Nudging: a gentle nudgeFrancesco Bruno
Being better through better decisions for ourselves. Subtle changes that, day by day, enable us to live a fuller, more conscious life. It is possible, of course. How? Through a gentle nudge that goes by the name of Nudging.
What it is and why it works
Nudging is part of the branch of behavioral economics and can be succinctly defined as a way of influencing people’s decisions and behaviors by giving them value and leading them to create positive change both for themselves and for their community or work group.
Richard H. Thaler and Cass R. Sunstein in their book “Nudge, the Gentle Push” (2008) concretely present the possibility of architecting the best citizen choices, based on the obvious assumption that human beings are indeed “human,” endowed with heuristics and emotions.
By learning about people’s automatic reasoning errors, heuristics and cognitive distortions, it is possible to create the conditions for developing what is called the “choice architecture” of individuals, with the aim of suggesting and promoting the best possible choices.
It is important to emphasize that we are not talking about manipulation but rather about an operation that respects people’s freedom while facilitating one behavior rather than another.
Our decision-making processes are flawed: we have difficulty interpreting probabilistic data, we are slaves to our emotions, we have problems with self-control, and our will is often far from resolute. Therefore, every now and then, a “gentle nudge” might just help.
A healthy work culture can develop by initiating and guiding the right decision-making process for us. Emotional and intuitive behavior shows that humans value incentives, positive reinforcement, communication and feedback that can produce more sustainable results.
Rather than investing in costly methods to increase efficiency and productivity, it makes sense to establish a dynamic culture of open communication, feedback loops, and reevaluation of work methods to openly account for deficiencies in human behavior.
The opportunities afforded by Nudging find their greatest expression and strength in processes of change and innovation that by their very nature may encounter implementation resistance.
Scholars from the Behavioural Insights Team have developed a framework for the application of nudge theory, elaborated on the basis of the EAST model: Easy, Attractive, Social and Timely.
Once the goal and behavior to be changed are identified, the application of nudges in change management is done by generating “goads” to the adoption of the new behavior.
According to the EAST model, Nudging can be applied by following one of these four principles:
Make it easy: simplify the message and push on default choices;
Make it attractive: attract attention;
Make it social: make the change shareable and push on the adoption of socially collaborative behavior;
Make it timely: stimulate people when they are most likely to be receptive.
Ambire with Kindness
At Ambire Benefit Society, Nudging is a time-tested method: our methods are based on using targeted feebacks to push, when appropriate, people to improve and stimulate them, while maintaining a proactive and empathetic approach to all our internal and external stakeholders.