nudge

The American economist Richard H.Thaler was recently awarded the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences for his contributions
How do we respect the will of the people when the people have no say, no control, and the very tools of democracy are being
Since I started this blog, I have promoted my view that, in society, we are all consumers - and that professional marketing and advertising, and 'upstream creative thinking', could be better employed for the good of society as a whole. All of us...
Timely, personalised messages have considerable success in changing behaviour... people are paying taxes on time, less are missing court appearances, more are donating organs and more are avoiding visits from the bailiffs.
The next big win for the planet may not be a field of solar panels or a new emissions cap. It may well be people themselves, motivated to become better climate stewards than their neighbours down the block.
Have you ever wondered how to change what people do? How to help them make "better" choices? How to kick bad-habits? How to avoid the pitfalls of stereotypes?
What is clear is that emerging factors have combined to expose big business and its place in society to increasingly intense and critical scrutiny. A very selective list might include the banking crisis and corporate tax scandals, the shrinking state, climate change and other environmental impacts, and the inequities and injustices in value chains, so horribly highlighted at the Dhaka garment factory.
So how can consumers be persuaded to act? The first option is to explore generic insight into behaviour change. Unilever, for example, has defined five levers for sustainable living or tips to persuade consumers to act. Make it: understood; easy to act; desirable; rewarding; and habitual.
We need to recognise that, even in a global, modern city like London, there are communities where people struggle to access fresh fruit and vegetables and afford to pay for leisure facilities. Local councils should tackle this exclusion head-on.
I was recently at University College London to hear a talk on behaviour change. "Nudging methods ... have become increasingly popular" read the blurb. "Underlying all of this, however, is the nagging question of whether it is ethical, desirable or sustainable to be nudging people in a desired direction." Indeed. "Or, is it a case of technological fudging, where we may be covering over deeper problems?". Well, yes it is, I thought.