Nudging [ˈnʌʤɪŋ]

Help people make more fun, healthier and more sustainable choices through a friendly push.

Nudging has become increasingly recognized as an effective method for promoting behavioral change and guiding people in various situations. It is easy to believe that us humans are rational beings, but many decisions we make are based on emotions, autopilot or shortcuts our brain takes. A nudge can be described as a small friendly push in the right direction - without being coercive.

By designing the situation thoughtfully, one can encourage and remind people to make more conscious choices and make it easy to do the right thing.

Questions about nudging

Katharina Paoli gives a short 5 minutes introduction to what nudging is in an interview with DI TV.

Katharina Paoli Brunat gives a short 5 minutes introduction to what nudging is in an interview with DI TV.

What is nudging?

It is easy to believe that us humans are rational beings, but many decisions we make are based on emotions, autopilot or shortcuts our brain takes. Nudging as a method is focused on influencing individuals in a desired direction - without using carrot or stick. No options are added or removed, instead, the situation is designed to ease the right choice with a friendly push in the right direction.

How does nudging work?

Nudging can be used within several different sustainability areas and there are many ways you can work with nudges. For example, favorable preselections, such as two-sided printing on the printer. Another example is facilitating everyday life, and preventing common pitfalls and rules of thumb. You can also use social norms, framing messages and reminders.

It is simply about using behavioral science to design the situation so that the individual acts as he or she actually wants to - in a physical, mental or digital environment.

Exemples of tested nudges:

  • By making ashtrays more visible and using humorous messages, the number of cigarette butts put out in ashtrays can increase by 70%.
  • Using participation in the smart grid as default, electricity suppliers can increase the proportion of households that choose to participate. Read more
  • Reducing the size of the plate or bowl at buffets at e.g. hotels can lead to considerable reductions in food waste and overconsumption. Read more