A Sustainable Nudge…

www.sorenandersson.com

Have you ever heard the expression…

“…a push in the right direction”

Maybe it is not more difficult than that… to move in a Sustainable direction.
It’s a little bit like rolling a large boulder, the toughest part is to get it moving in the first place.

There are kilometers of scientific text written about what “nudging” really is, there is a lot of ongoing research and there are several organisation focusing on the subject – no lack of facts and information if you want to dig deep into the subject.

Could perhaps nudging be a good tool to “get the boulder rolling…” when moving towards a Sustainable society?

Let’s delve a little on the subject…

Kids and mittens…

As a parent you have probably encountered “kids with a strong will”. In certain situations and at specific ages, kids are more aware of the fact that they have a will of their own. Now that I have grown-ups I can look back at those years thinking; “it’s a charming period when their personality is shaped…” – but when you are in the middle of it, “charming” is probably not the first chosen word…

We always used “nudging” – it often worked.

Example 1:
www.sorenandersson.comIt’s winter and snow outside, you are late for kindergarten and need to quickly get the kids to put on their mittens, something they absolutely don’t want to. At that point you give them a choice – either they put on their mittens immediately or they will be ice-cold and freeze their hands of.

Example 2:
Same conditions, but now you put one pair of blue mittens and one pair of green in front of the kids and ask them which mittens they would prefer.

Which alternative do you think is the most successful one?

The task was to protect the kids from freezing their hands of, not whether they where protected by blue or green mittens. Using the immense wisdom only a parent can possess, the question was reduced from a “life-threatening crisis” to a mere “color-issue”, an issue where you could also let the kids “win”…

Let’s admit it, even when we are now adults – we would fall for that one, at least if it was “cleverly disguised” and since we actually have an opportunity to not choose any of the mittens, it cannot be regarded as coercion – this is pretty much what “nudging” is all about – giving a positiv “push” in the right direction…

…and this could easily be implemented when going for Sustainable options!

I bet you can come up with lot’s of opportunities.

Solving all problems at once…

Quite often when I read about new innovations bringing us a little closer to a Sustainable society, there are immediately comments stating all kinds of imperfections; Electric cars – but what about the batteries…, Wind-power – but what about the panorama… and so on.

It’s as if we don’t come up with a 100% perfect sustainable solution, if we don’t take every single aspect into consideration, we might as well not bother to change at all.

Sometimes you can even hear people stating that if we cannot define exactly where we are going, the risk of moving in the “wrong direction” is too big and we should therefore make even more investigations and fine-tune a more detailed goal, and maybe even draw a more accurate map with a few milestones… before we start.

www.sorenandersson.com

This kind of regressive approach won’t get us anywhere, instead it will probably create such a pile of obstacles, that the very “height” will discourage us from even trying.

Would Christopher Columbus have found his way to America, if he before departure had been forced to define exactly where he was going …?

I don’t fully understand what it is that trigger this approach. Is it fear of failure or is it perhaps a result of some people being so focused on “always being right” or “always making the smartest decisions” that any other option is totally out of the question.
Some “structure-maniacs” perhaps get the itches if they cannot draw a seamless flowchart from start to end, using whatever “ISO-standard” or framework available…
…maybe it is only normal fear of the unknown…

“Momentum needs movement”

Or as a teacher at my son’s college once said about entrepreneurship; …it is a lot about “getting your ass out of the sofa and start moving in a forward direction…

Fear of losing what we have.

“Research has shown that the regret most people feel from losing a $100 bill easily outweighs the happiness they feel when gaining a $100 bill.”

I suppose this is another reason so many people are so resistant to change – even if a current lifestyle is destructive and a new one could bring all kinds of benefits, the regret of losing what we have is holding us back.

www.sorenandersson.comAn interesting aspect is that once we have moved into something new, most people instantly regard it as the best move they have ever made, sometimes even openly demonstrating how bad the old situation was…

An example;
If you buy a new car, it is not unlikely that you immediately consider it the best one you have owned so far, and instantaneously all flaws of the old one becomes painfully obvious…

This, of course, is the way we always tend to defend our choices – nobody wants to be known as “the one making bad choices…”

So – get moving, it’ll be the best choice you have ever made!

Nudging forward…

“Nudging” has been around for ages, maybe not under this specific “designation”, but just think about all the “tips and tricks” being used by retailers in order to increase or steer our purchases.

It’s about behavioural science, and maybe a little manipulation…

…all the way from the initial “open-your-wallet” offer, convincing you to put your first item in the basket thereby ensuring that you will continue to fill it – because you’ll have to go to the cashier anyway – through smart placement of specific goods exposing you to “temptations” or subconscious choices, or making sure that you visit “the whole store” (milk – typically placed in the most distant corner), all the way to the cash-line, where your now rather bored kid’s, will try to convince you into buying some candy, conveniently placed nearby…

We all know it, we all “detest it” and we all “fall for it”…

But what if it was used to gently push you in a direction beneficial to both you and mankind… a Sustainable World?

www.sorenandersson.com