Thunk #1 | What if… leading change and improvement is all about the nudge?

Dan Nicholls

Nudge

“Nudges are ways of influencing choice” (Hausman & Welch 2010) …a fundamental aspect in education.

The behavioural insights team, led by David Halpern, commonly known as the “nudge unit” was set up by David Cameron to “help people make better choices for themselves… (by gentle prompting or nudging).” The art of leadership, teaching and sparking change is often in the ability of “nudging” new ways of acting, learning and thinking in others.

Nudges are similar in nature to other powerful change agents: butterflies (Brighouse), bright spots (Heaths) or positive deviants (Sternin)… those outliers present in any population that, when amplified, have the power to leverage change and improvement. Thaler et al. highlight that there are influential strategies (nudges) that leaders can use as choice architects to influence choice and behaviour.

So leaders are choice architects; determining the environment in which noticed and un-noticed features influence the decisions that staff and students make. Leaders have…

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