Bart De Langhe

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Leading Behavioral Economist Specializing in the Science and Psychology of Data-Driven Decisions; Marketing Expert Helping Companies and Consumers Make Better Decisions; Professor, ESADE

Biography

Companies today have a wealth of information and insights about their customers and their competition, and yet they’re still drawing inaccurate and ineffective conclusions about them. According to Bart De Langhe, renowned behavioral scientist and ESADE Business School professor who studies how consumers and companies make decisions with data, the best investment any company can make is to develop a better understanding of how we process information. Otherwise, imperfect humans could stand in the way of smart machines. Professor De Langhe says the solution lies in infusing data analytics with psychology.

A member of the ESADE’s Institute for Data-Driven Decisions, De Langhe equates the human mind to a Swiss Army knife, equipped with multiple highly specialized cognitive tools that can be used to solve business problems. Unfortunately, organizations don’t understand and utilize all their tools, and they often misapply the tools they rely on most frequently. Beyond helping organizations utilize minds more effectively, De Langhe also helps them influence minds more effectively. When businesses struggle to understand why consumers don’t buy their products or services, the answer is often related not so much to products or services, but to consumers’ minds and their decision environments. His “thinking about thinking” mantra is key to understanding, influencing and protecting consumers, improving executive decision-making, leveraging collective intelligence by combining human intelligence and AI, and realizing the full potential of data analytics initiatives to drive marketing and growth strategies.

In his popular 2017 Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, “Linear Thinking in a Nonlinear World,” De Langhe shows how the assumption of linear relationships can lead to rampant productivity losses. He urges business leaders to use a simple framework which allows them to understand the nonlinear ways in which their firms’ actions influence key performance indicators, and the nonlinear relationships between these metrics and ultimate business outcomes. His 2019 HBR article, “The Dangers of Categorical Thinking,” offers business leaders a unique framework to detect how the mind’s tendency to categorize can impair decision-making across the various functional areas of their organizations.

Recognized by the Marketing Science Institute as one of the most promising young scholars in marketing, De Langhe’s research has been published in top academic journals, including the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research and Management Science, as well as mainstream and business media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes. His courses on Executive Decision-Making, Winning Customers with Behavioral Economics and Thinking with Data are among the highest-rated courses at various business schools.

De Langhe obtained two degrees in psychology from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) and a doctorate from Erasmus University Rotterdam (Netherlands). Before joining ESADE in 2017, he was on the faculty for six years at the University of Colorado-Boulder (USA). He is a current member of its Center for Research on Consumer Financial Decision Making. De Langhe also had visiting positions at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, China Europe International Business School and Bocconi University, among other schools.

Bart De Langhe is available for paid speaking engagements including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, conference talks, interactive workshops, and advisory/consulting services through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group.

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De Langhe, Bart

Biography

Companies today have a wealth of information and insights about their customers and their competition, and yet they’re still drawing inaccurate and ineffective conclusions about them. According to Bart De Langhe, renowned behavioral scientist and ESADE Business School professor who studies how consumers and companies make decisions with data, the best investment any company can make is to develop a better understanding of how we process information. Otherwise, imperfect humans could stand in the way of smart machines. Professor De Langhe says the solution lies in infusing data analytics with psychology.

A member of the ESADE’s Institute for Data-Driven Decisions, De Langhe equates the human mind to a Swiss Army knife, equipped with multiple highly specialized cognitive tools that can be used to solve business problems. Unfortunately, organizations don’t understand and utilize all their tools, and they often misapply the tools they rely on most frequently. Beyond helping organizations utilize minds more effectively, De Langhe also helps them influence minds more effectively. When businesses struggle to understand why consumers don’t buy their products or services, the answer is often related not so much to products or services, but to consumers’ minds and their decision environments. His “thinking about thinking” mantra is key to understanding, influencing and protecting consumers, improving executive decision-making, leveraging collective intelligence by combining human intelligence and AI, and realizing the full potential of data analytics initiatives to drive marketing and growth strategies.

In his popular 2017 Harvard Business Review (HBR) article, “Linear Thinking in a Nonlinear World,” De Langhe shows how the assumption of linear relationships can lead to rampant productivity losses. He urges business leaders to use a simple framework which allows them to understand the nonlinear ways in which their firms’ actions influence key performance indicators, and the nonlinear relationships between these metrics and ultimate business outcomes. His 2019 HBR article, “The Dangers of Categorical Thinking,” offers business leaders a unique framework to detect how the mind’s tendency to categorize can impair decision-making across the various functional areas of their organizations.

Recognized by the Marketing Science Institute as one of the most promising young scholars in marketing, De Langhe’s research has been published in top academic journals, including the Journal of Consumer Research, Journal of Marketing Research and Management Science, as well as mainstream and business media, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Forbes. His courses on Executive Decision-Making, Winning Customers with Behavioral Economics and Thinking with Data are among the highest-rated courses at various business schools.

De Langhe obtained two degrees in psychology from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium) and a doctorate from Erasmus University Rotterdam (Netherlands). Before joining ESADE in 2017, he was on the faculty for six years at the University of Colorado-Boulder (USA). He is a current member of its Center for Research on Consumer Financial Decision Making. De Langhe also had visiting positions at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, China Europe International Business School and Bocconi University, among other schools.

Bart De Langhe is available for paid speaking engagements including keynote addresses, speeches, panels, conference talks, interactive workshops, and advisory/consulting services through the exclusive representation of Stern Speakers, a division of Stern Strategy Group.

Speech Topics

Optimizing Collective Intelligence of Humans and Machines for Business Success

Humans cannot see through walls. Robots can. Humans read about 200 words per minute. IBM’s Watson reads about two million medical research papers per minute. The fastest human to solve a Rubik’s cube took 4.22 seconds. An MIT robot solved one in 0.38 seconds. Clearly and increasingly, machines outperform humans. But this rise in artificial intelligence isn’t the threat to humans as many believe. The misperception, says Bart De Langhe, stems from a poor understanding of artificial and human intelligence. It’s time to shift our thinking – and realize the business value that comes from the collective intelligence of people and machines. In this presentation, De Langhe introduces his 3-step framework, and uses the history of art to develop and illustrate its impact. He then demonstrates its value by applying the framework to strategic decision-making, marketing, innovation, human resources, data analytics and other business functions. From De Langhe, audiences will gain a deeper, more accurate understanding of what it will take to succeed in a future that requires the best of both humans and technology.

Bullseye: Winning Customers with Data + Psychology in the SNIPER Economy

Customer satisfaction is one of the most important metrics in marketing. Some companies ask customers to rate how satisfied they are with their business, products or services. Others ask customers to rate how likely they are to recommend their business, products or services to others, and then compute a Net Promoter Score. Regardless of the specific measure a company favors, the underlying assumption is that better products and services lead to more satisfied customers, which in turn leads to greater customer loyalty, and ultimately more profits for the firm. While this performance-satisfaction-profitability chain makes intuitive sense and was useful in the past, Bart De Langhe argues this logic is no longer valid. In this presentation, De Langhe explains why the digital economy has rendered it obsolete, and dissects the current landscape where customers continuously influence each other, and companies and consumers are engaged in a dance of micro-targeting. To better manage customer relationships in this “sniper” economy, he outlines his SNIPER (Simplicity, Negativity, Impulsivity, People, Emotionality, and Relativity) framework – which reverses the old logic and infuses it with behavioral economics, ultimately strengthening customer interactions and long-term relationships.

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