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Reciprocation: you have to give before you get

Reciprocation: you have to give before you get

Over 900 people attended London’s inaugural BX2015 Behavioural Insights Conference. This sold out, cutting-edge two-day event brought together the world’s leading behavioural insights experts.
The conference was mainly focused on policy makers and practitioners who want to explore how they can make better and smarter policies that matter. There are a lot of opportunities and improvement potential for policy makers in Flanders. But this conference was also relevant and very useful for innovators in different sectors.

Two days of insights in behavioural economics convinced me that there is a need for a very strong link between innovation and behavioural economics. The knowledge has to be incorporated in every project we are doing.

Two take-aways and the most important impressions from this conference

Day 1:
Dr. Robert B. Cialdini has spent his entire career researching the science of influence, earning him an international reputation as an expert in the fields of persuasion, compliance, and negotiation.
His books including Influence: Science & Practice are the result of decades of peer-reviewed research on why people comply with requests. Influence has sold over 2 million copies, is a New York Times Bestseller and has been published in thirty languages, including Dutch.

His keynote speech at the Behavioural Insights Conference was about ... influence.
At some point today we all will have to influence or persuade someone - our boss, a co-worker, a customer, client, spouse, our kids, or even our friends. Research executed by Dr. Cialdini shows that there are some universal norms which have a very big effect on the outcome.
These are:
Reciprocation – give first and you will likely get back. We should give gifts, services, but not in a classical economical way. Reciprocation will be amplified to the extent that the initiating favour is Meaningful, Unexpected, Tailored/Personalised. It's a universal law: You have to give before you get. You must plant your seeds before you reap the harvest.
Liking - People say yes to those who are likeable.
Scarcity - People say yes to opportunities that are scarce, special or unprocurable.
Social Proof/Social Norms - People say yes to recommendations that fit how the majority of people in their ecosystem behave.
Authority - True legitimation
Commitment/Consistency - People say yes if an idea is aligned with their exciting and former commitment.

Day 2:
Day 2 started with a talk by Dan Ariely. This very inspiring talk cannot be summarised in a report. But his book Predictably Irrational is worth reading.

The future of behavioural insights
The closing panel reflected on the areas covered throughout BX2015 with panel members discussing key areas where behavioural insights should be developed.
One of the members of this panel - Dr Thia Jang Ping is the director of the Transformation Office and the Security and Resilience Programme Directorate in the Singapore Ministry of Finance. His key responsibilities include overseeing the budgets and effectiveness of various programs, as well as building up finance capabilities and improving service effectiveness in the public sector.

He stressed the necessity of taking behavioural issues into account in the design of public services. Singapore has a citizen centred policy. This policy serves as a common thread throughout all projects and development inside the public sector. Because of this citizen centred policy in Singapore, we can see a very strong link between the design thinking approach and behavioural insights. The implementation of design thinking linked and enriched by behavioural insights, contributes to a development of real (and not only citizen centred) services in Singapore.

Some interesting books presented at the conference:
- Influence - Robert B. Cialdini
- Yes! - Steve Martin, Robert B. Cialdini
- Predictably Irrational - Dan Ariely

The Behavioural Insights Team group developed a set of cards which can be used to come up with new ways to apply behavioural insights. It is based on the Behavioural Insights Team simple framework: EAST – make it Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely.

The books and the tool are available at the offices of Flanders Inshape.
For more information about the conference and the next steps, please contact .


Maka De Lameillieure