Cass Sunstein Q&A on Radio 4’s “Analysis” programme Here’s a top-up for behavioural economics enthusiasts: Edward Stourton hosts a Radio 4 programme on how the use of Nudge theory in government has gone so far – “liberal paternalism“, if you’re into squaring circles – with Nudge co-author and erstwhile Obama White House insider Cass Sunstein.Continue reading “Running Out Of Cass?”
Occasionally something pops into my view on twitter that’s worth a read and very occasionally I make a real discovery – or rather various illustrious twitterati have. I came across Scarfolk last night via a recommendation from Caitlin Moran‘s twitter feed, started exploring it and, well, it is just a delight: Scarfolk website. The conceitContinue reading “Scarfolk: beautiful (and very funny) images of a bewitched 70s Middle England dystopia”
Here’s an RSA Animate talk (see http://www.theRSA.org for more) from last year on the importance of empathy. As Krznaric sees it, more widespread practice at empathy – particularly cognitive empathy, where you fully step into another person’s shoes and see things as they see them – could revolutionise how we think about our lives andContinue reading “Empathy, Outrospection (and Qual): an RSA Animate”
Start The Week on Radio 4 this morning is about political writing, using George Orwell‘s essay Politics and the English Language as a launchpad: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b01q8l31. Orwell came up with six practical rules to help people avoid bad writing: Never use a metaphor, simile, or other figure of speech which you are used to seeing inContinue reading “Tips from an even better writer than Joey Barton”
As a massive London-phile (not sure it’s a word but I can’t stomach asking Boris Johnson what London would be in Ancient Greek), who no longer lives there, I’ve enjoyed on my recent trips into the Smoke the video advertising alongside the Tube escalators. The ads are on to celebrate the London Underground’s 150th birthdayContinue reading “Mind the gap between the audience and the brand”
Reading Michael Sandel‘s What Money Can’t Buy – subtitled The Moral Limits of Markets – has made me reflect on researchers‘ attitudes to the ‘incentives‘, as we call them in the UK, that we pay to research participants. At the risk of now being bombarded by offers of participation in my projects from the entireContinue reading “Scrimping on incentives and other false economies”
Kahneman discusses Thinking Fast And Slow at LSE with Evan Davies and Paul Dolan For those interested in psychology and behavioural economics, here is a quick link via Prof Paul Dolan’s site to an hour’s discussion between Evan Davies, Dolan and Kahneman about Thinking Fast and Slow, which took place a while back when theContinue reading “Kahneman in conversation with Evan Davies and Prof Paul Dolan”
As one who ends up more on the introvert side than extravert when I do a Myers-Briggs test, this TED talk by Susan Cain resonated with me. At last, one of us has managed to survive the glare of attention long enough to mount a defence of the introvert take on life – or asContinue reading “Speaking Up For “Introverts””
Despite not being a huge fan of this Dragon’s Den business celeb, I was quite gripped by her documentary about inequality in employment between the genders. There was nothing very new in it, but it was great to see a “queen bee” (as a powerful leading woman in a male-dominated business gets called these days) being jolted out of her previous simplistic take on gender in the workplace – basically the “I managed it, why can’t they?” approach. Interesting in particular to hear the success of changing gender awareness and gender balance within the ranks at P&G.
There are some areas that will always be male dominated, one suspects – but some are just that way because no one has bothered challenging received wisdom. More than a decade ago I carried out some qual work on a gender issue in the British Army and interviewed soldiers right across the ranks. I can’t share the detailed insights on here, fascinating though they were. But it is a matter of public record that there are women who can pass the physical tests for entry into the infantry – there are some superb and very tough female athletes in the Army. The barriers to the Army accepting women into the teeth arms of the British military are not physical but to do with group dynamics, culture and psychology – no less real for that, but not what you might have expected coming at the issue afresh.
The infantry is perhaps exceptional because its personnel decisions have life and death consequences, but Hilary Devey’s warehouse was all male also for no good physical reason, just a cultural one. Women have not been encouraged to think they could train as forklift truck drivers and so there are few out there. But there’s no obvious reason other than the work culture to exclude women from training up for that kind of job. And warehouses don’t have the life and death excuse. But cultural stereotypes are powerful.
I also wasn’t surprised to see in the team exercise experiment, the mixed gender team out-performing the single gender teams. That’s been my experience of workplace teams too and I’m a big believer in not just mixed gender in teams but mixed personality type and mixed as much as possible. It’s that coming together of different perspectives that is so effective, especially in my line of work, qualitative research.
I’ll watch the rest of the series with interest.
The Sunday Times described it as a “bold reactionary book” – and so it is. I’ve just finished reading Nicholas Carr‘s The Shallows (subtitle: How the internet is changing the way we read, think and remember). Its main point is a simple one: the Internet is a medium that revolves around distraction and our usageContinue reading “Driving Our Man Machines Towards Distraction: Nicholas Carr’s “The Shallows””