Nudgespotting: Buying a Nudge

BY: SUMAN GIDWANI (IDEAS42)

These three innovative products leverage behavioral science to help us keep some of our most precious resources –- money, ideas, and energy –- from slipping away from us.

 

USING LOSS PRINCIPLES FOR GAIN

Ah, the relief of the first sip of your morning coffee. With a swipe of your credit card, you have a cup of joe in your hands and the stress melts away. But while credit cards have made it easy for us to spend $4 on a coffee, they’ve made it harder to immediately realize that our wallets are lighter. Just think about how many times a month you get a coffee on your way to work; before you know it, you can be almost $100 down. 

Research has shown that paying with cash makes people more mindful of how much they spend because giving up physical bills is more psychologically painful than mindlessly swiping a credit card. But on the other hand, credit cards are much more convenient than carrying around a fat wallet full of cash. Luckily, Scrip may offer a solution: by requiring you to swipe your thumb over the device (as if you are counting cash) and showing you your new balance, it helps to mimic the psychological pain of cash transactions.

Scrip makes using your credit card a bit more like spending cash. [image]

And because it’s difficult to part with cash, people often feel more connected to an object when they use cash rather than a credit card. So maybe that first sip of coffee will be even tastier with Scrip.

 

NO MORE GREAT IDEAS DOWN THE DRAIN

Humans are forgetful. Our prospective memory, the name for the memory we use to recall actions that we need to complete in the future, often fails us. If you’re like me and do a lot of your best thinking in the shower, this poses a problem. While "shower thinking" leads to most of my eureka moments, I never have a way to record them. And once I’m out of the shower, I’m rushing out the door. My idea is lost, perhaps forever.

Enter Aqua Notes, a waterproof notepad that uses suction cups to attach to your shower wall. Instead of taking a chance with my prospective memory, I’m able to record my ideas in the moment before they get washed away.

Can Aqua Notes help prevent prospective memory failure? [image]

 

SALIENCE: IT'S ELECTRIC

If you leave your phone plugged in after it's fully charged, it can turn into a vampire. Well, not exactly. But it can continue to suck a significant amount of power – dubbed “vampire power” – that takes a toll on the environment. According to the Department of Energy, one fourth of the power consumed by home electronics is done so while they are turned off. A fully charged cell phone still plugged into the wall can consume 60% of the power it consumed while charging. For a laptop, that number goes up to 66%.

Could a cord that visualizes the the flow of electricity help us use less? [image]

Could a cord that visualizes the the flow of electricity help us use less? [image]

In order to make this sort of electricity consumption more salient, this phone charger visualizes the electricity flowing into your phone. When it stops flowing, the phone is fully charged, and its time to unplug. But will users react when the charger stops lighting up? Or would it be more effective if the charger lit up once the phone finished charging, giving a clear signal it’s time for you to unplug?

Readers, what do you think? And do you know of any other behaviorally-informed products that can help us improve our daily lives?