For the transcript of the interview, visit Adrian Swinscoe's blog.

Behavioral Design:
Tricks, Cheats and True Value Interventions.

The Wide Array of Behavioral Science Applied in Service Design


Read the Behavioral Design Manifesto

Interview with Nick NAUMOF on PTTRNS: 



Let’s focus on choice architecture for a bit, a very powerful concept. Ever since the publication of Nudge (Sunstein & Thaler) in 2008 this is something everybody is talking about. But I don’t see businesses applying it yet.


The book Nudge has coined the term choice architecture, but some forms of the phenomenon existed ever since there was choice. It’s a bit like saying that advertising was born in mid XIXth century… it is true that formal advertising appeared then, but merchants were promoting their goods ever since trade existed. 


There is, indeed, a lot of buzz around terms like “Choice architecture” or “Nudging”, but this is no different than it was a few years ago with “viral”, “social”, ”User generated content”. These terms stick because they are emotionally appealing and cool, but most importantly they get a lot of buzz because there is an illusion that they are some sort of magic potion that does miracles. Continue Reading on PTTRNS - Science Rockstars Blog 

Wake up: Your customers don't give your product
two seconds thought

Article by Nick NAUMOF published on 

Wake up: Your customers don't give your
product two seconds thought


On February 25th 2014 the following article was published by


If you believe that your clients actually give more than three seconds of thought to what you are selling, then ensure you read this article with your eyes wide open. First, if you think that your clients give more than two to three seconds of thought on your product/service, there are two possibilities: (a) you are dead wrong; (b) the client doesn’t understand what you are trying to sell. In the first case, things are straight forward: three seconds is too little for the deliberate reasoning to switch on and your clients use some kind of “rule of thumb” (heuristic in psychology jargon) to make the decision.


In the second case, since your clients face ambiguity their judgement is prone to using heuristics and then finding solid reasons to justify their decision (post-rationalisation in even more sophisticated psychology language).... Continue Reading on  

Why We Want What We Want - Webinar Recording 


The webinar "Why We Want What We Want" was aired on 12th of November 2013.


Here’s what Bjarke Schlechter, Msc in Psychology, who attended the webinar said:


Nick Naumof managed to give an inspirational and educational webinar, into the world of human choice. The presentation was very precise and Nicolae was able to make key points come alive, with great examples from the real world.


This is an introduction to Designing Decisions - Training in Choice Architecture.

Enjoy the video!

Case Study on Choice Architecture Applied in a Real-Life Business Setting (video)


This is a case study on the application of Choice Architecture in a real life business setting. See how an on-line service provider uses elements of Choice Architecture to guide the choices of their users.


The video is a a small piece of the Designing Decisions Training Program from Nick Naumof

Nudge theory: Business buzzword or behavioral influencer?

Article by Nick NAUMOF published on 

Nudge theory: Business buzzword or
behavioural influencer?


On August 15th 2013 the following article was published by


The past five years have seen a boom in media coverage and application in practice of insights from behavioural sciences, particularly from behavioural economics. Books such as Nudge: Improving Decisions About Health, Wealth and Happiness by Richard H Thaler and Cass R Sunstein, Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions by Dan Ariely and Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman have contributed significantly to the popularisation of behavioural sciences and their application in practice.


Businesses, particularly marketing departments, are stepping up the application of this knowledge with the aim .... Continue Reading on  

Marketing and human behaviour building:
See your customer in 4D

Article by Nick NAUMOF published on 

Marketing and human behaviour building:
See your customer in 4D


On July 19th 2013 the following article was published by


Marketers have to work with or for clients, customers, consumers, potential clients, target groups, people, etc. But regardless of the names we use to describe who marketers are dealing with, the naked truth is that all these terms stand for humans. What you call them has no real importance. You as a marketer have to work with and for humans.At first glance this is trivial. I personally don’t believe it is so obvious that in our daily work we deal with humans and my belief is based on observation, not on hunches. Too often marketers as well as other professionals simply ignore human nature. .... Continue Reading on  

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