Wednesday, Mar. 11, 2020
Choice Architect – the Nudge book
I recently read several encouraging articles online, talking about this new book on my radar:
I ordered a copy, put it on the nightstand pile.
One morning last week, I cracked it open.
The way you crack an egg into hot pan.
You get the sizzle right away …
I highly recommend its first chapter for 4:30AM awakening.
Set your alarm, set your Casper Glowlight to come on, have your reading glasses atop your reading pile – this is, to some degree, being a choice architect.
No different than organizing food choices in the cafeteria, no different than a merchant arranging goods (or groceries) in a store. There are many parallels in work/life/commerce alluded to in that opening chapter.
The takeaway is that Madison Avenue and White House staffers are not the only ones in the choice architecture business.
We all know this.
How am I sure I know this?
Let me count the ways …
Poignantly, I’ve been having some conversations and meetings lately with a consulting client; he owns a building, he could not get his new tenant ‘straightened around.’ He’s engaged me to help. Progress is being made. I’m not sure yet if we are at a sticky-mid point in the muck crossing a fast-flowing creek of ideas, issues, conflict, or if we are heading to shore… . I think the latter.
What I realized, from Chapter One of Nudge, is that I’ve been a choice architect – both in advice to this client, and in requests/demands upon his Tenant.
I’m neither negotiator nor mediator, I don’t have a dog in this fight.
I’ve realized I’ve been a choice architect for most of my adult life.
It is part of sales, part of parenting, and part of relationships of many kinds – and as my voice mail message indicates, I’m helping people avoid making poor decisions. How? By arranging ideas, walking them through a decision making process, a property vetting process – and often something as simple as arranging the Agenda for a meeting. Sequence matters. What is on the Agenda matters, and, often, very importantly, hot-button issues that are purposefully left off the Agenda?
Not because they will come up anyway, but by being the architect of this process, I am the architect – having a little design charrette, the quiet hand behind the discussion, that hand is on the steering wheel.
We are all choice architects, for ourselves and for others. At work, at play. In our kitchens, on our playgrounds, in workshops and boardrooms. Advertising merchants know this, grocers know this. Kids wanting their way know this. Parents know this.
What I like a lot already, is being Nudged to see how obviously these orchestrations (or manipulations) are as part of everyone’s life.
I find myself asking – am I steering, or being steered?
It may take a while to work through this book. Reading bits in the wee hours is a good start, but maybe I’ll crack it again this evening. I don’t know yet if this book is going to be a seminal influence on me, but I sense it might – in part because of what it is, in part, because of where I am right now.
Thought provoking and yet such common sense analysis … thanks Mark!, SF, Lethbridge, AB
Motherhood motivated many moves in me. :), GB, Waukesha, WI