Creative Nudging to Fix Bad Habits of Your Partner

At the heavy weights section in a gym you can read the following text:

¨If you are too weak to return your weights, please contact the reception staff and the girls will be happy to assist you¨

This is way more friendly than:

NOTICE: Members please rerack your weights after use.

This is a nudge. A nudge differs from an order or a prohibition, it is a hidden behavioural suggestion to change or influence undesirable social behavior.

Those Awful Hats is a 1909 American shortcomedy film directed by D.W. Griffith and starring Mack Sennett. It takes place in a small, crowded movie theatre, where the patrons are perpetually distracted by people – primarily women – wearing large, ostentatious hats that obstruct everyone else’s views of the screen. The film ends with a title card reading:

“Ladies Will Please Remove Their Hats.”

An effective nudge will often make use of humor and flattery, or a sense of inadequacy.

¨Madam, how would you like to sit behind the hat hat you are wearing¨

This one seems harmless, but it is timeless;

¨Only older women are allowed to keep their hats on during the screening of the film¨

Perhaps you live together with a partner with a few bad qualities. Or you do work for a boss with quite a few irritating habits. Or your have a good friend with some disturbing behavioural unadaptednesses. . .

Instead of directing confronting her of him with -the standard way of to correct other people’s behaviour- you might design an irresistable nudge. For that, you need creative thinking and have to use tools of deliberate and systematic thinking.

So, take a person you like but would like some change in him or her.

  1. Write down some things that occasionally annoy you.
  2. Choose a creative thinking technique.
  3. Apply the creative thinking tool.
  4. Design the nudge.
  5. Record the result of your thinking in writing.
  6. Test the nudge.

Some suggestions for a creative thinking technique:


Design Your Own Creative Thinking Techniques

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