Top #8 Sunday Reads – #12

Sharing a few bits and pieces from the last week;

1. Great write-up on the so called Ministry of Nudges in the UK via the New York times

At the core of nudging is the belief that people do not always act in their own self-interest. We can be undone by anxiety and swayed by our desire to fit in. We have biases and habits, and we can be lazy: Faced with a choice, we are more likely than not to go with a default option, be that a mobile ringtone or a pension plan.

2. Another reminder via the Economist of the power of emotion in advertising – in part inspired by the thinking of Daniel Kahneman, a champion psychologist.

3. Here’s an elegant way to define the power of behavioural economics – by defining what it’s not – via Ideas42

4. A beautiful film that communicates the message of sustainability – Work Wear, by Patagonia

5. Great series & partnership between W+K and D&AD. Called I wish I’d done that, it features some the best in advertising and design talking about work they wish they’d done. In this example from W+K, founder Dan Wieden shares a wonderful idea focused on shifting cultural attitudes toward climate change.

6. A beautiful and respectful film to help build awareness for the International Day of Persons with Disabilities – “Because who is perfect?”. Created for Pro Infirmis, an organization for the disabled, the idea is original and confronting yet thought provoking.

7. In this lovely idea by the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, “touch tours” are being offered for visitors who are blind and visually-impaired.

8. A perhaps my favourite video of the past few weeks. The folks at RSA created a charming and inspiring animation of a talk by Brené Brown in which she describes the difference between empathy and sympathy. Via the always brilliant Brain Pickings


Top 11 Sunday reads – #6

Here’s my summary of behaviour change stuff that has inspired me this past week.

1. Via the RSA, Transforming Behaviour Change – beyond Nudge and Neuromania. I’m yet to read this, but at first glance, looks well worth a look over my Sunday morning coffee.

2. Interesting Behavioural Insights toolkit from the Social Research and Evaluation Division, Department of Transport (London).

3. Great little interview (via the BBC) with Aza Raskin as he proposes a design renaissance in healthcare by making it easier and more enjoyable to use. Hat Tip @dickstar

4. Great graph showcasing the growth and reach of “Prospect Theory”. Hat tip @mhallsworth

5. Presentations available for download from last week’s Social Marketing Conference in the UK.

6. Great post here on the opportunities and differences of intrinsic and extrinsic motivations in gaming.

7. RSA keynote with Mark Earls and Alex Bentley launching their new book “I’ll have what she’s having“.

8. Does this change your mind about Afghanistan? Beautiful!

9. The Holstee Manifesto: Lifecycle Video. Lovely. Just makes me want to hop on my bike and ride. Making change fun and desirable.

10. An update on the growing movement (fueled by Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution) in the US away from flavoured milk in schools.

11. If you haven’t seen this already, the below is a great list from BJ Fogg on the top 10 mistakes in Behaviour Change.

View more presentations from Persuasive Technology Lab at Stanford

Top 7 Sunday reads – #5

Here’s a few of my favourite bits and pieces from the past week, mostly around the theme of behaviour change and health promotion. I hope they’re helpful. Also, don’t forget to join in the growing community at #behaviourchange and #behaviorchange for a constant source of inspiration and fresh thinking.

1. A great interview on BBC – Radio 4 this past week on Nudging and behavioural economics (including a discussion with Nudge author Richard Thaler). It’s a nice intro to the overall theory as well as an update on various initiatives being launched by the Cabinet Office Behavioural Insight Team. Hat Tip @DivaCreative

2. A handy chart on 8 potential ways of applying Behavioural Economics theory for behaviour change. Rather than a silver bullet, it does start to shift us more toward a direction that goes with the grain of how people think.  And that’s a big step up from older models. Hat tip @mhallsworth and thoughts from Mark Earls here

3. This article via the LA Times focuses on the positive behaviour change impacts that can come from harnessing pride. For anyone (like me) who believes in shrinking the change by focusing where possible on the positive impact of change, rather than the negative, it’s a great reminder. For others, it may provoke some discussion or alternate views – via @aaronsklar

4. Lovely thoughts as always from Russell Davies in Wired. Here he talks about secondary thinking, and how designers are creating tools for stuff that gets half our attention. Also check out his inspired post on the Internet of Things.

5. For pure inspiration and beauty, this is incredible. Sophie Windsor Clive and Liberty Smith were canoeing along the River Shannon in Ireland, when they were treated to a mind-blowing show by a flock of starlings (or murmuration). Talk about right place, right time. Just stunning!

