Monish Khanderia – First Principle Labs

Hi Monish! Could you please tell us a bit about yourself and your background?

Starting in business, working in an investment bank and pursuing a master’s in finance, I still felt incomplete as I always found myself asking ‘why’ about the things I was learning, doing and experiencing. With my fascination for psychology, behaviour and exploring the unconventional, I discovered Behavioural Finance. I was keen to learn more and got a scholarship from the University of Exeter to pursue a master’s in Behavioural Economics and Finance, where my highlight was designing a novel, climate-related betting game for my experimental dissertation. 

Graduating in a recession was tough, but being resilient, I discovered IBEN and collaborated with Junofy to form operational processes and an enthusiastic team, and now lead the Beyond Nudge Consulting vertical at IBEN. I worked on and assisted in behaviour change projects for both, public sector and private organisations before joining First Principle Labs as a Behavioural Designer in January this year.

Can you tell us about First Principle Labs as a company and your role within it?

First Principle Labs (FPL) is an arm of both Capio Interactive, which is a creative design company and ElegantVie, which is a behaviour change consultancy. FPL focuses on designing solutions for workplaces, employee experience, and product design and experience. FPL adopts a 4-day work-week arrangement alongside the model of working in a self-managed team.

As a Behavioural Designer, I am currently working on product design and user experience project elements and solutions. My role is to conduct qualitative research and apply design thinking and system thinking elements alongside fundamental behaviour change frameworks to create a seamless and positive user experience.

Could you tell us about any interesting projects that you have worked on where you saw tangible changes after using behavioural interventions?

An interesting project that comes to mind was for a public service campaign in the context of responsible drinking in youths. I have been intrigued by the concepts of habits, addiction and health for a while. Problems regarding health & safety often draw more focus toward policy regulations for the substance itself. Although this is an important consideration, it is incomplete without behavioural insights about the substance users and their socio-economic backgrounds. Researching and learning about the role of social influence, cultural factors and beliefs surrounding drinking and other compulsive behaviours was interesting to say the least!

There have been nuanced behavioural interventions and nudges developed to promote responsible drinking in youths in different countries, which have brought positive changes to people’s lives. Contributing to this project by synthesising nudges and impact assessment metrics was a stimulating and distinguished experience.

Could you tell us about some challenges that you have faced whilst trying to incorporate BE into your work?

I think one of the prevalent yet little discussed challenges is the bias of utilising only BE in applied BE. It is easy for people in the BE space to think about the ‘why’ of behaviour and problems, and it often does inform the development of strong behavioural insights. However, solely focusing on this doesn’t always lead to the best outcomes. Using BE in tandem with insights from traditional economics or financial theory, for example, can be considered a more holistic approach to applying BE. 

In my work involving behavioural finance, I was confronted with the challenge of looking beyond just financial decision-making and developing an evidence base using financial theory about investors and investments. In the end, by actively drawing upon relevant insights from both traditional and behavioural finance, I felt that my team and I were able to critically inform the brief.

Throughout your career, have specific points about using BE stood out as being particularly enjoyable or surprising to you?

In my not-so-extensive career in BE so far, the omnipresence of BE continues to bring surprises. I enjoy being confronted with nuances in terms of information, contexts and ideas and using BE certainly keeps my own beliefs and judgements on their toes. As someone who is more individualistic and less influenced by cultural and social norms, I find it interesting to put myself in the shoes of collectivistic individuals driven by social norms, empathise with their behaviour, and work towards developing unbiased insights. 

Do you have any advice for people who are trying to incorporate BE into their business?

From my experience so far and something that has helped me; I would like to stress the importance of being introspective and critical of your own judgements and ideas as the first step to incorporating BE. After all, we will never be perfect decision-makers and problem-solvers and keeping yourself in check is the first step to helping your business or yourself. Once you understand the fundamentals of BE, look beyond it and keep up-to-date with new developments in the field and industry as change is the only constant!

Are there any final thoughts that you wanted to share with our readers?

I would like to finally just say that don’t be afraid to take risks and pursue whatever it is that you feel deeply about, be it BE or anything else. 
If you’re part of a business of any type of organisation in India and are interested in incorporating BE into your work, I would urge you to reach out to IBEN’s Beyond Nudge Consulting vertical at, where you can benefit from an hour-long, FREE, BE consultancy session from our team of expert BE consultants and analysts. Not only has our team helped a number of organisations by providing the free consultancy session, but also received requests from clients for extended consultancy beyond the free session.

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