Archive for February 2010
Homo economicus is the rational economic man; the figure used by economists to model rational decision making. Have you ever met him or shaken his hand? I certainly haven’t.
The idea of homo economicus, while perfectly practicable for the modelling of behaviour in the ‘ceteris paribus’ world of economic theory, does not sit squarely in the world which we actually live, play and do business. We, as individual actors, rarely exhibit such uniform, predicable behaviours. So what are the implications of this? What are the impacts of our actual, demonstrated, performance?
Jack Fuller, in his 2009 paper ‘Heads, you die’, explores the way in which our behaviors are able to be shaped using the concept of choice architecture – the leveraging of our predictably irrational behavior to shape choices and the outcomes of the decisions we make. Mr Fuller explores this concept in the context of public policy and outlines choice architecture in terms of both the tools available and the rationale for their use.
How else can these tools be used? What rationale and context can you explore in order to add value to your organisation and achieve the outcomes required to drive your business forward?
These five tools of choice architecture can leverage human behaviour to achieve optimal, or desired, outcomes:
1. Setting the default option in a set of choices
2. Offering ‘self-contracting’ to support commitment
3. Presenting and organising information
4. Designing physical spaces to guide behaviour
5. Supporting the development of social norms
How can you use these tools to help create positive outcomes in your space?
The exploration of choice architecture can help shape the world around us by influencing the decisions of the ‘tribe’. We have reached a stage where we must be cognisant of the way choices are laid out before us so that we can make positive decisions both for ourselves and those we expect to guide.