Last Updated Mar 6, 2008 5:42 PM EST
While "Nudge" aims as much at policy makers as business executives, the concept will hold attraction for companies, which already provide nudges to people by doing things like automatically enrolling them in 401(k) plans, or letting customers opt-out of having data shared. Companies, especially in this age of 'consumerization,' want new ways to deal with customers who think things should be personalized for them, Gen Y employees that don't believe in hierarchy and above all, ways to avoid government regulation. Nudging might get them there.
But the dark side of nudging is that it would seem to actually act to limit choice -- by nudging, companies are creating an incentive for something to happen. This may be fine for retirement savings, but what about innovation? Managers don't usually give employees the chance to pick which goals they'll achieve, for instance, or in what timeframe (and yes, companies like Google present exceptions to that rule). Nor do many companies like having customers get too many choices.
Here's a nudge for you: make a comment about what you think.