We’re Very Social Creatures…

During last weeks lecture I was struck by the breadth of ideas being generated from the class based on a single design brief. These ideas ranged from cooking classes through to better ways to make people learn.

My original idea was about how to get people to better understand the value of their time and perhaps how smart technology is distorting this perception. I started looking at ‘time-rich’ people (e.g. elderly people) or perhaps ‘time-educated’ people, who have a much firmer grasp of time and get them to educate a younger generation of people on how to better appreciate their time.

One of the areas I was considering was filming elderly people and get them to talk about what time means to them. People could watch these videos and take something away from it but at the very end of the class my lecturer pointed me in the direction of behavioural change techniques as the idea I was looking to pursue was not something that was likely to have any impact. People would look at it and see a lovely granny and think ‘thats cute’ but it was highly unlikely to change peoples habits or attitudes. Instead, she suggested that I do some research into the area. So I did.

“People would look at it and see a lovely granny and think ‘thats cute’ but it was highly unlikely to change peoples habits or attitudes.”


It was all great but I then got talking to a friend of mine over the weekend and he suggested I look at the nudge theory of behavioural change. This was something that really seemed to connect with me. Like a meteor tumbling towards earth, it is possible to alter its course and ultimate self-destruction with a small nudge. I Have studied it more and finally read the book behavioural changes using this technique seems to centre around the following ideas:

“We’re very social creatures. When you see other people doing things, you tend to do the same,”

Is there a way to incorporate this into the time management project that I have been asked to look at? Well here are some the suggestions that are coming to my mind:

  1. What if work clocks stopped at 17:30 every day?
  2. What if your email account was not accessible after 18:00 each day?
  3. What if the emails weren't delivered at a weekend, even if you send it?
  4. What if there was a scoreboard of people who were most active and least active at weekends/after hours?

Who knows. Lets see where else this goes.