Transformation and Innovation Through Behavioural Science

Transformation and Innovation Through Behavioural Science

By Mark Stephens

Back in July this year, Sprint Valley ran a ‘Design Thinking for Transformation’ evening that was attended by Dan Brown, an Advisor to European Board of ILTA.

Dan wrote an interesting report on the evening’s discussions and debates which I wanted to outline and comment on, in respect of those items that are relevant and interesting, specifically those items relevant to your staffing attraction and retention strategies.

Some sections of this article have been lifted directly from Dan’s own report.

Dan Brown, Advisor to European Board of ILTA

On Thursday 19th July, Sprint Valley hosted an applied behavioural psychology immersive workshop, bringing together 20 executive leaders from various industries including Legal, Technology, HR and Financial Services, to explore some of the challenges facing today’s businesses.

New technology, changing customer expectations and changing demographics have impacted the world around us significantly. Understanding that technology creates enormous opportunities and new risks alike, the discussions turned their focus to the human element.

The group explored the opportunities that design thinking and applied behavioural psychology can bring to creating business and leadership agility. A unique perspective incorporating human centred design into Workplace and Business Transformation.

Generations X, Y and Z and the Future of Work

One topic of conversation considered the attendees current workplaces, the impacts of disruptive technologies and start-ups and, more than anything as it turned out, the challenges of multigenerational employment.

While some railed at the perception that young people have a “sense of entitlement”, others argued that “digital enablement” was a valid demand if we are not to return to attitudes of “the dark ages”. Some went further, praising the use of “reverse mentoring” while others inferred that the new generation entering the workplace was accustomed to openness, flexible working, accessibility and an absence of hierarchy. The newcomers are also relatively resistant to the old lures of career development, buying a car and a house, preferring to be paid in rich experiences.

I think that there is a lot of truth in all of the valid observations made by the group that can contribute towards the way we each think about the ways in which we can adapt around generational behavioural changes in particular, but I am also a strong believer in building your own culture based upon a blend of collective understanding of the company vision, respect, acknowledgement and opportunity.


The conversations at the event concluded that technology should be an enabler, and there is no substitute for empathetic leadership to attract, retain and develop talented people, and with this I could not agree more.

Discussions moved to the practical element as one attendee explained the conceptual elements of Design Thinking: the discipline of mimicking the human-centric approach of an engineer or designer to problem solving and building products or services. The speaker encourages the audience to avoid confirmation bias, collect feedback, work together and alone, accept prototypes for what they are, to iterate and develop multiple concepts without fear.

Interestingly, solutions to these varied behavioural challenges could ultimately be more simplistic, such as the value in asking questions and, just as important if not more, to listen to the responses of your workforce.

Whether it is attraction or retention of talent that is your focus, adapting your tactics to the changing mindsets of the modern workforce is critical. However, we don’t need to be experts in behavioural science to safeguard our future success. Simply apply some basic principles and some traditional approaches that help contribute to an exciting and engaging environment, treat people with respect and listen to the needs and demands of the people that work for you. This will ultimately create an engaging work culture that will filter back into your attraction and hiring strategy, enhance your reputation and formulate your brand.

You can see the wonderful digital scribe gallery created by the Ludic Group team live at the event here: Transformation and Innovation through Design Thinking & Applied Psychology

More about Mark Stephens

Mark Stephens has over 20 years of business management experience, across Sales, Marketing, Recruitment and Technology environments. Mark is a recent winner of the Chambers of Commerce award for innovation in business. He is a serial entrepreneur and is the founder of several companies including F10,  Smart Recruit Online and The HR & Recruitment Resource Library.

Mark has established a reputation for his passion and enthusiasm over twenty years working in the recruitment industry, both client and agency side. For the last seven years he has been researching the recruitment landscape from both a technology and people perspective. His insights into market trends are often used and quoted across the industry’s leading publications.

Mark also delivers keynote talks and training to recruitment teams in both public and private sector organisations, on writing better advertising copy, targeting passive candidates and understanding candidate behaviours online.

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