Until just a few years ago, behavioral economics resided chiefly within the halls of academia. But now, particularly with the rise of big data, many of the largest corporations, including the fastest growing, leading edge companies, employ in-house behavioral scientists or are utilizing the services of consulting companies with behavioral economics expertise. Insights from behavioral economics are driving customer sales and loyalty, guiding strategic decision making and project management, and helping to create workplaces that nurture initiative and creativity. The governments of the US, the UK and others around the world have also recognized the power of behavioral economics to influence the public’s behavior and created special departments to “nudge” their citizenry in the “right” directions.
Individuals are also discovering how the understanding of what really drives our decisions can lead to healthier and happier lives.
Among the most important are tools designed to help individuals and organizations make better decisions and avoid common pitfalls that result from instinctive human behaviors. These include: anecdotal vs. statistical thinking, heuristics (mental shortcuts, often unconscious, used to reach decisions on difficult questions), loss aversion, inaccurate perceptions of risk, and choice architecture.
Shai Robkin is a serial entrepreneur. Born and raised in Atlanta, he moved to Israel in 1976 immediately after his marriage to fellow Atlantan, Judy Birnbrey. Following a career in international banking, Shai, together with Judy, opened in 1981 Israel’s first combination bookstore/coffee shop. They returned to Atlanta in 1984 to care for aging parents, using the proceeds from the sale of the Israeli store to acquire Vernon, a manufacturer and distributor of library supplies and equipment. Recognizing the potential of self-service and radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies in library environments, Shai founded and grew the Integrated Technology Group to a successful exit in with the sale in 2011 to One Equity Partners, a division of JP Morgan. Shai continued to direct Vernon’s operations until selling the company in 2019 in order to devote himself full-time to business consulting, coaching and education. Shai has a BA in Economics from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, and an MBA with a focus in Marketing from Georgia State University.