The Last Mile: Creating Social and Economic Value from Behavioral Insights

The Last Mile: Creating Social and Economic Value from Behavioral Insights

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By Dilip Soman
Rotman-UTP Publishing
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division © 2015
World Rights
296 Pages 15 Images
ISBN 9781487521820
Published Jul 2017
Online discount: 35%
 $29.95    $19.47
ISBN 9781442650435
Published Aug 2015
Online discount: 35%
 $32.95    $21.42
ebook (EPUB format)
ISBN 9781442616646
Published Jul 2015
Online discount: 36%
Full purchase $32.95

Most organizations spend much of their effort on the start of the value creation process: namely, creating a strategy, developing new products or services, and analyzing the market. They pay a lot less attention to the end: the crucial “last mile” where consumers come to their website, store, or sales representatives and make a choice.

In The Last Mile, Dilip Soman shows how to use insights from behavioral science in order to close that gap. Beginning with an introduction to the last mile problem and the concept of choice architecture, the book takes a deep dive into the psychology of choice, money, and time. It explains how to construct behavioral experiments and understand the data on preferences that they provide. Finally, it provides a range of practical tools with which to overcome common last mile difficulties.

The Last Mile helps lay readers not only to understand behavioral science, but to apply its lessons to their own organizations’ last mile problems, whether they work in business, government, or the nonprofit sector. Appealing to anyone who was fascinated by Dan Ariely’s Predictably Irrational, Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s Nudge, or Daniel Kahneman’s Thinking, Fast and Slow but was not sure how those insights could be practically applied, The Last Mile is full of solid, concrete advice on how to put the lessons of behavioral science to work.

Dilip Soman is a professor and the Corus Chair in Communications Strategy at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. A behavioral scientist with a PhD from the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business, he is director of the University of Toronto’s India Innovation Institute and the coordinator of the Behavioural Economics in Action research cluster.

Introduction: At the Last Mile

Part One. The Theory of the Last Mile: Principles and Ideas from the Behavioural Sciences

1. The Last Mile

2. Choice Architecture and Nudging

3. Choice

4. Money

5. Time

6. A Theory of Decision Points

Part Two. The Methods of the Behavioural Scientist

7. Experiments and Trials

8. Understanding Preferences and Judgements

Part Three. At the Last Mile: Engineering Behaviour Change

9. Choice Repair

10. Choice Architecture: A Process Approach

11. Decision Crutches

12. Disclosures

13. Retailing

14. The Last Mile of the Last Mile

Appendix 1: A Glossary of Behavioural Phenomena and Nudging Concepts

Appendix 2: Tools for the Choice Architect

The Last Mile is an engaging, sophisticated, and practical overview of how behavioral science can be applied to business, retail, and government. It skillfully weaves together findings from Soman’s own considerable and inventive research, with the punchy teaching style of an experienced business school professor. I’ve no doubt it will be a must-read for students in business schools across the world, and for anyone who wants to understand why, if they don’t get the last mile right, their grand strategies will fail.”

David Halpern, Chief Executive, The Behavioural Insights Team

“Dilip Soman teaches a course called Behavioral Economics in Action, which could also be the title for this book. The keywords being ‘in action.’ The writing is dynamic and fast paced. The insights are both important and fascinating. And all of it is ”

Sendhil Mullainathan, Professor of Economics, Harvard University

“There are many reasons why businesses succeed. But there is one quality which all highly successful businesses share: they have all cracked the last mile. Many otherwise admirable businesses – and government programs – have failed simply because they have overlooked this. It is a topic which has been neglected for far too long, and this wonderful book is years overdue.”

R.H. Sutherland, Vice-Chairman, Ogilvy & Mather Group UK

The Last Mile covers many areas in social psychology, judgement, and decision making, and it does so in a way that is easy to understand but never trivial. The scholarship here is absolutely top-notch.”

Simona Botti, Assistant Professor of Marketing, London Business School