Digital innovation is not just about technology, it’s about the people who use it.

Understanding why people do the things the do is what psychology is all about, and so here’s a quick primer deck on need-to-know consumer psychology for innovators – focusing on three core insights (from an upcoming innovation training course)

  • The 7 Fundamental Problems – The human brain, with its 100 trillion synapses, evolved to solve problems and it is wired to focus on solving 7 fundamental, timeless and universal problems.  Unless your innovation solves one of these problems, your users/ mindswill be closed for business
    4. STATUS
    7. KIN CARE
  • Appeal to the Automatic ‘System 1’ Mind – Problems are so fundamental to human psychology,it appears that we have each evolved two problem-solving minds – System 1, which is automatic, fast, and mostly unconscious – and System 2, which is slow, deliberate and effortful. Research shows people are guided by the auto-pilot of System 1 problem-solving more than we’d think – and so the opportunity for digital innovation is to appeal to how the mostly unconscious System 1 problem-solving mind works
    1. Your innovation should ‘feel’ effortless – give instant and easy gratification (present bias)
    2. Your innovation should ‘feel’ good by evoking positive associations (emotions, memories) (affect heuristic)
    3. Your innovation has to feel ‘right’ because it’s consistent with what people already (confirmation bias)
    4. Your innovation should ‘feel’ familiar by building on category norms (availability heuristic)
    5. Your innovation should ‘feel’ empowering – giving people control over their lives (optimism bias)
  • Brand People, not Products – Ever since cattle were branded, branding has been about branding goods as a way to signal quality, reduce risk, and help people choose. But in advanced markets, brands have a new important function; people use brands to brand themselves – to signal what’s great about them, rather than the product.  To drive the psychological appeal of your brand, innovators can focus branding efforts on the six key dimensions of personal branding – based on the Big Five OCEAN human personality dimensions, and general intelligence (that together make up your ‘trait tattoo’)
    • i (General Intelligence) – smart is the new black – branding that helps people signal their smarts
    • Openness – branding that helps people signal their creativity and desire for change
    • Conscientiousness – branding that helps people display loyalty, care and attention to detail
    • Extraversion – branding that helps people display their social side
    • Agreeableness – brand that helps people display that they’re a good, nice person
    • Neuroticism – branding that helps people display their sensitivity