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Are “nudge” policies pushing their luck?
Brian Tarran, Research Live, 28 Feb 2012

An Ipsos survey of nearly 19,000 people in 24 countries found that 36% of people agree with two contradictory statements: that government should change the law so that everyone has to enrol in a pension scheme, and that government should not get involved in what people choose to save for retirement.

Retirement planning was one of four policy areas where Ipsos chose to explore attitudes to behaviour change interventions, the others being eating unhealthy foods, smoking and the environment.

Across the board, Ipsos found majorities in support of these types of government interventions, which have gained in popularity among politicians globally following the 2008 publication of the book Nudge, by Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler. Yet an average of 50% of people surveyed also agreed that government should not get involved in people’s decisions in each policy area.

Whether they choose to ‘nudge’ or ‘shove’, it seems governments will only succeed in changing public behaviours if the public themselves are prepared to do so. This runs counter to the idea that you can bring about change quickly and unobtrusively by dint of a cleverly-designed intervention that plays to the quirks and mental short-cuts inherent in consumer decision-making.

Celebrate intrinsic motivations, don’t replace them:

Recognise the positive emotions users (particularly creators) get from their actions in their own right. Find ways to celebrate and enable these rather than replace them with extrinsic motivation.

Planning in High Heels | Game Over? When play becomes mechanical

I’ve just joined Face as a researcher in the Wired team, doing real-time research & social media things. Biggest challenge so far is keeping up with the quantity of ideas coming from Marion Ren, so I’ve been doing my gamification homework to make sure I’ve got an understanding of what’s hype and what’s valuable.

The above is valuable to remember. I’ve been thinking vaguely that some kind of gold star top user badge has more currency if it’s awarded by people (maybe community mods, maybe better your peers) rather than an algorithm. Because if you want contributions that are useful to people, you want recognition that comes from people - not an algorithm.