According to Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein, authors of Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness, actively selecting the “choice architecture” can influence the choice that is made. In other words, you can present choices in such a way that nudges someone in the direction of the choice you want them to make. To influence change, design choices.
Some of the design factors you might consider are:
- Location: Place the choice you want people to select in the most readily available or visible spot.
- Number of choices: Keep the number of choices small, so people don’t become overwhelmed and give up.
- Limited choices: Limit the options to the ones you want people to select from. When I offer my kids breakfast, I give them the choice of Cheerios or Rice Krispies – not Cheerios or cookies!
- Relative choices: Since people compare between the options they are given, offer choices that are not as desirable compared to the one you want them to make.
- Requirement: Force someone to make a decision (any decision), to help jolt them out of the status quo.
- Default: Make the default option the one you want people to select.
People generally want the freedom to make their own decisions. When they make their own decisions, they feel more ownership and commitment toward the choice they make. As a change agent, you can guide those decisions by designing their choices.
How might you design choices?
Read more of the 99 Ways to Influence Change.