We always love hearing from Nudge readers about their experiences reading and reacting to the book. Did it spark new ideas? Did it change their outlook on their surroundings? Did it inspire them to put nudges into practice? One such reader was Kylee Britzman, who read Nudge in a political decision making class at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. As part of the class, students had to devise their own nudges. Britzman graciously relayed some of them to us.
We spent a large portion of the semester grappling with our different problems, which were either social or political in nature. Some examples are as follows: getting people to exercise more, stop drunken driving, and transparency of moneyed interests during political campaigns. Here are some of the original nudges our class came up with.
• Increase Exercise
o Put signs next to elevators reminding people that using the stairs will be more beneficial to their health and will help burn additional calories.
o Also, put signs in parking spots that encourage people to park further away to increase their exercise by walking a longer distance.
o Finally, give businesses a computer software program that sends pop-up reminders to employees giving them suggestions for simple ways to increase exercise throughout the workday.
• Decrease Drunk Driving
o Put up signs that give statistics about how many drinks people have on average (encouraging people to drink less).
o Have bars give the designated driver of a group a coupon for a free drink the next time they come to the bar.
• Moneyed Interests
o Use a color-coded system that shows the amount of money campaigns have spent during the election. This would be widely season throughout the campaign season and would also appear on the ballot.
o Give candidates with certain color ratings incentives for not spending as much money during elections.
Before suggesting our nudges we had to identify why this was a problem and who was affected. We also had to play devil’s advocate and suggest reasons why our nudges might not work in practice. As groups presented we were their peer jury and critiqued their nudges while also giving our own suggestions to improve the nudges. Each of us then had to individually write essays in which we took our classmates’ suggestions to think even more critically about the nudges we designed. What began as a simple class project turned into something larger. I was indeed nudged by Nudge to find instances in everyday life where choice architecture could be devised. I also became passionate about the potential that nudges can have.
If your class is reading (or has read) Nudge, we’d be interested to hear what it thought — positive and negative. And if your class generated any nudge ideas, send them our way so we can share them with other Nudge blog readers.
Tags: college course