Over the summer shut down everyone at byrne·dean read books that are of interest to what we do on a day to day basis - creating kinder, fairer, more productive work places. I read Nudge by Richard.H.Thaler and Cass .R.Sunstein. I had had it on my shelf for a while with its sunny yellow cover and “New York Times Bestseller” tag line and the summer break meant there was no longer an excuse not to get down to reading it and I am so glad that I did. It was fascinating on a personal and professional level. 

Nudges relate to choice architecture which is the science of how we make decisions. A nudge is any aspect of that decision making context that alters people’s behaviour in a predictable way without making particular options illegal or driving decisions using significant financial incentive. 

It is basically a way of making people make better decisions. Human beings often take the easy option or the automatic option when making decisions. We also don’t always consider the right information when making that decision. We need to ensure that the automatic or easy decision is the best one and that people have the right information to nudge them towards it. 

We all have a responsibility to and benefit from encouraging good decision making and those in position of leadership or power have a greater responsibility. The book explains in detail how we make decisions and provides powerful, practical examples of nudges – small changes that can be made to decision making processes to make life better for everyone. 

It also explains the different ways to nudge behaviour. For example, it can be helpful to consider people’s need to feel part of a group by telling them that 9 out of 10 people have already done something or to design a process to make the decision you want demonstrated most to be the default. There are other fascinating examples ranging from how to increase pension contributions or charity donations to (and perhaps this is the most famous) how to reduce spillage around the toilet! 

As someone who is interested in inclusion I started to consider what nudges could help make workplaces more inclusive, but someone has already got there before me and a non-profit called Inclusion Nudges has been set up by Lisa Kepinski and Tinna C. Nielsen – it can be found at http://inclusion-nudges.org. Their aim is to share nudges which you have found effective in your workplace to increase inclusivity. They are also soon to launch a book which will list over 100 inclusion nudges – that will have to be on the next byrne·dean reading list!