6. It seems appropriate after the above video to post this article in Psychology Today, focused on debunking the myth of human exceptionalism.

Of course we are exceptional in various arenas as are other animals. Perhaps we should replace the notion of human exceptionalism with species exceptionalism, a move that will force us to appreciate other animals for who they are, not who or what we want them to be.

Animals are not only a source of inspiration, but I think their interactions provide us with much to learn when it comes to helping us better understand our own behaviour.


7. And finally, a little something from Lady Gaga. Last year I did a talk at the agency on what she can teach us about branding. And this week, she’s again demonstrated what can come from having a singular point of view and passion, and backing it up. She’s always embraced her fans and helped them celebrate their uniqueness – her “Little Monsters” as she calls them. Her Born This Way Foundation is a further demonstration of this focus – as it works to empower youth and drive change around issues such as bullying and abandonment.  You can read more here.

Top 11 Sunday reads

My blogging has been a little slack lately – but with a renewed focus, I’m hoping to get going again. I thought I’d kick it off with  an updated list of some of the stuff that has inspired me over the last few weeks. It might be of interest to anyone while enjoying a weekend cuppa.

1. A link to the UK Insights team and their thinking on sustainable development.

2. The Fearless Cottage blog is an “informal clubhouse” for inspired and fresh thinkers. Led by Alex Bogusky (co-founder of Common), you can catch up on how the latest generation of concerned citizens are helping drive a new era in sustainability.

3. The Guardian Sustainability blog is always a great resource

4. Great list of top 10 links on green behaviour change initiatives

5. The Natural Change Project is a fascinating report documenting the efforts by the 2011 WWF team (Scotland) to cultivate new leaders in sustainability. Nicely presented as well.

6. This article from Wired talks about how we’re inherently social animals. The influence of others change how we tell stories about the past.

7. Via the International Journal of Advertising, this is a wonderful article by Faris Yakob outlining some great books for anyone interested in marketing, communications and a deeper understanding of human behaviour.

8. The British Psychological Society’s report on the psychological impacts of childhood obesity

9. Check out The Guardian’s new and very clever Twitter-based search assistant – @GuardianTagBot. As they say “It’s rather like playing fetch with our articles, videos, galleries and audio.” I’ve tried it – works quite nicely.

10. I wrote about Chipotle’s wonderful work on an earlier post. Here’s a follow up – again, wonderful storytelling. It’s great to see a brand with a clear purpose. You can find more at


11. And finally…A wonderful video on Beauty – part of The Feynman Series.

Top 8 sunday reads

Here’s a few of my favourite links and video’s from the past week on all things behaviour change related . And just a suggestion to follow the Twitter streams at #behaviourchange and #behaviorchange for a constant source of inspiration and fresh thinking

1.The Unexamined Society by David Brooks. He reminds us that we’re in the golden age of behavioural research, so we can do better. Hat tip to @carolharnett

2.An essay from Mark Earls, and an extract from Digital Advertising; Past, Present and Future. As the champion of Herd theory, he reminds us again of the power of the social, and why we need get beyond the idea of “influencers” as a driver of behaviour.Via @creativesocial

Too many of us are still using ideas about human behaviour transposed (uncritically) from the old world. Take, for example, the notions about influentials and influence being peddled by the social media gang. On the one hand, the science is quite clear that most human social networks are not structured in the hub-and-stroke way that the influential hypothesis would require; on the other hand, things are a lot messier in the real world on- and offline. Influence is often mutual and many-directional. It’s not a one-way street, like some kind of human-enabled information micro-broadcast system!

3. False Choices. The bright lights of The Big Society.  A challenge to the Big Society, and the challenge that comes from the “paradox of choice”. Via @theRSAorg

4. Another reminder on the impact of our environment in the choices we make. In this case, the power of smell. Hat Tip @johnxkenny

5. A detailed report by the British Psychological Society on Understanding Bipolar Disorder. Available free for download through July

6. Another nicely presented plan by the Cabinet Office’s Behavioural Insight Team – this one focused on nudging people toward energy efficiency.

7. A reminder of the power of emotional storytelling. Hat tip @anna_planna


8. And for something a little light – some emergency safety advice. Via American Red Cross Oregon Trail Chapter and Failblog. Hat Tip @KarenSnider