Behavioural Escape Mutations
Behavioural science is being used everywhere, from public health, to politics, to sales and marketing.
But we don't really talk enough about when nudges suffer an escape mutation.
This can happen for a number of reasons. Perhaps the nudge reached the wrong audience. Perhaps it created a perverse incentive. Maybe it caused people to overcompensate in an act of rebellion against the input.
We recommend the Government Communication Service paper on unintended consequences as compulsory reading for anyone applying behaviour change in their activity as a great starting point.
Changing behaviour can be a powerful tool which benefits society. But if it is poorly planned, it can have real-world negative consequences.
Be careful what you nudge for! Something else might come true.