This was an entertaining read from the behavioral economic domain, and I was able to draw a few interesting parallels with the world of enterprise software and service management domain.
Why everything is relative
Several fascinating experiments lead Dan to conclusions applicable to marketing and sales. How we choose subscription options is predictably irrational, but it got me thinking. Can this be applied universally to the participatory product design and become one of the traps of much popular Design Sprints and designing complex system as high-fidelity screen-prototypes?
If we freely diverge in the design process without in-depth knowledge about the constraints, we might design two UI screen prototypes, A and B. The chances are that version B is a bit uglier on the surface — (1) Attribute — as it might accommodate more constraints. If a creative designer focuses on A and improves it to a nicer looking version A-, our brain anchors to the improvement delta. The chances are that we will never prefer B, regardless if it is objectively better. We keep focusing on a single attribute improvement, and that attribute might be just visual.
The cost of social norms
This is a great passage applicable to the service management domain, where we constantly balance market norms with social norms (2).
On one side, we position internal IT services as an integral part of the company, and there is no monetary or market transaction involved — it is based on social norms and a sense of colleagueship. Yet, we are seeking ways how to control the supply and demand and disturb the social norms by applying market norms e.g., limiting the channel availability or controlling the demand by credit and chargeback systems. The research shows that you can’t have both working at the same time effectively — you can’t act as a friend or family, but at the same time measure and charge for this attention (3) (4).
The context of our character
This is an interesting insight into our somewhat natural dishonesty and the pattern of stealing taking pens from conference rooms.
Repeated experiments prove that when the consequences are removed from the monetary value by even one abstract layer, our tendency to dishonesty increases (5) (7). Some of the general Agile product management “measurable” frameworks, such as OKRs, depend on self-reported value of success. A measurable impact almost never reflect any monetary market value. It is so easy to tweak the dashboard, update metrics…or just simply focus on what we can measure more easily over difficult system changes that might takes years to materialize.