Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Concept for the new year: NUDGE

One of the things you will be hearing much more about in the new year is the concept of Nudge. It's an idea put forth by two former Obama colleagues at the University of Chicago; Professor Richard Thaler and Law Professor Cass Sunstein.

It's a new approach to public policy that takes into account the odd realities of human behavior and the new behavioral research to help people, as well as government agencies, companies and charities, make better decisions.

It's a new look at what they call Choice Architecture. Here's how they describe it:
Choice architecture is the context in which you make your choice. Suppose you go into a cafeteria. What do you see first, the salad bar or the burger and fries stand? Where's the chocolate cake? Where's the fruit? These features influence what you will choose to eat, so the person who decides how to display the food is the choice architect of the cafeteria. All of our choices are similarly influenced by choice architects. The architecture includes rules deciding what happens if you do nothing; what's said and what isn't said; what you see and what you don't. Doctors, employers, credit card companies, banks, and even parents are choice architects.
My Conversation with Richard Thaler: