Implications (what worked, what did not work)
After performing this nudge, I asked myself: Can a tiny graph on the door of the bathroom really work in influencing our water usage when showering? And this experiment unfortunately yielded mixed results …
On the one hand, I was happy to see that 2 of my roommates felt “pressured” and “shocked” because they were the ones consuming more in our apartment, and because they finally realized how much water was used when showering. Both were aware of the water crisis and how water is becoming scarcer. However, none knew exactly how much water they were using. Therefore, after seeing the graph on the door, they both immediately tried to reduce their time under the shower and the number of times they…show more content…
Simplifying information about water usage and making it easily available is certainly important, but not enough. Creating a competitive atmosphere has proved to be a crucial way to trigger action. Indeed, I am convinced that this approach encourages people to act because they know the other is capable of doing it, so “why not me as well?”. In this way, I believe that the nudge can be a promising tool to use, and it has proved its success for two of my roommates, at least in the short-term.
However, can nudge alone be an effective strategy for changing behaviour on the kind of scale needed to solve society’s major ills? Not so sure…
My findings from this experiment summarise the complexities associated with influencing consumer behaviour by nudging. I realized how a “one size fits all” approach will not always achieve the desired outcomes. Indeed, for some people the money savings/incentives appears to be the most attractive way to influence them, while for others the sense of “doing the right thing”, “following others” and helping the water environment will have more influence. In general, what might prove successful with one group of individuals and at one point in time, might not be successful for another group of…show more content…
Nudges do not restrict consumer choice. Thus this kind of influence might be too soft, and thus too small to scale up.
Another potential problem with nudges is that we do not yet know whether these interventions will work in the long-term.
Equally important, early research on social comparison feedback suggested that some consumers who initially consume much less than average might increase their consumption when they are informed of how much the average consumer consumes, which would make sense since social comparison feedback aims to “show people what is normal”.
My last critique revolves around a more personal approach: although nudging might be successful in some cases, I feel like just getting someone to do something differently once is not enough. I believe that in order to create real behavioural change we need to transform attitudes from the inside. People need to be engaged in a way that creates a change of heart, so that their choices come from their deepest values and become integral to their lives. What is missing with nudges is that we are not calling for people’s internal willingness to
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