Learning from Bus Buddhists

Learning from Bus Buddhists

In psychological terms, context is almost everything. Much as we like to think that we know how we will act and react in a given situation, without the richness of the real context we tend to ignore factors that make a huge difference to our behaviour. We ignore them because they involve reactions of our unconscious mind. At the same time, if we are wondering how other people will react it can be very hard to see the world through their eyes; our own unconscious biases and prejudices creep in. And, because they too reside in our unconscious mind, we often don’t even realise that we’re distorting things because of our own lens. Recently I got involved in some research for Greener Journeys who wanted to promote ‘Catch the Bus Week’. As part of this I worked with Mindlab to devise a survey to look at bus users behaviour; and […]

Why You Can’t Answer 3 Customer Satisfaction Questions

I just bought a new printer.  It’s wireless. Buying it was tricky.  The Amazon reviews of Wifi printers had alerted me to the fact that getting them set up wasn’t necessarily easy.  In the end I selected one that almost everyone said was easy to set up. And it was, sort of. I decided to reconfigure my network a bit, because the last addition to the Wifi set up was temperamental in that way I associate more with pet cats than digital devices. In the end all was well and the printing thing happened from all machines. Until it stopped happening.  The printer interface told me that it was looking for the printer… (grrrr) and then that the printer was off-line (bigger grrrr). The manual had already presumed that I knew the difference between an infrastructure installation option and an ad-hoc one: I didn’t.  It offered no suggestions as to […]

Are Consumer Interest Groups Bad for Consumers?

We live in a consumer age.  My own view is that consumerism is part of evolution.  I know that there are a few people out there who really hate how far it’s gone: I’m certainly not arguing that the consequences of being a consumer society are all good.  However, I don’t think we can turn back this particular tide. Increasingly, what was once a case of consumer need (indeed, many marketers still talk in such terms – mistakenly, in my view) is now much more often a case of consumer desire: we meet our basic psychological desires by buying products. These psychological desires that have served us so well in evolutionary terms, can now be satisfied from a trip to the shops: if you want status, buy a Rolex or an iPad; if you want power, buy a high performance car; if you want romance get a make-over and buy […]

New Office ‘Assistant’

Willow the dog is teaching me a lot about psychology (honestly, we’re a lot more like dogs than we’d ever want to think). But her food could smell better. I’m beginning to understand how those petty ‘office rules’ about eating at your desk come into existence! It’s worth noting, her productivity could be higher.