The Planner and The Doer.


Imagine there are two sides to you...

The Planner is smart and calculating; she considers her options and chooses what’s best in the long term. She exercises regularly and eats well. She’s productive at work and does her recycling. She saves for her pension and always drives safely. She’s got a 5-year plan.

The Doer is the other guy. He jumps when you hear a loud noise; acts instinctively and takes his cues from habit and emotion. Unlike The Planner, he only cares about the here and now.


These two characters don't always play nice.

You can imagine what happens when these two get together. The Planner makes lofty goals only to be thwarted at the last hurdle. The Doer leaves his gym gear in the bag; wastes his working day on Facebook; spends his pension money on an iPhone X; slams his foot down when the traffic lights turn from amber to red and puts his career planning off until tomorrow. But tomorrow never comes....

We can try to appeal to The Planner to resolve these conflicts but that's not going to work. She already knows that healthy eating, sustainability and road safety are good for her — she’s not the problem here.

But how do we talk to The Doer when he only springs to life in-the-moment? How do we get to know him better — to understand what makes him tick and what influences his actions? How do we design environments that nudge him one way or another on emotional and instinctive terms; rather than using the rational motivations of The Planner? 

How do we help them make friends?

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It's important not to over-simplify the insights of behavioural science, but it's also important to offer an introduction that's accessible. This is a 60 second summary of a recent presentation we gave at an Innovation Immersion Day at Second Home, to Unilever, Boots, WPP, Arcadis, Marks & Spencer, Björn Borg and Santander.

The same principles can offer large organisations a clearer understanding of how and why their customers behave like they do. It can help them build fairer, higher performing and more innovative workplaces for their employees.  

Our approach to understanding, testing, then influencing behaviour can be applied to most business challenges, from innovation and productivity to inclusion and ethics. If you’d like to find out how, get in touch with us below.