Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D
For any of you out there who are business owners, or who are thinking of starting a business, it is important to keep in mind why a business exists in the first place. Businesses meet a need. In behaviorspeak, we say that successful businesses are able to pinpoint motivating operations in the market, and provide a product or service to meet the demand.
A motivating operation refers to a condition that alters the reinforcing effectiveness of a person, object, or event. It can also evoke actions that produce that event. Perhaps the simplest example is thirst. You go a while without drinking water and water then becomes more reinforcing to you. You are also more likely to seek out water under those conditions.
Of course, when language gets involved motivating operations turn into formative and motivative augmentals. In other words, our own thoughts can form rules about the world that alter the reinforcing effectiveness of different things, without directly experiencing those things. Instead, these functions are based on our derived relational responses.
You could argue that successful businesses succeed by understanding the motivations of consumers and designing solutions to fill the need.
Recently, CNBC put out its annual Disruptor 50 list. These are innovative companies that are creating waves in the markets, and most of which are already billion-dollar companies. Needless to say, they are impacting the behavior of millions of people around the world, so let’s take a look at what they are up to.
At the top of their list is IndigoAg, a company that aims to feed the planet by leveraging Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning to boost crop yields and connect growers to purchasers via Indigo Marketplace.
The company recently acquired a satellite imaging company that “now allows Indigo to create a living map of the world’s food supply to gather further information about where it needs to focus its efforts” according to CNBC.
The list includes a variety of other startups from around the world. All of them are targeting different needs that provide value to various market segments, such as reducing prescription drug costs, providing affordable education, and financial investing tailored specifically to the lives of women.
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Todd A. Ward, PhD, BCBA-D is a science writer, social philosopher, behavioral systems analyst, and the President and Founder of bSci21Media, LLC, which aims to connect behavioral science to the world in an engaging, non-academic way. Dr. Ward received his PhD in behavior analysis from the University of Nevada, Reno under Dr. Ramona Houmanfar. He has served as a Guest Associate Editor of the Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, and as an Editorial Board member of Behavior and Social Issues. His publications follow a theme of behavioral systems analysis, organizational performance, theory & philosophy, and language & cognition. He has also provided ABA services to children and adults with various developmental disabilities in day centers, in-home, residential, and school settings, and previously served as Faculty Director of Behavior Analysis Online at the University of North Texas. Dr. Ward can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org