Creative Nudging of Ideas
Our world is complex. In complex systems small changes may lead to significant effects. Creative nudging ideas is a way to change human behaviors using simple, but highly creative ideas that may change our habits, behaviors, perception and businesses to the better if only we could observe them. Being small, our bias is to neglect them. But in the process we pass up great opportunities to make the desired changes voluntarily and with great successes at very low costs.
Nudging ideas was theorized by the Noble Prize winner Richard Thaler. One great example is what the authorities did in London. Soccer fans used to throw cigarettes on the streets. To nudge smokers to abandon this habit the Environmental organization Hubbub came up with the creative idea that appealed to the fans. A hot issue for soccer fans was and still who is the greatest soccer player between Messi and Ronaldo. So, the organization used a booth asking fans to express their opinion as judged by the number of smoked cigarettes in the booth. Linking an emotional issue with throwing cigarettes dropped the litter of cigarettes by a whopping 80%. As much as difficult it is so change human behavior, a creative nudge proved to be successful.
I describe the above example as “Cause Nudging”, in emulation of cause marketing. You bring a cause that appeals to the public and divert their habits to new ones. No control, no supervision, no penalties and no threats as the emerging new behaviors are self-motivated. Once few people build the habit beyond a threshold number the whole process becomes spontaneous.
There is a potential in creating new nudges from spontaneous behaviors. For example, the famous example of pendulums of watching of clocks hanging from a wall start after a short while to synchronize their movement. No matter how the pendulums on these clocks began, within about a half-hour, they ended up swinging in exactly the opposite direction from each other. As pendulums move back and forth, sound pulses could travel through the wall from clock to clock. These pulses can interfere with the swings of the pendulums, eventually causing them to synchronize.
Humans apparently behave similarly. One example is people attending a concert start clapping first chaotically, but soon they synchronize their clapping and it becomes musical. The self-drive desire here is that chaotic clapping is not expressive of their appreciation and soon the pulse of one clapper transfers to the neighbor and to the next. Soon we have synchronicity. Again, no one asked for synchronicity because it was self-driven to achieve a higher cause- true appreciation for the concert. Isn’t clapping similar to the pendulums of clocks hanging in a wall?
We may view the cigarettes example above as if people have hidden pendulums inside them and to express their collective clapping they vote all in one place.
I am thinking of having many ideas hanging from our brains each with its pendulum. The pendulums move chaotically, but soon their impulses may create a new environment that cause the ideas to synchronize their “clapping”. It is when we believe our ideas are worthy and that greater and more creative ideas emerge. If there is no big cause to direct interest to that is greater than ourselves no synchronization shall happen. History tells us that penicillin was discovered because the researcher Fleming was working towards a noble purpose. His observation of a petri dish that was free of molds was the nudging observation he waited for. Hadn’t he been working on a cause that was greater than himself would he have made this observation?
Fish synchronize their movement. Fireflies synchronize their glowing. It all happens when the individual serves a cause that may reward him with the Ah moment of creativity. A single hand doesn’t clap. Many hands may clap chaotically unless there is a genuine appreciation for others. Minds will swing chaotically each for its own goals. But if there is a greater purpose than the single and egoistic desires then these minds shall synchronize their thinking to the music of newly-born creative ideas.
This is the concert of ideas that we search for.