Saturday, 23 March 2013

It’s not Nudge! It is the network stupid!

Excellent review by Mathew Taylor. Me, myself and I However as you can see , as he is implying, the UK government is still in love with the  ‘Nudge Theory’ (Richard Thaler, Chicago, Behavioural Economics) behind the Behavioural Insight Unit at the UK Prime Minister Office. This love affair is not breeding much because, as Taylor would criticise referring to a book by Morozov’s

‘the ability to analyze individual behavior in granular detail (…) and the enthusiasm (…)  for behavior-changing interventions based on incentives and ‘gamification‘ leads policy makers to view all social problems as problems of individual modification not social change’

But this is problem created by the Nudge people themselves and the politicians who have believed them. 

As we say in Viral Change (TM)   , triggering behaviours is easy (‘nudge theory’) spread, sustain and maintain is the hard part. 

In Viral Change (TM)  we focus on the hard part, not because any masochistic inclinations but because without understanding spread, scale up, network effects, social influence and reinforcement mechanisms, ‘nudging’ is a disappointing tricking machine, despite its popularity, academic source and political marriages particularly at UK government level.  The ‘Individual modification’ and ‘social change’ of the paragraph above cannot  be reconciled in Nudge but they are in Viral Chang(TM)

We are planning the launch of The Viral Change (TM)Institute, which will have research, communications, education and partnership tracks. The ‘beyond nudge’ (AKA, it’s the network stupid!) will be at the core of the communication arm.

If we could get a tenth of the funding of other more glorious ‘social change initiatives’, with poor track record of changing anything, we could make some impact! All ideas welcome!

No comments: