The Association for Qualitative Research
The Hub of Qualitative Thinking

Bringing a "Day in the Life" to life

The latest in AQR's Spark events was billed as lifting the cloak of invisibility to show how Behavioural Economics is all around nudging and steering our behavior 24/7.

Crawford Hollingsworth of the Behavioural Architects treated a
packed room to a ‘Day in the life of Crawford’. Our hero Crawford
(who was clearly packing a full life into one day without so much
as a super suit or cape) really brought to life how a range of
norms and biases are part of his everyday, all day — and then
used these moments to illustrate a behaviour change achieved in
the ‘real world’.

A contract on the fridge with his children to take statins showcases how drug adherence in Diabetes has been improved; being chased by the Census who let him know that most others had already completed theirs (probably way back in 2011); his bike ride to work allowed us to explore messaging that can start to challenge motorists’ beliefs that all cyclists jump lights and so are a general menace to the rest of us — as well as corralling those few who do jump the lights to think again; how design and messaging ‘Dine in for 2’ at M&S tapped into “I was meant to be taking my wife out to dinner, what do I do now?” moment.

Crawford’s action packed ‘day in the life’ and fabulously engaging way of taking us through it led to a very animated Q&A — discussing how some norms may/may not be slightly different for more collectivist cultures or cultures that are not so swayed by the ‘in the now’.

Discussion also strayed on to some very high profile examples of social norms that impacted the Obama election (getting likely supporters out to vote rather than staying at home by simply promising it’ll be a huge turnout, people who might have stayed at home went and voted). Debate continued about a number of different topics, including how companies which extend across a range of sectors are increasingly exploring how to use behavioural science in communications.

I’m sure many of us came away to look more closely at our own lives, to be more alive to where and how we are also being steered and keep a ‘nudge watch’ in our own day to day.

 

Caroline Noon
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2016