Applied behavioral science applies behavioral insights and theories to real-world contexts, aiming to create practical interventions for behavior change. It differs from behavioral economics by focusing on broader behavioral outcomes beyond economic decision-making, and from academic behavioral science by emphasizing implementation and measurable impact in real-life settings.

I wanted to share with you the power of behavioral science in Venture Design and provide a practical four-stage model that can guide your approach. The SIDE (Strategy | Insight | Design | Evaluation) model was founded by my friend and mentor, Matt Wallaert, Leading Applied Behavioral Science Pioneer, Founder of, and author of “Start At The End.” I met him while we both worked at innovation consultancy, frog. While each stage of the SIDE model is essential, it's important to break them down into manageable units of work that can be distributed across internal teams and external vendors when necessary. However, keep in mind that every handoff increases the potential for loss, especially when there's an incomplete understanding of the adjoining stages. To achieve the greatest likelihood of creating meaningful behavior change, it's crucial to have a tightly integrated process managed by people who understand the end-to-end journey. Remember, while we can name the parts, we must never lose sight of the need for a holistic approach.


Our focus is on defining the desired behavioral outcome in practical terms. We aim to align business needs with observable behaviors, establishing a shared understanding of what success looks like in driving behavior change.

Deliverable: Behavioral Statement

When Target Audience who Limitations want to Motivation, they will Behavior (as measured by Data).

The aim of this phase is to identify the precise monetizable behavior within the business model. This behavior serves as the "North Star" and represents the ultimate success criteria for the project. If the team can consistently generate this behavior at scale, they have fulfilled their objective. Each project focuses on a single behavioral statement, which helps gauge its value. Understanding the worth of the behavior is crucial, as it influences the choice of intervention. For instance, a behavior valued at $10 would require a different approach than one valued at $100.

Tools to framework the user experience:

  • User archetypes
  • Customer Journey
  • Ecosystem Map
  • Opportunity Map
  • Service Blueprint

Note: I have a article that talks about Service Blueprints (my favorite artifact), how to create them, and some free templates/frameworks.

Harnessing the Power of Venture Design: Crafting a Service Blueprint
As a fellow entrepreneur who has embarked on the thrilling journey of building and scaling a startup, I wanted to take a moment to share some insights and strategies that have proven invaluable in my own ventures. Today, I would like to emphasize the significance of “venture design” and how


We delve into the pressures that shape current behavior patterns. Through a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, we uncover the reasons behind people's behavior today, enabling us to develop strategies to change their behavior in the future.

What drives people to desire that world?

Through exploring promoting pressures, we uncover the factors that increase the likelihood of a behavior. These can be tangible, such as hunger, or abstract, like the need for social connection.

What prevents us from already living in that world?

By examining inhibiting pressures, we uncover the factors that decrease the likelihood of a behavior. These can be concrete, such as cost, or abstract, like inconsistency with our self-perception.

Behavioral Groupings:

  • Always: Promoting pressures consistently outweigh inhibiting pressures. Are promoting pressures inherently stronger or inhibiting pressures weaker? Or is it a combination of both?
  • Never: The opposite of Always. What distinguishes this group as their behavior consistently differs? What stable factors contribute to their predictable divergence?
  • Sometimes: Their behavior is inconsistent, indicating unstable pressures. What changes are influencing their behavioral shifts? Identifying the dynamic factors behind their behavior is crucial.
  • Started: They transitioned from consistent non-engagement to consistent engagement. Uncovering the natural progression that led to this change is pivotal in replicating it for others.
  • Stopped: They transitioned from consistent engagement to consistent disengagement. Understanding the causes behind this regression is vital for preventing similar lapses.

Deliverable: Pressure Map - detailed diagram of all the promoting and inhibiting pressures that are supported by both qualitative and quantitative evidence.

The objective of this phase is to understand why the behavior does or does not occur in the world today.

Insights are generated by quantitative research (using data about populations) and qualitative research (using observations about individuals) working closely together to cross -validate.

Note: I have a whole article about how to conduct proper user interviews and includes free templates.

Unlocking User Insights: The Art of Conducting Effective User Interviews
As startup founders, we embark on a thrilling journey of creating innovative products that cater to the needs of our target audience. But how do we ensure that our products truly resonate with our users? How can we gain valuable insights into their experiences, problems, behavior, and opinions? The…


The research is focused on discovering promoting pressures (which make a behavior more likely when strengthened) and inhibiting pressures (which make a behavior less likely when strengthened) by looking at the five behavioral groups: Always, Never, Sometimes, Started, Stopped.


We create interventions that have the potential to alter the existing behavioral equilibrium. These interventions are based on validated behavioral insights and are designed to address the underlying factors that promote or hinder the desired behavior.

Deliverable: Potential Interventions - proposals that have the potential to sufficiently modify the existing pressures and lead to behavior change.

The goal of this phase is to create interventions that modify the existing pressures, leading to behavior change. Instead of designing solely for behavior change, we focus on addressing the underlying pressures, ensuring our approach is evidence-based rather than relying on flashy, epiphany-based interventions. During the design phase, numerous potential interventions are generated, sometimes reaching up to a hundred. However, only a select few, typically those that target distinct pressures in unique ways, will be chosen for piloting.


We validate the effectiveness of the interventions in actually changing behavior. Through functional experimentation and potential pilots, we assess the performance of the designs and estimate the scale and probability of the resulting behavior change. This enables you to make informed decisions regarding scalability.

Deliverable: Validated Interventions - Outcome Statements, which provide detailed assessments of the evidence supporting the interventions and their corresponding cost/benefit ratios.

We are [confidence] that [intervention] will [direction]
[behavior] (as measured by [data]).
Scaling this requires [effort] and will result in [change].

The purpose of this phase is to gather evidence that guides the decision-making process for scaling interventions. These are rigorous experiments that build upon the insights gained from previous phases. There should be a clear connection between the pilot, the targeted pressures it aims to modify, and the evidence supporting the role of these pressures as true determinants of behavior. It is important to note that this phase focuses on assessing the intervention's value before considering operational deployment at scale.

By embracing this four-stage model and integrating behavioral science throughout the process, you can harness its power to drive meaningful behavior change. Remember, behavior is the desired outcome, and science is the process that guides us. I hope this framework proves valuable to you as you navigate the exciting journey of building and scaling your startups.

Applied behavioral science has the potential to yield significant outcomes in various domains, leading to measurable improvements in key performance indicators (KPIs). For instance, in the realm of public health, behavioral science interventions have shown success in promoting healthier habits, such as smoking cessation or increasing physical activity. One notable example is the "Tips From Former Smokers" campaign by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which resulted in a significant increase in calls to quitline services and website visits, indicating a positive impact on smoking cessation efforts. In the realm of finance, behavioral science interventions have demonstrated effectiveness in improving financial decision-making and savings behaviors. For example, a study conducted by Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) found that providing individuals with access to commitment savings accounts significantly increased their savings rates. These examples highlight the potential of applied behavioral science to drive positive behavior change and achieve tangible outcomes as measured by specific KPIs.

This artifact is part of Stage 2 of the Venture Buildinag Framework.

This is a powerful output as you work to ensure you are Building the Right Product.