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Why understanding human behaviors is key for payments innovations?

A few days ago, I had the opportunity to connect and converse with Stanford professor B J Fogg around next generation payments solutions and how there is a strong linkage between consumer adoption of payments innovations and human behaviors. I totally agree that there is a strong relationship, and had also authored a post here in the community on Mobile Payments - Is the winning move about habit formation? 

The conversation compelled me to wear my thinking hat, and ponder around what drives human behaviors?

In the real world, human behavior is reflected in: 

* Why do you do what you do? or Why not?

* Why do you say what you say? or Why not?

* Why do you feel what you feel? or Why not?

* Why do you do think the way you do? or Why not?


Human behaviors are indeed complex and fascinating. In the payments world, payments behaviors translate into:

* What mode of payment you use? or Why not?

* Why you use a type of payment? or Why not?

* When you use a type of payment? Or Why not?

* Where you use a type of payment? Or Why not?


As I tried to find answers to my questions.. I came across a profound quote from Plato “Human behavior flows from three main sources: Desire, Emotion and Knowledge”.

I couldn’t agree more! At the basic level, Human behavior is indeed governed by

Desire – Desire for health, wellness, wealth, name and fame, power, success, an ideal life, glory, love, happiness, information, peace of mind, fulfilling relationships, meaningful life, bliss, completeness, well balanced life, harmony, learning, new experiences, diverse friends, pursuit of hobbies, living different cultures, travel … to leave a legacy you’re proud of

Emotion – Key Emotions which drive human behaviors are love, hatred, anger, hurt, sadness, grief, joy, bitterness, sorrow, jealousy, guilt, repentance, revenge or fear

Knowledge – About yourself, about others, about the past – your past and the past of the world, the present – your present and the present of the world, of one / more subjects of interest and expertise ranging from politics to economics to human anatomy to science to math to innovation to business to cooking to parenting to medicine to technology etc etc etc.

And then of course, there are combinations of the above which drive human behavior:

Desire and Emotion

Emotion and Knowledge

Desire and Knowledge

Desire Emotion and Knowledge


In the context of payments behaviors and new payments innovation, the possible drivers for human behaviors could be

* Desire for paying simpler, faster and better

* Emotion for how you feel and what experience you have before, during and after the payment

* Knowledge on the new payment innovations which is the pre-requisite for usage. It is for obvious reasons that almost every company is spending big in advertising / marketing - especially if it is a B2C payments innovation


What do you think is the relationship? Leave a comment to let me know...



Comments: (2)

Karim Maalouf
Karim Maalouf - Path Solutions - Beirut 22 September, 2015, 07:37Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

I really enjoy reading this article and allow me to think much wider how all innovations are affected by those human behaviors.

The reason for innovation is the need.

We all have common needs but our behavior is differen. it is really impressive to have innovation to scale up our economic growth, take advantage of opportunities and have better returns.

Nischala Murthy Kaushik
Nischala Murthy Kaushik - Wipro Ltd. - Noida 28 September, 2015, 07:48Be the first to give this comment the thumbs up 0 likes

Thanks Karim for reading, Glad you enjoyed it! As individuals, we are all similar in so many ways - and yet so different in so many ways!

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