Five Rapid Routes to Rudimentary Nudging: From 11 minutes... to well, a bit more

31 Jul 2017 10:14 AM | Anonymous

Author: Bruce Winner, Government Training Academy,, 916.563.3232,

Five Rapid Routes to Rudimentary Nudging:

From 11 minutes… to well, a bit more

We are all busy, but we can’t afford to stop learning.  As a training professional, you are acutely aware of this.  With this in mind, read on for five ways to learn more about Nudging and how you can use this new science-based method to influence, persuade, or nudge your training participants to take positive action.

1)   What if you have only 11 minutes to spare? 

Check out this short (11 minute) YouTube Video, “Influence: The Secrets of Persuasion”, from Robert Cialdini about six ways to influence or persuade.

Cialdini is often referred to as the “Godfather of Influence” for his long involvement in the field and impact on how businesses and public organizations seek to influence others. Cialdini has sold over three million copies of his book, Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion which has been on the New York Times bestseller list many times and won numerous awards. His six principles of persuasion are presented in this short video. In his new book Pre-Suasion (2016), he introduces even more nudging concepts. I recommend his books as well, but even with 11 minutes of your time you will get a great introduction to the power of persuasion or nudging.

2)   How about 30 minutes for a few short reads?

I’m going to give you a bonus here.  Instead of one article, I’m going to recommend three and you can choose where to spend your 30 minutes.

a) Consider this short article from the New York Times that introduces you to Nudging and the authors of the book “Nudge”.  The article starts with a nudge example that will be hard for you to forget!

b) If you want to dig just a bit deeper, this article from Deloitte (the global consulting group) will give you plenty to think about. In “HR for Humans: Welcome to Behavioral Economics - The Power of the Nudge” they discuss the impact nudging can have within an organization’s HR Department.

c) Finally here is a meaty 47-page report from the government, but it has an easy to ready five-page (30 minute max) executive report. This is the first annual report from the Obama administration’s “Nudge Brigade”, or more formally known as the Social and Behavioral Science Team.  They were tasked with conducting fourteen full-scale proof of concept nudge experiments, rigorously testing them, and reporting the results.  If you have any doubt about the power of nudging, this will open your eyes.

3) Now we are getting serious.  Are you willing to give up 60-90 minutes? (Oh come on – you probably spent more time than that on YouTube yesterday!)

Have you ever experienced a MOOC (a Massive Open Online Course)?  A MOOC is an online course (in this case a free course) taught by experts in the field. MOOCs include video, text, and many extra materials.  EdX’s course, “Behavioral Economics in Action” is asynchronous (anytime in or out) and is taught by Dilip Soman, author of The Last Mile: Creating Social and Economic Value from Behavioral Insights.  Go to, sign-up (free) and search for “Behavior al Economics in Action”.  Of course you can’t take the entire course in 60-90 minutes, but you can explore the course.

4) Would you spend three to six hours if you could radically improve the results you get from your training interventions?  The three books that follow are based in solid science and field-tested results.

  • Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness;  Thaler and Sunstein; This is the book that made Nudge famous.  It is a good place to start, if you want to gain a more in-depth understanding of nudge or choice architecture.  Thaler and Sunstein continue to be the go-to consultants and academics (nationally and internationally) in the field of applied behavioral economics.
  • Inside the Nudge Unit: How Small Changes Can Make a Big Difference, David Halpern; This book is the definitive explanation of the British Government’s efforts with Nudge. They originated the E.A.S.T model, a widely used model for nudging and now travel extensively in the US and internationally training cities, states, and other organizations how to nudge.    
  • Thinking Fast and Slow; Daniel Kahneman;  Do you have a lot of time on your hands?  Want to take a deep dive into Behavioral Economics with the world’s recognized expert?  Kahneman is the 2002 Nobel Prize winner in economics who, with many others, developed the theory of behavioral economics (the scientific basis of nudging).  The award winning and best-selling book is full of solid advice and scholarship, but it is a bit of a slog at over 500 pages.

5) Give nudging a full-day!  You won’t be sorry. If you are willing to devote a day to nudging (in the company of 25 other training professionals from Sacramento), consider the upcoming one-day ATD Sacramento workshop.  You will be joining a group of other forward-thinking, empirically-minded, and action-oriented talent developers.

“Influence, Persuade, Nudge: Master the Science of Getting People to Take Action” on Friday, August 25 2017 at 1410 Ethan Way, The Los Rios CCD’s Workforce and Economic Development Center. 

This hands-on full-day workshop is another in the Fundamentals for Training Professionals Series. The workshop is led by Bruce Winner, Custom Training Manager of the Government Training Academy, LRCCD.  Bruce conducted a two-hour Nudge workshop for a sold out crowd of over 60 people in Nov 2016 and the crowd asked for a follow-up.  Here it is!

See the featured workshop here -

© ATD Sacramento Chapter

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