#ogilvychange and Nudge Unit support Nudgeathon

22 June 2015

Warwick Business School is inviting teams of students from all over the world to take part in a two-day competition called a Nudgeathon to solve an intractable problem using behavioural insights - popularly known as ‘nudges’.

Using theories from behavioural science, nudges have been used to solve a range of issues from persuading more people to pay their taxes on time to helping households have their lofts insulated.

Based on the idea of Hackathons, which brings programmers together to solve a computing issue, the Nudgeathon will charge teams to tackle a societal problem by helping people change their behaviour, such as by aiding them to exercise or save more, or to recycle.

Nick Chater, Professor of Behavioural Science and part of the Behavioural Science Group at WBS, said: “The main objective of the Nudgeathon is to develop an implementable solution to an important and topical social issue. Students will work on a real social problem, suggested by The Behavioural Insights Team, with the aim of helping people make and implement better choices.

“Our first Nudgeathon was a great success, and we have gone on to help organise a Nudgeathon in Sweden with organisations in Canada and Singapore also interested in holding one. This time we want to expand it to attract teams from around the globe. Since a Nudgeathon is all about creativity and novelty, we are looking for teams to be made up of students with backgrounds which are as diverse as possible, from psychology to computer science and beyond.

“The winning idea could well go on to be used by The Behavioural Insights Team or by others - we’re serious about using good solutions, if we can.”

The Nudgeathon will be supported by two high profile organisations known for their innovative approaches to behavioural change. The Behavioural Insights Team - sometimes known as the ‘Nudge Unit’ - which was set up by the UK government to investigate how behavioural science can be deployed to help build a better society, will be setting the problem to be addressed by the Nudgeathon. 

While #ogilvychange, the behavioural science practice of Ogilvy & Mather, one of the largest marketing communications companies in the world, will be supplying a team of their own to take part, though it won’t be part of the competition.

Rory Sutherland, Ogilvy & Mather UK Vice-Chairman, said: "We are delighted to be contributing to this and wholeheartedly support the approach. If you want to create the most social value in the shortest time at the lowest cost, there is nothing to beat the invention of a really good nudge."

The first prize is £500, with £250 for the runners-up and the teams of four to six will be given three workshops ahead of the competition on creativity, behavioural science and design. Executives from The Behavioural Insights Team will be on the judging panel.

Umar Taj, a WBS PhD student and the main coordinator for the Nudgeathon event, added: “The Nudgeathon provides students with a great opportunity to apply their knowledge and skills to solve a real life behavioural problem.

“This event will bring together students from across the world and a wide range of disciplines to really encourage teamwork and togetherness to achieve something that may have a genuine impact on people’s lives.”

The Nudgeathon will be held at WBS London at The Shard on September 14 and 15. Applications, which must be done via video, will be open until July 8, go to www.nudgeathon.com to apply.



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