SmartFeedback and 'Nudging' Govt and citizens towards better public services - The Nobel effect
This year's Nobel prize for Economics was awarded to Professor Richard Thaler for his work in moving economics toward a more realistic understanding of human behaviour and for using the resulting insights to improve public policies.
Prof Thaler had authored a book “Nudge,” about helping people to make better decisions. Policy makers, Prof. Thaler and his co-author Prof. Cass Sunstein argue can nudge people to save more, invest better, consume more intelligently, use less energy, and live healthier lives.
Conversely, the Feedback provided by citizens can be used to more effectively gauge public policies, understand the consumption of public services, their efficiency and unarguably about making it better.
" Conversely, the Feedback provided by citizens
can be used to more effectively gauge public
policies, understand the consumption of public
services, their efficiency and unarguably
about making it better. "
From this work, in the UK David Cameron created a Cabinet Office policy unit - The Behavioural insights Team aimed at nudging people into making better choices. It was then carved out and re-launched as a joint venture mutual company that sells its services to government.
This team, established to 'nudge' the English into making better decisions has provided a return more than 20 times its original investment within two years, its CEO said in an FT article. The team conducted trials across almost area of domestic policy - over 150 areas and the results have been astounding. Not all of them are around Feedback alone, but also on notifying citizens in truly personal ways. One can imagine how this can be undertaken as an action to Feedback provided.
In another subsequent book 'Inside the Nudge Unit' by its CEO David Halpern which describes this work further, Prof Sunstein provides an insightful intro - "He created a new institution that is using behavioral science to save money, to promote freedom, and to extend people’s lives...There is no better guide to governance in the twenty-first century."
Gaia's Smart Feedback unit addresses precisely this space. Over 30 cities in India are using it to gather insights on public services. Some have extended it further to have a direct financial impact based on the feedback provided. From a progressive condition where 16 marks are awarded to Measurement and Effectiveness, the municipalities have found this as a transparent means to gather data and guide themselves. A transparent data environment envisioned by Prof. Thaler holds profound implications for leaders. “Strategies that are based on obscuring the consumer’s choice,” argues Thaler, will not be “good long-term strategies.” in an interview with McKinsey.
Its early days for Gaia's Smart Feedback, but it appears promising and headed in the right direction. The Nobel prize for work in this nascent socio-economic domain is reaffirmation of the importance of this area of citizen engagement and of transparent, unbiased data – be it implicit or explicit. If you'd like to talk with us on how we can help you with Smart Feedback, drop us a note at email@example.com