President’s Corner: August 2009


In a rare window of free time, I recently found myself indulging in one of my favorite things – non-fiction. Anyone who has talked to me in the last couple of weeks is likely tired of hearing me cite Nudge (Thaler and Sunstein), so what better idea than to share it with my fellow Net Impacters.

Nudge examines the design of decision-making and suggests that there are better ways to structure choice architecture to give people an increased chance to choose more wisely. This could be as simple as setting a better default. Car industry anyone? Another and not so surprisingly way to nudge someone is to inform them about what others are doing. Yes indeed; it turns out peer pressure works rather effectively off the playground as well and in a very positive direction. Imagine being asked to trade in your SUV for a Prius. If 9 out of 10 people drove a Prius, might you wonder what you were missing? The human instinct is to conform, whether we fancy ourselves pioneers or not.

The book covers many different areas of life, including the global call to action to stem or to reverse human impact on the planet. The question asked is, why are so many people AND governments still not listening or acting? Where are there opportunities to improve individuals’ chances of making a better choice, either by making all choices “good” choices or by offering some insight or trend about what others are doing? Some progress is being made, but I bet each of us could identify several opportunities to manifest change in both our personal and professional lives by borrowing from the pool of nudges (

So, I am inviting you to consider what influences your decisions and how you influence others in the sustainability and CSR space. What do you keep saying you “should” do, but haven’t gotten around to it yet (eg. biking to work, joining a CSA, upgrading to energy star). Think about becoming a lifetime member of Net Impact, committing to attend the next event, getting to know another Net Impact member and telling someone new about Net Impact. If history and behavioral science hold true, you will see a positive difference in yourself and in others.

Be well and be sure to nudge someone this month (including yourself)!

Kind regards,

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