Finding the sweet spot between the hard and the soft stuff

Rory Sutherland tells a lovely story about a psychological solution to deaths at traffic lights in Korea by simply introducing a count down display at red traffic lights.

The sweet spot, as he calls it, is where technology, psychology and economics meet.

‘we artificially prioritise mechanistic ideas over psychological ideas’

Rory Sutherland, Advertising guru

The ‘sweet spot’ in human decision making

There are three actions we are currently taking:

  1. Gathering and sharing the latest knowledge through seminars and updates – so sign up for the emails

  2. Working collaboratively with companies that are purpose driven to make attitudinal change happen.

  3. Working with academics and think tanks to help develop new thinking.

The role emotions play on our decision-making

The world we all see is very different, each of us sees things not as it is but as we construct based on our memories and belief systems.  These beliefs are drawn more often from the primitive parts of our brain (Reptilian/instinctive and Limbic/emotions) than they are by the more expansive thinking part (the Neocortex). This means we are more influenced by fear than we are by hope. More influenced by short-term rewards than by longer-term objectives. More influenced by our own consumption than by helping others. More influenced by our mortality than by what good we can do in this world.

Ask yourself these simple question and see how your belief systems may influence your decisions:

Let’s start with an easy one. Do wasps have a purpose? If you believe they don’t then you’re more likely to kill one than release one. But wasps do have a purpose. Despite their poor public image, wasps are incredibly important for the world’s economy and ecosystems. Without them, the planet would be pest-ridden to biblical proportions, with much reduced biodiversity. They are a natural asset of a world dominated by humans, providing us with free services that contribute to our economy, society and ecology.

Now the more difficult. Do you believe people are inherently good or bad? Ask yourself what percentage of the population this applies to? Finally ask yourself to what level are we all equal, how do different communities differ in their capacity to be good or bad? Now think how much that influences you decision on who to vote for, which causes you would or wouldn’t support, or even which restaurants to go to?

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