19 December 2010

Nudge, Think, Shove: Shifting Values and Attitudes Towards Sustainability

Sourced from Involve web site, December 2010

Nudge, Think or Shove? [pdf]

'Pursuing sustainability requires widespread shifts in public behaviour. This briefing builds on a recent House of Lords roundtable jointly organised by the DEA and Involve to consider three broad approaches to influencing public behaviour: ‘nudge', ‘think' and ‘shove'.

The paper considers the benefits and drawbacks of each, and explores how the three approaches can complement one another.

It finds that:

- ‘Nudge' is effective for specific, limited shifts in behaviour such as recycling.

- ‘Think' is effective at building support and legitimacy for the big, transformational changes that we need in society, such as decarbonising the economy. ‘Think' can be particularly powerful in building people's ability and motivation to participate in and drive those transformational changes.

- ‘Shove' often helps to create the conditions under which ‘nudge' is most effective.

Building on these insights, the paper starts to sketch out an optimal mix of ‘nudge', ‘think' and ‘shove', which uses the best of all three approaches to transform social values and attitudes towards sustainability at the pace we need.'

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